Nov 21 2008

Interactive Mary Sue Test

Mary Sues are characters that are overpowered and too perfect.  This test will help you diagnose and fix the problem.  It typically takes around ten minutes.


Is Your Protagonist a Mary Sue? » fun quizzes

141 responses so far

141 Responses to “Interactive Mary Sue Test”

  1. B. McKenzieon 15 Nov 2008 at 8:34 pm

    PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE COMMENTING ON THE TEST:

    Here’s what I would have done differently if I had coded the test myself:
    1. If it were up to me, I would have graded the choices as “less challenging/more challenging” rather than “correct/incorrect” or “right/wrong.” I made this resource to help writers identify plotting/character elements which might make it more challenging to get published. In most cases, a skillful writer can execute even a relatively challenging angle successfully (although it may negatively affect the sales appeal—e.g. torturing the protagonist).

    2. If it had been possible, I would have done multiple correct answers on each question. For example, in addition to the regular correct answer, each question should have a “Not applicable” answer which would also be correct. Unfortunately, the test doesn’t allow me to do so, so I would definitely disregard whatever the test tells you if any of the following apply:
    –The question is inapplicable to your story (e.g. it’s a question about multiple narrators but you only have one).
    –Most readers/editors in your genre are okay with the plot/characterization element. E.g. if you’re writing religious fiction, having the character convert someone to your religion is probably not an issue.
    –For any other reason, it wouldn’t be an issue for your target audience. For example, I think kids are more receptive to talking animals than adults are.
    –You’re subverting a trope (e.g. making fun of something rather than walking into a trap). For example, in Wreck-It Ralph, a space marine has a traumatic backstory, but the main effect is to make fun of melodrama rather than inflict it on the audience.

    3. Scaled grading. Some of the challenges in this quiz are more serious than others. For example, I can think of at least 20 stories that have given protagonists uncommonly impressive supernatural abilities without making the character noticeably less dramatic. If the character is adequately challenged and more proactive than JUST being born the savior of humanity, it’s probably not a major issue. In contrast, on a question like #17 (talking animals aimed at adult readers), I think you have 10 seconds to convince an editor that this might actually conceivably interest thousands of readers. 5 if any romance is involved.

    Thanks for reading this before commenting.

    –BM [posted on 11/23/2012]

  2. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 22 Nov 2008 at 6:11 pm

    I went to ProProfs and did it there. I got 90%!

  3. B. Macon 25 Nov 2008 at 5:59 am

    When I asked “is this character royal?”, 30% of readers said yes. When I asked “was this character born into a powerful position, caste or rank?”, only 10% of readers said yes. That means that 20% of readers think that their character is royal but somehow not born into a powerful position. What the hell?

  4. Bretton 25 Nov 2008 at 6:43 am

    Haha! Maybe their royalty is like in Britain where they look good but have absolutely no power! Haha!

  5. Questionableon 06 Dec 2008 at 10:30 am

    “Is this character Human?”: 69% answered yes, 31% answered no

    “Is this character a non-human that looks mostly human anyway?”: 36% yes, 64% no

    Apparently at least 5% of Human characters are simultaneously non-Humans that appear Human. I find this to be a bit disturbing.

  6. B. Macon 06 Dec 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Haha. Let’s see… on the Mary Sue test, 5% of test-takers would be 2 people.

  7. Davidon 01 Apr 2009 at 6:14 pm

    See that question about supernatural talents?

    Cara’s talent is normal in her society and is not all that impressive to them.

  8. Dforceon 16 Apr 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Two things:

    In the score section, it did not elaborate on the questions it marked wrong. Is it supposed to only explain the few that it did?

    Also, a bit late but, when you asked why people thought their character was royal but not born into a powerful position; maybe they meant that their character rose to power.

  9. B. Macon 16 Apr 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I’ve added explanations for almost all of the questions now. Which ones did you have questions about?

  10. Lunajamniaon 17 Apr 2009 at 5:04 am

    It says the page (or quiz) does not exist/’posted as not found.’

  11. B. Macon 17 Apr 2009 at 6:32 am

    Hmm. I tried it myself just now and it seems to be working fine. Could you try again?

  12. Tusitalaon 19 Jun 2009 at 4:09 pm

    That was helpful. But it gave me some grief with question 11. I wasn’t sure what to answer for that one, becuase the character I was testing (I’ll call him ‘N’) does feel that his abilities are a curse, at least until he meets the other two superheros, and then he doesn’t so much like a freak after that. (That’s not cliche, is it?)

  13. RikuTomoshibion 15 Nov 2009 at 9:01 pm

    You know, I noticed this quiz asked about either prophecies or social/ political status (and I’m speaking from memory) 4+ times…either it’s trying to make a point, or the creator of this test put it in multiple times and in multiple ways without thinking about it…
    Also, my answers and my defense…
    1) Is this character born with amazing abilities? I answered yes, but that’s because of a genetic defect, not because I just wanted to make him cool.
    2) Does your character have a problem with society? I answered yes, and because they tried to kill him several years ago, and put him in a loony bin when they failed to cork him, so to speak.
    3) Are his parents abusive or nasty? Again, yes, and this one of the reasons why he went psychotic, and it was only once…so…
    4)Does he use a bladed weapon in a futuristic setting. Yes, because his fighting style is up close and personal, so he prefers to use a knife. Also, he hates guns for obvious reasons…
    5) Does the character convert/ defeat another character of different beliefs. Yes, because the secondary character is of a different political belief, and Azrael (the main character) believes that the character is a threat to his plan. Also, the guy’s trying to kill him.
    6) Does the character have a badass name? Yes, because he’s Arabic, and he was left to die as a child, so he was forced to name himself. So he called himself Azrael du Sandavar.

  14. Lighting Manon 16 Nov 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Those are referenced so many times because they are key hints about Mary Sues, political beliefs being similar or the same have a tendency in unskilled writers to lead to mouthpieces or Public Service Announcements. Prophecies are easy to write, increase the power of the character and make it easier to simply make a super-you, since Ted, the super-writer extra-ordinary could have Susan, the rockin-bod lady of the lake pop up at any time in his life and give him superpowers.

