The Mary-Sue litmus test (72)

1 Name: TearThePetals : 2009-11-10 10:39 ID:1MyB8+Ij

I found this site really helpful in avoiding writing Mary-Sues
(and am embaressed to admit that I actually answered the questions in relation to my own personality/looks once)
Sorry if we're not supposed to put up links, but I do think this is a good resource :)

23 Name: Marth : 2009-11-29 11:05 ID:Z01J5glj

Oh, man, Phoenix. I'm sorry. :(

Are you willing to give specifics of where your OC got her Sue points from? Then maybe we could help you fix her.

24 Name: Fee : 2009-11-29 11:55 ID:N7J2NlMT

Ouch. 67. Kill me now please.

I know what I've done though :S Well, apart from creating a monster. I just kind of wrote and forgot about the fact that my character needed to be a real person :S

25 Name: Marth : 2009-11-29 11:57 ID:Z01J5glj

You win, Fee. You win.

26 Name: セーラーエリス : 2009-11-29 12:25 ID:rknwkmkD

i got 31 but thats only because my OC is a child of my fav character and he is a copy of his mother.
and i had him as a pop star in one of my stories
but he is a really minor character i mean he doesnt change plots saves ppl or anything else.

the test is pretty good except from the last section it doesnt cover all facts like the other sections

and also the whole test it is totally based in supernatural/hero kind of stuff.
i'm writing romance so i just have a kid that i use when i have my fav character [Haruka that is] getting pregnant and the kid always look like her.
and why the character has to be 60+ for not being a mary sue?

27 Name: Marth : 2009-11-29 13:00 ID:Z01J5glj

A character doesn't have to be the hero of the story to be a Sue, but getting a high score on the test doesn't automatically make a character a Sue, either. If I ran into a character who was the pop star child of a canon character, I would be inclined to see him as a Sue, and if he only played the most minor role in the story, I would probably be glad of that.

I think the reason the last section isn't extensive is that it assumes the rest of the test was used correctly (i.e. the test-taker didn't give points for canon-normal things like bizarrely-colored hair in the BSSMverse) and because a lot of the questions in the previous sections have been modified over the years to take into account the author's perspective of the character, which can have a HUGE influence on how Sueish a character is.

For instance, there used to be a question that said "is revenge one of your character's primary motivations?" It's been changed to "Is your character mainly driven by completely-justified revenge?" Those are similar questions, but it's much more possible for the first one to be true without making the character Sueish. Since I like to use the nerdiest possible examples, let's talk about Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek II. Khan walks a very fine line where the viewer can understand why he blames Kirk for what happened to him (as opposed to, say, Nero in Star Trek XI, who has absolutely no reason to be upset with Spock), but at the same time, it's clear that Khan's pursuit of revenge is wrongheaded. If he were my OC (don't I wish), I would have had to mark him on the litmus for the first question, even though his need for vengeance is presented as a flaw rather than something laudable. I would NOT have to mark him in the second instance, because I (or the people who were actually writing him) did not believe that his revenge was justified. That's one point less of Sue right there, because of that distinction.

I disagree with you about the test being only based on supernatural and heroic fandoms. For my money, it's sorely lacking in a universe with heroes of vastly different power levels, because it doesn't address how differing power levels can affect a character's percieved Sueishness (for example, if you have a superhero OC who's super-strong/durable and can beat up a dozen guys without breaking a sweat, that's a point there. It doesn't matter if his teammates can manipulate fire or control minds, and Strong Guy is thus quite weak compared to them. He still gets that point.) but there's a whole big section on character relationships, which play into the whole romance plot thing.

And the reason a character being 60+ and looking it is a de-Sueifier is because most (and by "most" I mean 99.9%) are either under 40 or at least look like they are. Old people (or even middle-aged people) usually aren't Sues. But then again, being 60+ and looking it is only worth a point or two off, so if the character is a serious Sue despite that, they'll still show up as a Sue.

