Terrible Writing Advice – Chapter 2: Mary Sue

This week it’s all about Mary Sue, because isn’t it always?

My Honest Thoughts on Mary Sue

Ah, the dreaded Mary Sue! Mary Sues tend to be a bigger problem for fan fiction. This is likely because of poorly written self inserts sidelining the franchise’s other characters and that traditionally published works have things like editors to weed out Mary Sues. The Mary Sue isn’t inherently bad though. I consider Commander Shepard a Mary Sue. Actually a lot of popular characters have very Mary Sue like qualities. It’s all about that balance between wish fulfillment and character flaws.
That said, there is one phrase that will make me instantly avoid a work. “My protagonist is an idealized version of myself!” Nothing good ever follows that phrase. Most people are boring. When an author scrubs out their flaws, it makes them even more boring since it removes one of the few things that might make me identify with them. Don’t ever ever do this and certainly don’t brag about it.