  15. PaintedSainton 18 Nov 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Riku:

    Mary Sue tests in general are rather faulty(no offense, B.Mac). It highly depends on the skill of the author, not the factors leading to Suedom. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, for example. Dream would and has failed multiple MS tests, but that does not stop Gaiman from crafting a critically acclaimed series, nor making Dream and the rest of the Endless as very well-rounded characters.

    Like how you justified some of the factors, “yes, but…”

    I would do the same, for example:
    “Is this character a non-human that looks mostly human anyway?”: Well, yeah. My character is a parasite that invaded the brain of a human female host, and takes over the host’s identity and conciousness. Of course, she can’t choose if the host is pretty nor its gender, and no guarantee of the species either. Hell, she could’ve ended up as a turtle or anything else, for that matter.

    These are just factors that can lead to Suedom, not definite factors that 100% determine a character is a Mary Sue, therefore must die an unsightly death.

  16. Herojockon 13 Oct 2010 at 6:54 am

    Oh that is not fair! I felt obliged to answer yes to ‘Is the character a rebellious member of a high-class family?’

    1. My character is an alien and son to a famous orator on their home planet. He is of no royal blood and held no office of high position. On the contrary the best analogy would be a human rights protester like Ghandi or Martin Luther King. His family are exiled to earth and are forced to live among humanity in the shadows. The son’s rebellion involves his desire to live like a human, while his father is trying to protect his families identity from humans long enough to return to their home planet. His father is a pacifist and his son develops a human fiery passion.

    Does this scream Mary sue?

  17. ekimmakon 13 Oct 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Does mutant or Freaxter count as “non-human that looks mostly human anyway”?

  18. B. Macon 13 Oct 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Ekimmak asked: “Does [a] mutant or Freaxter count as ‘non-human that looks mostly human anyway’?”

    For mutants, no, because I think they’re generally portrayed as a type of human rather than a distinct species*. So it wouldn’t annoy me at all if a mutant were extremely similar to a nonmutant anatomically, mentally and/or culturally. In contrast, I think it’s a lot more contrived for an alien species to show up and just happen to be all-but-indistinguishable anatomically, mentally and culturally. Unless there’s some in-story explanation, like “we actually used to be the same species,” I don’t think it’d make sense.

    So, for example, I could buy Superman being culturally very similar to the typical Midwesterner because he was raised by a human family in Kansas. But it strains my suspension of disbelief that his mind seems wired 100% like a human’s, let alone that he looks 100% like a human. If you’re going to use an alien, I think it’d probably be better to put more originality into it than that. If the character is essentially a human with superpowers, I’d recommend just making him a human and using an origin story that fits the story better.

    I’m not familiar with Freaxters and was not able to find any applicable information through a brief Google search, so I have no idea there. Could you introduce me to the story or give me a link or something?

    *Without getting too deep into biology, the main criteria of species-hood is the ability to reproduce, and as far as I know mutants in X-Men don’t have any trouble reproducing with non-mutants. (Note: some Superman stories show that Kryptonians can have kids with humans, which takes “like-human-but-better” to a whole new level of ridiculousness).

  19. B. Macon 13 Oct 2010 at 2:47 pm

    “He is of no royal blood and held no office of high position. On the contrary the best analogy would be a human rights protester like Ghandi or Martin Luther King.” If the father were just a low-ranking humans rights protester or lawyer or something, I don’t think it would have any potential for Mary Suedom for the son. If we’re talking about Gandhi or MLK-grade, with thousands of people hanging on every word (check out some footage of Gandhi’s funeral), I think it’d be not dissimilar to being the son of a high-ranking family.

    Powerful families aren’t a problem, but I would recommend making them more of an obstacle or a challenge than a gift from the heavens. For example, if the protagonist were the child of someone like MLK, Jr. but wanted to become a professional athlete rather than do anything with civil rights, the father might get annoyed that the child wants to waste his life moving a ball up and down a field. Or maybe the kid is far less scholarly than his family. Or maybe the kid is just as persuasive and eloquent as the father, but wants to do something that’s less dignified but sexier, like advertising. (Yeaaaahh, copywriters. We get the love).

    So, in the context of your story, one possibility that comes to mind would be that the father (because he was a highly visible protester) got his family exiled to Earth. One potential source of conflict would be that the son blames him for getting them exiled. (Not that Earth isn’t kickass, but it’s not for everyone). Or maybe the way he grows up in Earth makes him substantially different than his father. (For example, whereas his father probably grew up painfully aware of his status in the minority, maybe the son is really well-liked by his peers and has less sympathy for people on the outskirts of society).

  20. ekimmakon 13 Oct 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Sorry, should have explained:

    Freaxter, or Freax, the plural term, is slang in my novel. The scientific terms for superhumans are “genetic meta-humans” and “altered meta-humans”. But, that isn’t really easy to say, so most people shorten it to Mutants and Freax. Basically, a mutant is someone born with powers, but they don’t neccessarily develop until a later stage (X-men rip off). A Freaxter is someone who was human, but gained their powers through science, (Spiderman and Fantastic Four, are examples).

    You did answer my question, though. Thanks.

  21. Madaliason 13 Oct 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I created on of these Mary sue quizzes on an HP RPG site I work on. It was never intended to be a serious diagnostic but more of game and yet I still managed to get a lot of whining from people who thought I was unfairly biased against them. (Okay I was pretty hard on the French exchange students, but it was my quiz so I could do what I want.)

    Anyway… I filled this out using a character I’m hoping to develop into a novel protagonist. I erred on the critical side when I was uncertain how to answer and managed to come up with a 75% (not especially good) but of course I have my justifications, lol, just like all the little whiners I mock on my site.

    My “wrong” answers:

    Q.7) Are this character’s parents/guardians abusive or otherwise nasty?
    I wasn’t certain how to answer this so I answered yes. My character has one loving (but ineffective) parent who is the main one featured in the story. But she also has one who would have to be described as nasty. The nasty one is absent though and will probably only get a mention to explain his absence. I’m guessing that this is preferable to him sticking around being nasty and abusive. Point? Partial point?

    Q.12) Is this character ever raped or tortured?
    There’s probably going to be some torture in the course of the story. Certainly some bullying.