28 Name: セーラーエリス : 2009-11-29 14:02 ID:rknwkmkD

in my case actually.
in the most part of the story the OC was a little boy, nothing special, just a mannered little guy who could play the piano.

and at the epilogue of the story i had his mother [main character of my story] telling that her boy became a talented pop star and had the girls swoon for him :P

in the whole story his role was to have some cute moments with his mother.

in my current story he is still 2 years old and he is blind to one eye. and till the end of this story he will only be 5 or 6 years old.

thats why i feel that the test lacks of some more questions.

29 Name: Tenshi-chan : 2009-11-30 12:19 ID:BvNDfEos

That's a good quiz, i got 24. Not bad, i'll polish my character up more. ^^ Thanks for the link!

30 Name: 777-DemonicYoshi-888 : 2009-12-01 05:38 ID:w+xPeku5

Haha! I just finished reading My Immortal again, and decided to test, wait... ah, I can't remember. I just tested the main character...

The result? 126 XD

31 Name: Fee : 2009-12-04 09:15 ID:N7J2NlMT

>>25 Not really a victory I WANT to claim...:( I hate my life!

Not really. Just my writing.

>>30 Ouch. Glad that one's not mine...or yours :S That would have been painful.

32 Name: Spoilers : 2009-12-04 09:21 ID:j1+zuLxu

I'd like to know general opinion on my OC Freya: the main point that worries me is music. She plays the clarinet which I also play and is about average I think, but she also has an amazing singing voice. I know this is a huge problem in most Mary Sues. In my defence she only sings once in the entire story and the lyrics are not included, nor is it in a formal setting (concert, contest etc.) However I think maybe I'm justifying it too much; what do other people think?

33 Name: Iaculus : 2009-12-04 10:13 ID:wv3xvz+J

Well, it depends on what other talents and influence she has on the story, I think. What significance does that song have? Does it trigger out-of-character behaviour in others (a hardened stoic with no previously-known weak points in that field breaking down in tears, for instance)?

Lots of characters, original or otherwise, are exceptionally talented in a given field. The important thing is how you handle them, and whether or not they unbalance the story. For instance, if Freya's story centres around a musical competition in which she effortlessly curbstomps the opposition, we may well have a problem. Likewise, if half the cast falls in love with her as soon as she hits that high C, trouble is likely to follow.

A good way to counterbalance exceptional talent is exceptional flaws... and we're talking about ones that present her with serious difficulties, not 'so beautiful it's a curse', or some weird, obscure weakness that pops up all of once and is never mentioned again. Likewise, if the advantages resulting from the rest of the cast fawning over the poor, nobly suffering dear outweigh the actual disadvantages of the flaw, it doesn't count.

As an example, suppose her singing does indeed make everyone fall in love with her. That's going to have a pretty corrosive effect on her personality, no? In fact, it might even qualify as a sort of mind-control. It's a good power for an antagonist to have - there's a reason the ancient Greeks found the Sirens so scary. If she's on the side of the angels, she might be a little disturbed by her power and reluctant to use it, seeing as she's robbing the targets of their free will to some extent. Does it give her an inflated ego? Does it make her cynical about human affection, knowing it's something she can just turn on like the flick of a switch? So many possibilities...

34 Name: Alabaster Princess : 2009-12-06 11:39 ID:N1iCA3JJ

thankfully mine are ususally just below the border of sueism, maily because of the interaction with the main characters of the fandom, and basing certain aspects of them on myself. but to me, most people want to read about the main characters and you should write what you know. if you add your own flaws and failings as well as strengths, that reduces sueism. also, sometimes a sue, when written well and tongue in cheek, can be amusing once in a while! ;)

35 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2009-12-09 16:14 ID:ZzRI+2hX

Sheesh, introduce a new species to Twilight and you get 71! Slightly excessive, I feel.

36 Name: Marth : 2009-12-09 16:44 ID:3Dobo8N9

Hmm... According to my research, making your character a species that doesn't exist in the canon is only about 8 points (for unusual hair, unusual eyes, being a cool humanoid, and being a species not ordinarily found in the 'verse). So either your character has serious, serious other problems, or whatever race you made thon is a whole race of Sues--since I didn't count points for any super-speshul powers thon would get for thon's race.

