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Writing: Preventing a "Mary Sue"

Posted 04-23-2011 at 09:37 PM by Hekutaa
Some people know that I am in the process of writing a story, of which I post in /ggFTW forums. Aside from this, I am working on writing my own project, focusing on the main character of the aforementioned writing project. '

The only problem is that he's a "Mary Sue" in the writing world. A "Mary Sue" is someone who can do virtually anything. Most "Mary Sues" are frowned upon, because they're too overpowered when compared to other characters in a story. Due to this, I did some heavyreworking to the main character in my unreleased project.

Below are the traits of my character before changes and after changes. A lot of the changes are extreme; Most of them make sense for the time period (1950s) and some simply make more sense story-wise

Before Revisions ("Mary Sue" to the MAX)
  • Extremely Smart, but quite lazy
  • Short, but manically powerful
  • Takes fencing classes and surpasses everyone at it
  • Instinct always works
  • Lives alone (And he's still in high school)
  • Doesn't read much
  • Knows two languages (English and German)
  • Gets the girl in the end
  • Randomly chosen by "gods" to fight a war
  • Given magical powers and is an instant expert with them
  • Partially insane; seen with his brushing off of death
  • A blood knight; Fights and never stops
  • Angsty. Very, very ansgty
  • Music talent
  • In a team sport that has absolutely nothing to do with the story
After revisions
  • Badass bookworm
    • Reads non-fiction books constantly; makes some sense because T.V.s did not become available until later than the 1940s
    • Gains knowledge about war, although most of his knowledge about war is false due to his reading of non-fiction books. His knowledge is more or less reliable, which in turn gives him an amount of faults
    • Uses books he read to guide his decisions.
  • Seemingly normal
    • Not too tall, not too heavy, and not too strong
      • Height is 5' 6'', normal height from what I've heard
    • Average classes and slightly-better-than-normal grades (B average)
      • Reads books, but the books that he reads does not boost his intelligence academically
    • Not in a sport; Instead a mail carrier for his uncle, which in turn allows him to run slightly faster than normal people
    • Cannot fight (He can run away)
    • Cannot play music
    • Does not know a second language (He knows English and English only)
  • "Neutral Good"
    • Fights for the greater good, but if something does not affect him, he does not fight
  • Actually reflects upon the deaths of his enemies
  • Insomniac
    • Cannot tell the difference between fake an reality from time to time, thus he does not know if his dream of being chosen by the gods is real or fake (It's real, but he often questions the reality of the events that occur)
    • Affects him in the story
  • Actually has a nation of origin
    • Serbian
  • Lives with someone
    • Uncle, who owns a business and thus gives a reasonable explanation on why he can survive in a town miles away from his parents
  • Changed his name
    • Explains why he has a weird name; He thought that his old name had a negative prestige, and when he moved, he wished to have a blank reputation
  • "Wild Magic"
    • He cannot control his abilities; the magic he controls has a mind of its own and thus cannot use it properly
  • Does not get the girl in the end

Looking at all the changes, I hope he's not a "Mary Sue" anymore, but in return, it clears up a lot of plot holes and fridge logic that may appear in my writing.

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