    Q.14) Are your other characters generally impressed by this character?
    Another one I wasn’t sure how to answer. It depends on which other characters and at what point in the story, right? I mean I think the majority of the characters in the book will NOT be impressed with her at all in the beginning and most will not be impressed until close to the end. (Some will not be even then.) She’s actually a character who isn’t too easy to like unless you understand her motivations and her skills are not especially impressive at first. Perhaps I should have answered “no” to this question. She’s certainly not one of those characters who says some lame wise-cracky thing and everyone else stands around in awed amazement. (I hate those characters.)

    Q.16) Misread this one when I answered. So I guess this one should have been correct.

    Q.29) Was this character born with an impressive supernatural talent, like magic or The Force?
    Meh. She has a magical aptitude which shows up as an unexplained ability. However it’s not an awesome power and will in fact turn out to be detrimental. So maybe this doesn’t fit the “impressive” adjective. Her real powers will have to be learned with a fair degree of hardship, so perhaps this should have been a non-point or a partial point.

    Q.38) Does this character have problems with authority figures? (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.)
    She does… partly because she’s paranoid and partly because she’s a thief. Does that count?

    Q.39) Does the character have political or religious beliefs similar to yours?
    I think we’re both agnostic, but I’m not exactly going to preach about that.

    Q.24) Does this character date any of the following: an elf, a royal or someone high-class?
    I think she might. (Still developing the story) However the high-class character I’m thinking of isn’t a reward, he’s more of a douchebag, and would be sort of an example of a moment when my protagonist makes the wrong choice for the wrong reasons. The real love interest is more of a nebishy, low class, unlikely hero type.

    Q.22) Does this character use a sword or other bladed weapon in a high-tech setting?
    Guilty. Cause I DO think swords are cool, lol. (This is still in development though. There may not be any swords by the time I finish, but I don’t like guns and am trying to avoid magic wands or anything that’s going to get me HP comparisons.)

    Q.19) Is this character originally from the 20th or 21st century real-world but somehow transported to a fantasy realm?
    I’m still debating this, but leaning toward yes. I’ve got characters in search of a setting so I still haven’t settled. I could go straight quasi medieval fantasy world, but I’ve been leaning toward an otherworld setting like Spirited Away or Neverwhere.

    So yeah. Mary Sue? Maybe, maybe not. She’s certainly a flawed character and more unlikeable than likeable to the majority of characters who observe her. I do think angst is something I’ll have to be careful about since I intend to be pretty hard on all my characters and I’ll have to work to make sure that she’s not wallowing in her misery or being generally emo. I’m actually not feeling too apologetic about the otherworld concept though.

    Sorry for the length of this post.

  22. Madaliason 13 Oct 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I fared a little better on my other protagonist.

    Incorrect:

    Q.12)
    He too has a nasty parent. The character is meant to be troubled and neurotic. It didn’t make sense to me to give him a happy childhood and a supportive family.

    Q.16) Is this character very modest?
    Unfortunately he has every reason to be. He’s generally pretty incompetent, at least in the beginning of the story. Also, since no one will be praising him, I’m not sure this counts?

    Q.31) Does this character consider his talents and/or abilities a curse?
    Yeah, but any reasonable person would. His “gift” looks a lot like schizophrenia. He sees and hears creatures that no one else can. As a result, he questions his sanity.

    Q.33) Does this character feel overwhelming guilty about something that wasn’t his fault?
    In the beginning he thinks everything is his fault. The challenge will be to keep him sympathetic and not annoying during the worst of his depressive stage.

  23. Akiaon 17 Dec 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Lol. Some questions were harder because my OC is half Minish and half hylian But I got an 85 out of 100. >.<
    I guess Vaati might be a mary sue….

  24. Max H.on 20 Dec 2010 at 9:35 am

    These Mary Sue tests are going to be the death of literature one day. They’re pretty much saying that any unique or interesting trait is bad.

  25. B. Macon 20 Dec 2010 at 11:42 am

    Ehh, it’s just a fun resource. I don’t think it (or anything similar) will have any impact on the shape of literature.

    That said, if a character is overpowered or insufficiently challenged by the story, I don’t think the story will be very interesting. If the main protagonist has no discernible flaws, I’d lean heavily towards rejecting the manuscript under most circumstances. Assistant editors pass along ~5 of every 1000 works on to their bosses for consideration and it does not take much to get a work rejected.

  26. Sean Higginson 20 Dec 2010 at 11:53 am

    Q.19) Does this character have the job you have (or a job you wish you had)? – (Tell me, who doesn’t wish they were a space pirate!)

    Q.26) Does this character wear leather, sunglasses or anything you find to be particularly badass? – “But I don’t want to be a pirate!”

    Q.36) Does this character have problems with authority figures? (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.) – His boss is trying to kill him, for money and other less important reasons.

    Q.39) Is this character very modest? – Nobody compliments my character, he’s a screw up who ocassionally gets lucky.

    I guess a 90% means I’m doing ok. We’ll see how the final product turns out.

  27. Sean Higginson 20 Dec 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Max H. – In addition to what B. Mac said, I feel like any writer who was really concerned with the issue of whether an online resource said he’d build a Mary Sue, he would likely be able to make the necessary changes while still keeping the character interesting, or at least get some assistance in making the changes.

    Those writers who maybe took the test and became indignent of the results would likely not have their minds changed either way. They would submit their work as was and if it was good enough, they would required to make the necessary changes to their characters or turn down publication.

  28. Danion 22 Jan 2011 at 10:54 am

    Thanks for this test. I stumbled across this website while looking for “inspiration” aka trying to appear busy. I’ve had this first draft sitting on my computer that I just could not get back into which is a horrible sign if the writer doesn’t want to even read what she wrote! The first time I took this, my main chick character passed. But when I tried to pass the main male character, he failed. Gives me a good idea why the story sucks. Thanks again, I’m going to retool him and make him more of a real guy instead of a guy written for a romance novel.

  29. Contra Gloveon 22 Jan 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Glad this site helped you out, Dani!

  30. Nightshade43on 09 Mar 2011 at 11:54 pm

    I found the “reasoning” behind this test to be extremely bias.
    Why can’t some answers have better guidelines. Apparently my guy is wrong because he came from an alternate universe, didn’t like his parents telling him what to do, didn’t make stupid decisions or being born into a ‘high standing’.
    I bet the explainer doesn’t want to know that my guy pursues the villain role as tradition, and that his parents want him to use technology instead of magic.
    There should be more specific guidelines as even the most “sueish” trait can be written well.