37 Name: Chris000 : 2009-12-09 21:15 ID:uMUEvGgI


I just think personally that the test seems a little one sided. I've talked to some people that also believe the test is "unsatisfactory" can we say that, and frankly I share the same opinion. In all the six years I've been using this character, nobody once has complained that he was a Stu. There was this other character that was a Stu and I admit it, PhDs at 20, working a government-sponsored astrophysicist project AND good looking, but got even, I gave him a premature heart attack not even halfway through the book.

38 Name: Marth : 2009-12-09 21:46 ID:3Dobo8N9

I disagree. The problem isn't with the test, it's that Suedom is a completely subjective thing. There's no hard-and-fast definition of what makes a character a Sue, and some people are much more likely to call Sue than others. What the test does is compile many of the most common indicators of what people perceive as Sue traits, and thus, if your character scores higher, s/he's more likely--though not ever guaranteed--to be recognized as a Sue.

For instance, I once came across a story about a character who, if I remember correctly, got about an 80 when I ran her through the Mary-Sue litmus--and that was ignoring all the questions about how the author views the character. That story had quite a few reviews, none of which called the author out on her awful character. Does that mean that she wasn't a Sue? No, it means that no one who had reviewed the story saw her as a Sue. But Suedom is in the eye of the beholder, and just because you can "get away" with a character that you think is a Sue doesn't automatically make them a good (i.e. non-Sueish) character.

39 Name: Kamouraskan : 2009-12-10 09:01 ID:d8vFaosF

I love this link and the test, but let's admit it, we put ourselves into our characters almost all the time. If we don't, the story probably doesn't have the same emotional depth.

And, let's face it, this is fanfic. We write and read the stuff for a lot of reasons, one of which is simply we want MORE!!! of our favorite characters. But also because we often don't like what's going on in the show and we want to 'fix' it. And sometimes we insert ourselves into that 'fix'.

So I say, being in the story is nothing to be ashamed of, it can help you create a better piece. But if you find yourself, having wild screaming to the moon sex with Gabrielle, Dr. Who, Temperence Brennon, whomever, then you've written a Mary Sue, and grin and bear any letters to that effect.
Otherwise, leave the poor authors alone to enjoy playing with the toys!

40 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2009-12-11 15:52 ID:Vcp42qjE

It's actually not all that different to vampires, only they're mortal. To tell you the truth, I kinda based them on the X-men.

41 Name: Fruit Bat : 2009-12-12 06:55 ID:kEs4UidW

I was testing it for the hell of it, because I know a few times my character has been bashed for being a Mary Sue. I took the test to see whenever she really was.
She got 32. Then I tested the original main character and got 249.
It's a good guide line, but really it seems any OC with anything interesting about them gets put down. She's beautiful- omg a sue! She was bullied and abused as a child- omg a pitysue! (or something along those lines, I'll admit to being wrong if I am.) Use it with a pinch of salt. ;)

42 Name: Typhon : 2010-03-14 11:28 ID:udmtpDWC

I answered this as myself once. Apparently I'm almost a Sue.
And I'm a real person. God help any character I base off myself, even if it's just someone who randomly goes to a bar and asks for a glass of milk.

43 Name: Pieland : 2010-08-22 20:22 ID:ceYbef7o

I tested my characters a while back, and the highest any of them got was 34, i was moderately proud of this (and considering who she was, not surprised).

>>41 Lately I've noticed that the "definition" of a sue has been blown way out of proportion, and in some fandoms (mostly the larger ones, I believe) any OC will be labled as a sue. It's really kind of sad (and the reason I keep all of my fandom OCs to myself or between me and my real-life friends... but I digress). One particularly sad aspect of this is that sometimes the OC-haters only go after the good ones, not the actual sues. I think they're just looking for something to bitch about, honestly. But yeah, Your Milage May Vary.

44 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2010-08-22 21:47 ID:BINUyevX

>>43 - I like well written OC stories. I tend to go after the ones that usurp the canon roles of other characters, or have instand 'fall in love with me' syndrome. Of course, one of the fanfic writers I talked to, I discovered she had a really good OC. She just... was being too mysterious with it.

45 Name: Marth : 2010-08-23 12:49 ID:QQdECJOR

>>43 Yeah. Not only "not all OCs are Sues," but even "not all self-inserts are Sues." Well, theoretically, at least. If a character is "you," (as always, generic you) then I think there's a higher probability that you'll use that character for wish fulfillment, and I very rarely see non-Sue SIs (whereas I see non-Sue non-SI OCs with pleasant regularity).

Still, it annoys me when people use the two terms interchangeably. There are self-inserts who aren't Sues, and there are a TON of Sues who aren't self-inserts.

46 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2010-08-23 14:10 ID:BINUyevX

>>45 - So true that self-inserts aren't always Sues, and not all Sues are self-inserts. Also, not all fall into the fandom characters are Sues, amoung other sterotypes.

A Sue is basically an unbelievable character for some reason or another. Some Sues are barely there, while others are big timers.

47 Name: Bob Rhynoplasty : 2010-08-24 02:51 ID:S/ZxNvd4

I actually had fun with this test. I tested my OC from my fanfic, and he got like a 21, I believe. Which I thought was pretty good. But what I thought was hilarious (and a bit nerve-wrecking) was when I tested my original characters from my original work. The main character of my TV show got a 57. And this is for a completely original piece that I'm writing. It sort of made me nervous, but at the same time, I thought it was hysterical. I probably could change her, but its a supernatural type show, and she's the main hero.

I would hate to use that test on Jacob. He's kind of perfect, lol.

48 Name: Marth : 2010-08-24 08:28 ID:8ORCLigl

>>47 Regarding the main character from your TV show, did you ignore the questions that are commonplace in your 'verse? That tends to lead to high scores. With an original work, people are less likely to call Sue, but if she got a 57 <i>and</i> you didn't mark questions that are commonplace among your characters, you may still have a problem.

49 Name: Angel015 : 2010-08-24 13:00 ID:ElZj2T33

Anyone tried testing Bella on this test, would love to see the score she ends up with...

I tried one of my characters from an original story I'm writing...she got a 28, which isn't bad, but most of her points came from her powers (which all the main characters get), without which there wouldn't be a it's not all accurate, a lot of the questions involve things that actually make the story interesting and give it a plot.

50 Name: Bitch Goddess : 2010-08-25 11:33 ID:aMG+9U66

I actually really like this test, even though it gave my favorite OC character a 33 haha, it makes you take a good long look at your character and accept the fact that she/he may have some Sue-ish qualities. Unfortunately, I think all characters, whether they be canon, OC, or even characters for an original fic, have some Sue/Stu-ish qualities.
Gonna have fun quizzing my other characters :)

>>49 The testing Bella thing would be awesome. In fact I may do just that next time I have some free time hehe I'll let ya know how it goes.

51 Name: Chris000 : 2010-08-27 22:00 ID:4inQIJ/Y

Really, I try not to base anything off of this test. It's biased, and frankly, it pisses me off. If your character has a profession where they must be physically fit, be able to speak at least two languages, and become adept problem solvers, that's not Sue (or in my case, Stu), that's just LIFE!

52 Name: Anonymous : 2010-08-28 05:36 ID:2AXspGsg

Surely if you feel you have to 'test' your character or characters, then something is wrong.

53 Name: Anonymous : 2010-08-28 09:56 ID:tLf4Slv0

Mary Sue Two Question Test:

  1. Does your OC look good in every single piece of clothing from Afflecks?
  2. Can your OC afford every single piece of clothing from Afflecks?

Two 'no' answers and you may have a Sue; one 'yes' answer and you probably have a Sue; two 'yes' answers and you definitely have a Sue!