  31. B. Macon 10 Mar 2011 at 12:21 am

    “I found the “reasoning” behind this test to be extremely bias.” Umm, biased in what way? (Biased against alternate universes?)

    PS: Not every character’s mistakes will be the result of stupidity, but I think pretty much every protagonist needs to make mistakes. If the character doesn’t make mistakes, I think the odds are exceedingly high that the story will be rejected. (PAs have to reject ~995 out of 1000 manuscripts in an average of 1-2 minutes. I’m not sure what you could do to make the character feel sufficiently believable and morally/mentally complex to make the top 5). But do whatever you feel comfortable with–obviously it’s your project. Let me know how it goes for you.

  32. FotV/Annaon 12 Jun 2011 at 1:11 pm

    “Does the character have political or religious beliefs similar to yours? ”

    I disagree that this makes a character a mary-sue. Maybe if they were exactly the same- but similar? I expect this to be very common. If I’m aetheist, would you expect most of my main characters to be deeply religious? And conversely, if I’m deeply religious, would you expect most of my main characters to be of a different religion or atheist? The same goes for if I’m conservative or liberal or libertarian.

    That said, you SHOULD NOT agree with everything your character thinks and does. Challenge yourself. They should definitely do things that are wrong. But that doesn’t mean we need to disagree with their core beliefs.

    I suggest rewording it to: “Does the character have political or religious beliefs identical to yours?”

  33. FotV/Annaon 12 Jun 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Also, I would say that using a sword in a high tech setting can be marysue-ish (though not if it’s urban fantasy, but that’s just my opinion), but bladed weapons? Just cause there are guns doesn’t mean stabbing someone with a knife won’t kill them. Knives are still used as weapons today.

    But other than that this test is awesome.

  34. B. Macon 12 Jun 2011 at 2:13 pm

    “I disagree that [having similar religious or political beliefs to the author] makes a character a Mary Sue. Maybe if they were exactly the same- but similar? I expect this to be very common. If I’m atheist, would you expect most of my main characters to be deeply religious? And conversely, if I’m deeply religious, would you expect most of my main characters to be of a different religion or atheist? The same goes for if I’m conservative or liberal or libertarian.”

    In most cases, characters’ political and religious views don’t crop up much. Maybe a character uses an exclamation that hints at his religion (“Good God!” or “Sweet Jesus!”, for example), which I think is pretty easy for readers to handle. In contrast, if the character’s religious or political beliefs come up in a more substantial way, and they happen to coincide with the author’s, I’d suspect the author is using the character to lecture the reader. One red flag here would be that the author doesn’t have likable/sympathetic characters disagreeing with the character in question. For example, in The Dark Knight, Lucius and Batman were both likable protagonists that disagreed about how far one could go to enforce the law. The writers didn’t push viewers to think either the libertarian Lucius or the more authoritarian Batman was more justified than the other. It’s more morally complex that way.



    “Knives are still used as weapons today.” Indeed! I don’t have any issue with knives in fiction. In some situations, they’re totally practical for a protagonist. However, if a character packs a sword in a modern/futuristic setting, I’d have to wonder “Is there some good reason for him to have a sword, or are you just doing it so he’ll seem like a badass?” If there’s no good reason, a sword would probably strike me as goofy.

  35. Contra Gloveon 12 Jun 2011 at 4:38 pm

    “Is this character ever raped or tortured?”

    What if the character is captured by the enemy and beaten? Certainly that doesn’t make a “Mary Sue.”

  36. Crystalon 13 Jun 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I think maybe it meant if a character was created solely to be raped or tortured.

  37. Mynaon 13 Jun 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Or if being raped or tortured was in the characters backstory, for no other reason than to provide guilt/angst?

  38. FotV/Annaon 13 Jun 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Plus there’s the ultimate Mary-Sue scene: The girl is about to be raped or gang-raped and the hero guy saves her and the scene exists solely as a minor event storywise to establish the male hero as a male hero (and possibly the female lead as desirable) (Note: I’m not saying it makes characters Mary Sues, I’m saying it itself is a Mary Sue). Especially if this event is never mentioned again.

    It’s almost as annoying as women falling in love with their male kidnapper.

  39. noneon 16 Oct 2011 at 9:00 pm

    In response to B. Mac’s comment from 11/25/2008 — “is” vs “born into”. So more like 20% became royal by some means other than being born into it.

    I got an 80% on the quiz, but most of the “wrong” answers are ones I skipped because of a kinda-sorta-sometimes-maybe or it-depends answer.

    Are these questions all weighted equally, or do some carry more weight than others?

  40. B. Macon 17 Oct 2011 at 5:47 pm

    They’re all weighted equally. If ProProfs had let me make some questions count for more than others, I definitely would have. For example, a problem with authority figures or the ability to polymorph could definitely be justified by themselves–however, stacked on top of many other things, they could get slightly bothersome. In contrast, a hero that never gets defeated by an opponent or obstacle is probably not ready for prime time. I’m having trouble envisioning any circumstances (in the modern publishing industry) under which that might be preferable to a character that has real setbacks.

  41. CCOlsonon 17 Oct 2011 at 9:30 pm

    How many languages one speaks is partly a function of where one grows up. I knew a girl who grew up in France who knew 7 languages and acted like that wasn’t very impressive. I know trilingualism and better is common in Europe. We’re spoiled rotten over here in the USA where it’s easy to get away with just English.

    Also, I have a very good reason for her to have a sword. It’s a fairly common superhero weapon in her universe.

  42. Blonde Emoon 31 Dec 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I just keep trying to imagine what a Mary Sue would look like from all this…

    A furry, royal, annoying, modest, shapeshifting, superpowered alien, who conquers anything with sunglasses?

  43. B. McKenzieon 01 Jan 2012 at 12:14 pm

    “I just keep trying to imagine what a Mary Sue would look like from all this… A furry, royal, annoying, modest, shapeshifting, superpowered alien, who conquers anything with sunglasses?”