54 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2010-08-28 19:52 ID:BINUyevX

>>51 - The best way to put it, I tested one of my characters for laughs, not because I needed to know. I know he isn't a Stu, even though he has some classic traits. Those traits were put in, to make him fit and be believable in the fandom, and the purpose he needed to play in the fandom. He wasn a character I needed for my story, but couldn't use a canon character for. But then, as I was writing, he suddenly took a life of his own.

55 Name: Marth : 2010-08-29 13:27 ID:8ORCLigl

>>51 I think you're protesting a little too much. Being physically fit, speaking a second language, and being a really good problem solver look to me like they'd be worth three points. (great body, one extra language, and strategies always work.) Since, according to the test, a character isn't a full-blown Sue until they hit 30 points, 3 points is not going to tip a character over the edge unless they were very close for reasons unrelated to their profession.

It seems to me like your problem with the test (assuming you're using it properly and not checking off stuff that's common in your world/fandom) is that you're taking <i>any</i> score to mean that your character is a Sue, or at least that any trait mentioned on the test makes your character a Sue. That's not true. All the test does is list traits that, in sufficient qualities, would make most people call a character out as a Sue. Not every trait by itself is Sueish.

Some traits <i>are</i> pretty inherently Sueish, but they tend to be stuff like "takes over the position of a canon character" or "knows everything about the plot," y'know, stuff that deals with how the character interacts with the world.

56 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2010-08-29 18:17 ID:BINUyevX

>>55 - Or if the trait is used wrong, it becomes a Sue trait.

57 Name: Calyn : 2010-10-20 20:10 ID:MQhEhrhe

This is a very good response to the test that addresses the huge problems with it:

Also some emails back and forth between the test writer and the response writer:

To explain why I agree with that response so much, and why I have beefs with the test, here are some of my scores. I answered everything that would "technically" apply by the end of all the stories the character is involved in, unless the same thing ends up applying to a canon character as well. A LOT of it makes total sense in context and isn't Mary Sue at all.

E.G. (Part 3, question 32): yes, when the character makes her first appearance, the canon characters immediately notice her--but since there's six of them in a tiny one room building and she's just knocked on the door, it's kind of hard NOT to.

I think I have y'all beat on the scores. :D

Narnia OC(s) 1 and 2 (though I nearly always regard them as two separate characters, technically they are the same person, so we get an epic high number): 101
Narnia OC 3: 32

Coraline OC (not including the planned crackfic): 64

Supernatural OC 1: 82
Supernatural OC 2: 94

Toldja I had you beat.

58 Name: Marth : 2010-10-20 23:03 ID:8ORCLigl

>>57 The thing about context (and a place where I strongly disagree with the person who wrote that criticism) is that Sueishness isn't defined solely by who a character is in a vacuum. In my opinion, how a character interacts with the story around her is a better indication of Sueishness than any objective personal qualities.

For instance (and I don't mean to rag on you, honest), you say that it makes sense for everyone to notice your character in her first appearance because she knocks on the door of the one-room building where they are. Sure. But you, as the author, framed your character's introduction in a way that would get the canon characters to notice her. (Unless the canon characters ALWAYS hang out in a one-room building and answer their door, in which case you don't have to check it because it's normal for the series.)

Now, I very much doubt you introduced her like that because you wanted everyone to notice how super-spechul she was, and it's still much better than stories that have everyone notice the new character WITHOUT a good reason. All I'm saying is that plot can absolutely contribute to Sueishness as well, and if one find that one's plots are hitting a lot of Sue triggers, that might be indicative of some kind of issue.

And yes: You totally win. XD

59 Name: TheNightShadow4 : 2010-10-21 18:45 ID:uizqZz2A

I just tested my FMA OC and got a 25. Not too bad, considering it's the first one I'd ever done.

Testing my own character was hard, to tell the truth. I know you're not supposed to, but I'm kinda attached to her so it's easy to over look a sue-ish trait. That's why I think it's important to get a really good beta that, like mine, isn't afraid to be blunt and tell you if something’s just not right.

The test's a good starting point though, and it likely works better on original works then fanfiction 'cause you don't constantly have to think about the rules of the fandom (I really hope that make sense).