    …who is also secretly related to the main villain, has no flaws besides trying too hard and being too committed to justice, holds himself/herself responsible for some sort of completely unavoidable disaster that every other character will point out was completely unavoidable, takes off his/her sunglasses just so the author can spend upwards of a paragraph describing his/her eyes, fails 0-2 times throughout the course of an 80,000+ word novel and other characters will make excuses for why these failures were unavoidable, any characters that DO try to hold him/her accountable for failures will be portrayed as nasty or “mean,” holds political and/or religious views indistinguishable from the author’s, and is completely beautiful BUT thinks that he/she looks pretty forgettable, etc.

    That’s pretty much a perfect storm of Mary Sue-dom right there. More commonly, it’s just a character that isn’t challenged enough, doesn’t make enough mistakes and/or fail enough, and doesn’t face enough consequences for his/her mistakes or failures.

  44. Sheogorathon 09 Apr 2012 at 12:09 am

    Well, I would’ve liked to have taken the test, but you know…

    ’404 – The Server can not find it !
    The post or the page that you are
    looking for, is not available at this
    time. It could have been moved /
    deleted.
    Please browse through the archives /
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  45. B. McKenzieon 09 Apr 2012 at 3:30 am

    Thanks, Sheogorath. I updated the code. It should work now.

  46. Jacobon 04 May 2012 at 5:38 am

    My characters scored 90%. Awesome, but I was put off by the fact that it said I answered four questions “incorrectly.” They weren’t incorrect.
    My character has to impress people to be in the story since they aren’t in the habit of bringing useless people with them. Not to mention, he is a very talented engineer (hence why he is in the story) and that is impressive. He wears skirts. I consider that badass because he is being true to himself and no, I am not changing it. He has problems with most people not just authority figures because of his aspergers, but authority figures are more likely to try harder to take his death rays away. To me, that’s much better than Rambo’s reason. He names his weapons because he invents them and is more likely to name them stuff like BFG 9000 or Vera (used as examples, not going to copy). He is kind of cheesy, so it works if he gives that impression anyway.

  47. B. McKenzieon 04 May 2012 at 12:17 pm

    “He wears skirts. I consider that badass because he is being true to himself and no, I am not changing it.” Uhh, okay. I can only speak for myself, but I would have rejected you here, 20% because this particular cross-dressing character sounds totally unsellable* and 80% because it sounds like editor-author relations would be rocky and I wouldn’t want to put an editor in that situation. Even if I were totally sold on a particular element, a hard-line declaration like “no, I am not changing it” would raise red flags for me about authorial temperament.

    *When you want to push a really unusual angle like this (mainly the cross-dressing, but also the Asperger’s, to some extent), I think it’s REALLY important to show how it will help make it a more interesting story. “He is being true to himself” will probably not convince many publishers that this is likely to work (either creatively or financially). Is it at all intuitive that wearing more conventional clothing wouldn’t be true for this character? Show us it’s necessary and why it matters.



    In contrast, I could see a talented-but-very-outre author like Chuck Palahniuk using cross-dressing in some way that makes me think, “okay, that’s bizarre, but I could see tens of thousands of people paying to read this story about this character.” (Two vaguely similar examples: CP’s Choke and Fight Club are bestsellers which used the psychological profiles of the main characters to drive mostly-interesting plots).



    Have you thought about self-publishing? That would probably give you more freedom to pursue whatever it is you’re trying to do.

  48. MisterEon 04 May 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I’ve got a few problems with your quiz, as to be expected since a forty question exam can’t be perfect…

    Question 3: “Is this character ever raped or tortured?” I answered yes, you said that’s incorrect. “This is unusually angsty. Again, you may find it hard to work with a publisher that wants to deal with stuff like this.”

    - There’s nothing ‘angsty’ about it. In his vigilante/heroic life he fights a crime boss. This crime boss has an interrogator who tortures people to get them to answer their questions. My character is not always going to be able to win his fights, and gets captured at least once. The crime boss sics his interrogator on the protagonist, torturing him. Eventually, through the help of an ally, he manages to escape. This doesn’t really affect him in any other way than he was captured by the enemy and managed to get away without revealing any secrets – something he was worried about doing. Your question assumes that the character being tortured is going to lead to said character developing some ‘angsty’ quality, an incorrect assumption in this case.

    Question 6: “Does this character have a particularly traumatic backstory? (For example, his parents were murdered or she was captured by slavers, etc.)” I answered yes, you said this was incorrect. “This is similar to getting raped or abused. It’s a very angsty element that will drive readers away from the character.”

    - His mother died of lung cancer when he was ten, and he never met his father who abandoned his mother and him when he was a baby (although his mother tells him that he died heroically in the military – an understandable lie that occurs in real life). Aside from the sad memories of losing his mother at an early age, there’s nothing ‘angsty’ about this either. Another incorrect assumption.

    Question 8: “Does this character have problems with authority figures? (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.)” I answered yes, you said this was incorrect. “When a character has major problems with authority figures, I recommend that you try to make sure that he doesn’t come off as whiny and/or senselessly persecuted. It’s ok if the cops don’t treat him *fairly*, but make sure there’s a REASON they’re mistreating him. For example, in Rambo, the cops hated Rambo because they thought he was a trouble-maker who didn’t have a place in their town.”

    - Due to his mother’s death, he was raised in an orphanage while he waited to be placed in a foster home. After the recent death of his beloved mother, he wasn’t too pleased with strangers (those who ran the orphanage) telling him what to do. An understandable emotion, albeit a misdirected emotion, that occurs when you lose a loved one. He runs away and lives off the street for the next few years; having to sometimes steal food to survive, and thus running from cops. Because of these two experiences he develops a slight, and I emphasize slight, issue with authority figures; which shows when he later enrolls himself in a high school and has to deal with teachers and principles. Not whiny, no sense of being persecuted, etc etc.

    Question 20: “Does the character have political or religious beliefs similar to yours?” I answered yes, you said this was incorrect. “If his beliefs are similar to yours, he may end up preaching to the readers. That’s really annoying.”

    - I understand where this is coming from, and you’re absolutely correct in saying so. However, if done correctly, there is no problem with a character sharing (in this case) political views with the author. In my writing do I in no way try to push my politics onto the readers or anything of the sort. There’s a segment of the story where the high school he attends holds a mock election for the city’s mayoral campaign. My character expresses his distrust of one of the mayoral candidates due to their policy on a certain issue. My character’s political view in this circumstance reflects my own. Nothing preachy here.

    Question 24: “Is this character notably good-looking?” I answered yes, you said this was incorrect. “Being notably attractive is one of the signs of a Mary Sue.”

    - I actually struggled with answering this question. I was unsure of how “notably good-looking” was best described. Some say that Peter Parker is a “notably good-looking” character. Others may say that Metamorpho or Beast Boy are “notably good-looking” characters. Being “notably good-looking” is somewhat subjective. I figured that my character isn’t unattractive, and may be very attractive to some while simultaneously ‘blah’ to others. However, he’s not going to be winning any male model contests.

    Question 25: “Is this character very modest?” I answered yes, you said this was incorrect. “A Mary Sue never compliments herself; other characters do that for her as she delicately tries to refuse their praise. Ick.”

    - Again, I struggled with answering this question. My character has his insecurities, like most. He doesn’t offer himself praise 24/7 like some Jersey Shore douchebag, but he isn’t exactly going around telling everyone he’s nothing special. My character is naturally intelligent, although not a genius by any means, and quickly picks up most new things (e.g., mathematics, science, history etc etc when he begins his high school career), but he downplays his intelligence and acts modest because he notices that it bothers some people (a friend of his in particular) how easy it comes to him. However, when he defeats a powerful enemy he isn’t going to say “well, it was no big deal”. He’s going to shout-out in victory with something reminiscent of “boo-yah”. It’s an equal balance, but, in the case of his intelligence, he’s very modest so I felt as I had to answer yes to the question. However, it’s not that he “never compliments [himself]” and waits for “other characters to do that for [him] as [he] delicately tries to refuse their praise.”

    Question 26: “At the start of the book, does this character know who his birth parents are?” I answered no, you said this was incorrect. “It’s very cliche for a fantasy hero to find out that his parents were actually long-lost legends that he has to find. Or something like that.”

    - He knows who his mother was, but he never met his dead-beat dad (who the character, for much of his life, believed died in the service of the military). Since he is unaware of who his father is, and never finds out, I answered no. It’s a big, and rightfully wrong, assumption to say that any character who doesn’t know who his birth parents are will fall under the cliche you described. Obviously, this doesn’t fall under that cliche.

    Question 28: “Is this character the last survivor of anything? (Common examples include a species, family, town or civilization).” I answered yes, you said I was incorrect. “Very angsty…”

    - Once again, not ‘angsty’. His mother is dead. For all intents and purposes, his father, who abandoned the family soon after the character’s birth, is dead. Therefore, he’s the last survivor of his family. People in real life have dead parents, same as fictional characters. Doesn’t instantly make them ‘angsty’.

    P.S. On question 17, I clicked the wrong button. I meant to answer no, not yes.

  49. MisterEon 04 May 2012 at 2:26 pm

    * In my comment about question 20, I wrote “In my writing do I know way try to push my politics…”, this was meant to be “In my writing do I in no way try….”

  50. Edddddon 15 May 2012 at 1:59 am

    When I asked “is this character royal?”, 30% of readers said yes. When I asked “was this character born into a powerful position, caste or rank?”, only 10% of readers said yes. That means that 20% of readers think that their character is royal but somehow not born into a powerful position. What the hell?

    This applies to my character: she was born into an average middle class family, but raised an army and conqured an empire. So she was queen/empress, but not born into power because she was the first in her line.

  51. B. McKenzieon 15 May 2012 at 3:49 am

    Ah, thanks, Eddddd! That makes sense. Another possibility would be that the character is born nonroyal but marries into royalty (e.g. Cinderella).

  52. Blarghon 20 May 2012 at 2:04 pm

    “Does this character date any of the following: an elf, a royal or someone high-class?”

    While I agree with this one being a warning sign the way you explained it, the way it’s worded is in part measuring something else. In general, elves can be expected to date elves, royals can be expected (and are often required) to date royals, and high-class individuals can be expected to date high-class individuals even in only a moderately stratified society.

    The intent of the question seems to be more about flagging characters who have relationships with people of far higher class or otherwise significantly better than themselves, and thus it should make exception for equivalent relationships.

    Of course, were weighting possible, being an elf, royal, or someone high-class would probably warrant a higher weighting anyway.

  53. B. McKenzieon 20 May 2012 at 3:09 pm

    “The intent of the question seems to be more about flagging characters who have relationships with people of far higher class or otherwise significantly better than themselves…” I think that’s close. I think the main thing I was looking for here is whether the love interest is developed mainly in terms of his/her dating desirability (e.g. attractive, rich/royal, exotic/elven, etc). If the character’s dating a trophy, the romance probably isn’t as interesting as it could be–I’d really want to see a personality, ideally some element of conflict, interesting goals independent of the romance (and perhaps of stopping the villain), ideally a memorable voice, etc.



    If both characters in a romance have an interesting personality and are well-developed, I wouldn’t care about whether the main character is dating someone in a high class. However, in my limited experience, high class love interests are more likely to be trophies more than people–if I were reviewing a manuscript, I’d want to check out that red flag. (Also, there’s a strong negative correlation between how much time an author spends covering a character’s appearance and how interesting the character is).

  54. MisterEon 20 May 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Not to be annoying but, I put some work into my post addressing the issues with this test (although I know the test is just something you put together for fun), and I’d at least like some feedback to what I wrote.

  55. B. McKenzieon 21 May 2012 at 2:11 am

    “You said this was incorrect…” I wouldn’t use the terms “incorrect” or “correct” myself. I’d probably go with with something which covered the possibility that an author might be able to execute that element well. If I were creating my own test-generator for creative writing, I’d probably go with “potentially problematic” (or “red flag”) versus “not worrisome” or “less worrisome.” Case in point: by itself, a main character dating a hot elven princess is not a problem…IF the hot elven princess actually has an interesting personality and is well-developed. The love interest’s royalty, attractiveness, and exoticness are not necessarily problems but raise red flags that the love interest might be more of a trophy than an actual character.