60 Name: Yemi Hikari : 2010-10-21 19:40 ID:BINUyevX

>>59 - No, it does in fact make sense. I think one of the things that is problematic about the test is the fact that it depends also on how you read the question. You have young writers who may misread something. And some even question the validity of something, because they don't know the context. AND, as the creator of the test herself noted, what counts as actual plot point, and simply to make a character look cooler.

61 Name: Lace_Kyoko : 2010-11-04 17:47 ID:NwOToGeE

Is it weird that I intentionally wrote a Sue character, just to get rid of any special feelings I had on a character in YGO?

62 Name: TheNightShadow4 : 2010-11-05 16:24 ID:uizqZz2A

>>61 If it worked, then no, it's not weird.

63 Name: Chris000 : 2010-11-06 09:00 ID:+Nm60Bl1

I've said it once and I'll say it again, if your character's occupation states that they have to know things like a different language or be skilled in decision making or strategy, it should NOT be considered a Mary Sue!

64 Name: Mungetsu : 2010-11-09 18:29 ID:U3znn121

Twice I took the test, and the results took me to kill my character. T_T I won't. But I have to say, the test did help me reconsider a lot of things.

Speaking negatively, though, it seems that the damned test says that if the character makes any impression, she's a Mary-Sue. :(

65 Name: Marth : 2010-11-09 20:06 ID:8ORCLigl

>>63 And I'll tell you again that I think you're protesting too much. Knowing a second language is a point. Being a good strategist is a point. If your character is not already dangerously close to being considered a Sue as per the test, those two points will not push him or her over the edge.

Also, since you've apparently missed this point when I've made it before: Getting a positive score on the test is not an indicator of Sueishness, nor is every trait listed therein enough to get a character called a Sue when considered singly. All the test is is a list of traits which, in large quantities, indicate that a character would likely be considered a Sue.

Let's say, for instance, that your bilingual strategist is in fact one of the top people in his field, which impresses a lot of the other characters, and that he's also handsome, has a sweet nickname, dresses like a badass, and was abused as a child. That package would get you a whopping... 11 points, well within the safe zone.

>>64 I disagree that a character who makes "any impression" is a Sue as per the test for one very important reason: The test says almost nothing about personality. If your character stands out as a character rather than as a collection of neat abilities, there's no reason she'd be more than a blip on the test's radar. There are a good number of questions about personality as it relates to the world around the character, but a character with a bad temper is a different animal than a character with a temper who only gets angry at people who deserve it.

Plus, if that argument doesn't sway you, I think the example above (about Mr. Bilingual Strategist) shows that you can get a good spread of neat features without the test declaring the character a Mary-Sue.

66 Name: NanaIsis : 2010-11-11 17:17 ID:ynyUGwJR

Yayyy! I'm so happy I got a 14, I don't have a Sue!!! Alainah's not a Sue!!! Wooo Hooo!

67 Name: Chris000 : 2010-11-12 00:18 ID:KYwW6Vol

>>65 When was that? 4-5 months ago?

68 Name: Chris000 : 2010-11-12 00:18 ID:KYwW6Vol

>>65 When was that? 4-5 months ago?

69 Name: Marth : 2010-11-12 09:07 ID:8ORCLigl

>>66 Threeish months ago, I guess? It was after the last time you posted. Does it matter? You made the same point you made back then, and I'm responding with the same counter-arguments, which you still haven't addressed.

70 Name: Marth : 2010-11-12 09:08 ID:8ORCLigl

>>67 Threeish months ago, I guess? It was after the last time you posted. Does it matter? You made the same point you made back then, and I'm responding with the same counter-arguments, which you still haven't addressed.

71 Name: Marth : 2010-11-12 09:10 ID:8ORCLigl

(The above post(s) was/were meant for Chris, not Nana. I thought I killed the the first one before it posted, but that was apparently untrue. Whoops!)

72 Name: Chris000 : 2010-11-13 23:15 ID:KYwW6Vol

I forget my arguments. Not like it really matters anymore since I was debating over something that boiled down simply to a matter of opinion.

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