    “My character is not always going to be able to win his fights, and gets captured at least once. The crime boss sics his interrogator on the protagonist, torturing him. Eventually, through the help of an ally, he manages to escape. This doesn’t really affect him in any other way than he was captured by the enemy and managed to get away without revealing any secrets – something he was worried about doing.” Hmm. A few potential concerns here:
    –As described, the torture does not sound like it has much of an impact on the plot and/or the character. If so, is it worth including? Could you give the crime boss and/or interrogator some other method of exploiting the captured hero which will have a greater impact on the plot moving forward? (For example, in the Matrix, one captured protagonist is injected with a tracking device and released as an unwitting dupe to lead the villains to the other protagonists).
    –Depending on the work, it could potentially raise mood and/or marketability issues. If the work as a whole is closer to PG-13, taking a torture scene deep into rated-R territory might raise consistency issues—it’d be hard for me to speculate here without reading the story.



    Question 6: “Does the character have a particularly traumatic backstory?…” If the character isn’t very bothered by the loss of his parents, I’d lean towards saying he doesn’t. In terms of personal angst, this does not sound comparable to, say, rape or child abuse.



    “My character expresses his distrust of one of the mayoral candidates due to their policy on a certain issue. My character’s political view in this circumstance reflects my own. Nothing preachy here.” If the stance is controversial, I’d recommend double-checking with a few beta-readers, especially readers that do not agree with you on the stance in question. If a main character does take a controversial stand on an issue that might draw in real-world political baggage, I’d recommend having another likable character oppose him over it in such a way that readers wouldn’t feel like you’re trying to push them one way or the other. For example, the more security-minded Batman conflicts with the more libertarian Lucius over a particularly intrusive tactic in The Dark Knight, and the movie doesn’t push viewers to think that one position is stupider or less worthy than the other. In The Avengers, there are a few conflicts between Fury/SHIELD and the Avengers (over whether it’s wise to use the Tesseract to develop weapons, for example). In both movies, the conflict is more interesting because both sides have strong justifications. If the position is controversial and you’re only having one side represented by a protagonist, would you feel comfortable putting the protagonist on the side you disagree with? If not, I suspect that the scene will probably feel preachy (even if you are not consciously trying to persuade people to your views).

    TEST: “Is this character notably good-looking?” MisterE: “I was unsure of how ‘notably good-looking’ was best described.” Let’s go with “the author spends more than 5-10 sentences over the course of the book describing how attractive the character is or mentions his attractiveness 3+ times in his/her first scene.” Is Peter Parker notably good-looking? As far as I can remember, characters commented on his good looks 0-1 times in the Spider-Man movies. I’m not terribly familiar with Beast Boy, but he’s green, so I’m guessing he doesn’t get the Edward Cullen treatment (e.g. hundreds of words gushing over pretty much every physical detail). I’m less interested in whether your readers might think the character is attractive than in whether you treat his attractiveness as one of the most important things about him (which would suggest to me that he probably wasn’t sufficiently developed to be interesting).

  56. ehrichon 21 May 2012 at 4:56 pm

    i got 90% too

  57. MisterEon 30 May 2012 at 8:52 pm

    “As described, the torture does not sound like it has much of an impact on the plot and/or the character. If so, is it worth including? Could you give the crime boss and/or interrogator some other method of exploiting the captured hero which will have a greater impact on the plot moving forward? (For example, in the Matrix, one captured protagonist is injected with a tracking device and released as an unwitting dupe to lead the villains to the other protagonists).”

    - It won’t affect the character in such a dramatic way that he becomes angsty and emo-esque, but he’ll be troubled by the fact that he was captured. The main thing that occurs from his capture is that the ally that comes to rescue him, something this ally wasn’t happy to do, is recognized by the villain as someone from his past and puts this ally on the evildoer’s radar. This subsequently causes major turmoil in the future, culminating with the death of this ally’s family member, and his spiral down a dark road of vengeance.

    “Depending on the work, it could potentially raise mood and/or marketability issues. If the work as a whole is closer to PG-13, taking a torture scene deep into rated-R territory might raise consistency issues—it’d be hard for me to speculate here without reading the story.”

    - The comic wont be deep into R-rated territory, the torture isn’t explicitly shown to an R-rated degree. Plus, the important aspect of the capture/torture is the mental probing done by the interrogator (who can only ‘read’ surface thoughts, hence why nothing seriously detrimental is revealed about the main protagonist).

    “If the stance is controversial, I’d recommend double-checking with a few beta-readers, especially readers that do not agree with you on the stance in question. If a main character does take a controversial stand on an issue that might draw in real-world political baggage, I’d recommend having another likable character oppose him over it in such a way that readers wouldn’t feel like you’re trying to push them one way or the other. … If the position is controversial and you’re only having one side represented by a protagonist, would you feel comfortable putting the protagonist on the side you disagree with? If not, I suspect that the scene will probably feel preachy (even if you are not consciously trying to persuade people to your views).”

    - Already have this covered, another character agrees with the mayor’s stance and has a subsequent falling out with the protagonist that will last a so-far-undetermined amount of issues.

    “Let’s go with “the author spends more than 5-10 sentences over the course of the book describing how attractive the character is or mentions his attractiveness 3+ times in his/her first scene.” … I’m less interested in whether your readers might think the character is attractive than in whether you treat his attractiveness as one of the most important things about him (which would suggest to me that he probably wasn’t sufficiently developed to be interesting).”

    - Well, in that case, no, I don’t plan to take up portions of the story with descriptions of the protagonist’s attractiveness. Him being attractive, whether he is or isn’t, will not be important. You probably should have said in the test something along the lines of “Is this character notably good looking, and do you repeatedly stress his/her attractiveness throughout the story?” to make the question more clear.

    “Is Peter Parker notably good-looking? As far as I can remember, characters commented on his good looks 0-1 times in the Spider-Man movies. I’m not terribly familiar with Beast Boy, but he’s green, so I’m guessing he doesn’t get the Edward Cullen treatment (e.g. hundreds of words gushing over pretty much every physical detail).”

    - On a side note: in the comics, Peter is thought of as attractive by plenty of females – Black Cat being one of the more vocal females in expressing his attractiveness. But, since most superhero comics aren’t teenage romance novels essentially featuring necrophilia and bestiality (i.e., Twilight), they don’t get “hundreds of words gushing over pretty much every physical detail.”

  58. B. McKenzieon 30 May 2012 at 9:23 pm

    “Is this character notably good looking, and do you repeatedly stress his/her attractiveness throughout the story? … But, since most superhero comics aren’t teenage romance novels…, they don’t get ‘hundreds of words gushing over pretty much every physical detail.”

    Alternately, is the character’s attractiveness plot-relevant? I would say that attractiveness is plot-relevant for several characters in superhero stories (usually ladies)–for example, Wonder Woman is canonically the most beautiful woman in the DC Universe and Power Girl’s most defining features are definitely not her sparkling personality or crimefighting skills. (Her breast size is like a running joke).

    Here’s some excerpts from the script for All-Star Batman and Robin (issue #1, I believe):

    –”FULL FIGURE–Vicki Vale walks, in bra and panties and not one inch of clothing more, walks–no, hell, she struts–BACK-LIT against the cruel, Art Deco beauty of Gotham City. Think Rita Hayworth in her prime. She’s gorgeous. She speaks to her headset, dictating…”

    “Detail her bra. It’ll drive them crazy, Jim…”

    “BODY SHOT–THIGH UP–give us an even better angle on this babe. Front on. Walking right at us. She knows what she’s got. Make them drool…”

    “OK, Jim, I’m shameless. Let’s go with an ASS SHOT. Panties fully detailed. Balloons from above. She’s walking, restless as always. We can’t take our eyes off her. Especially since she’s got one fine ass…”

  59. Anonymouson 23 Jun 2012 at 3:48 am

    According to this, the only CORRECT stories are about average people living their mundane lives without anything bad ever happening to them.

    Having survived a trauma, having abusive parents or being raped are NOT Sue traits. I do not know what kind of books the author of this test reads, but looking at my shelf of books – which means they were PUBLISHED and I am a PAYING CUSTOMER, I can say this is a complete bullshit.

    Let’s see: Bromden from Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest = Sue. Helen Roche’s from Wetlands = Sue. Urania from Llosa’s Feast of the Goat = Sue. Alba from Allende’s the House of Spirits = Sue. Both Emily and Sarah from Yates’ Easter Parade = Sues.

    All are either victims of abuse, rape, have survived trauma, and their stories are more than bit angsty. Really, to think that a trash like that won all kinds of awards…

    Or perhaps it could be, you know, that it’s this test that is wrong, and in fact, extremely idiotic.

  60. Anonymouson 23 Jun 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I don’t think this test was to be taken seriously, brah. In any case, most mary-sue’s share these traits: the abusive backstory elements. They bring nothing to the story, instead used for pity or to mask character/story depth. It all depends on the person and how they write things.

  61. YoungAuthoron 23 Jun 2012 at 3:32 pm

    ^^
    the test is just something to compare your work to. you don’t have to gete a 100%. It’s just a guide, kinda like the rest of this site. no character in history should get a 100%. I for example got an 85%. Also, the writing matters too.

  62. B. Macon 23 Jun 2012 at 6:39 pm

    “According to this, the only CORRECT stories are about average people living their mundane lives without anything bad ever happening to them.” Please see the above comment: “[If I had complete control over this test] I wouldn’t use the terms ‘incorrect’ or ‘correct’ myself. I’d probably go with with something which covered the possibility that an author might be able to execute that element well. If I were creating my own test-generator for creative writing, I’d probably go with ‘potentially problematic’ (or ‘red flag’) versus ‘not worrisome’ or ‘less worrisome.’” I don’t think that heavy angst or traumatic backstories are “incorrect,” but they do strike me as more challenging to execute than the alternatives. By the way, if you’re writing at a professional level, I would recommend taking writing advice from places other than true/false online tests. (For example, I’d recommend asking editor friends to actually read the manuscript, if at all possible).

  63. RandomWriteron 09 Jul 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I ran through my lead OC for the world of Avatar:The Last Airbender and it’s sequel the Legend of Korra. All but two (four if you’re picky) of the ‘incorrect’ answers was based off the my character being one of the past Avatars (aka master of all the elements, bridge to the spirit world, and overall kung fu action Jesus). I think this shows the weakness of this (and most, if not all) Mary Sue Test: the lack of context.

    Does the character make any moral decisions that readers will probably disagree with? For example, Peter breaks up with Mary Jane for her safety at the end of the first Spiderman movie.

    This one I have no excuse for. However, seeing as I’m still in the process of brainstorming, drafting, and writing it is liable to change.

    Does this character ever get out of a tight spot by discovering new powers or abilities?

    Similar to the main characters of the shows, my OC discovers prematurely that she is the Avatar. This is because as a pre-teen she gets over her head and the only way she survives is the canon innate defense mechanism of the Avatar. That happens at the beginning of the story with the plot being her maturing and mastering these abilities. She gains no abilites outside of the canon Avatar powerset (minus energybending since it’s a lost art at my OCs point in the timeline).

    Was this character born with an impressive supernatural talent, like magic or The Force?

    Impressive talent at the world’s elemental kung fu magic and other spiritual abilities is the calling card of the Avatar. They really are “the chosen one”, which does not in of itself make a Mary Sue.

    Is this character notably good-looking?

    I won’t lie. This is shameless wish fulfillment. However, I will defend that her most notable feature is not her eyes or hair or smile. It is her physique, and look at any serious practicing martial artist and you will see that they have very good physiques.

    Is this character very modest?

    This is the iffy one. My character is a bit of a perfectionist. While she does like praise, she only likes it when she feels she deserves it. So she often acts modestly when the root of it is that she’s holding herself to a higher standard. To top it off she goes from being the second child of a small town’s innkeeper to being a god-like world protector; it’s daunting for her to come to terms with and her insecurity with it causes her to be modest.

    Does this character feel overwhelming guilty about something that wasn’t his fault?

    This is the other iffy one, and also comes from her being a perfectionist. It is her duty to protect the world; something she takes seriously. Any little mess up or failure can cause her to spiral into guilt and self-loathing. This is shown to be unhealthy, and part of her character growth is realizing not even a being as powerful as the Avatar can save everyone. Because ultimately she is still human.

    Was this character born into a powerful rank, position or caste?

    The Avatar Spirit choses a human host while the child is in the womb. So my character, like the canon Avatars, was born into the position. They may not have had to work for the position, but being the Avatar is nothing but work. A spirit world creature terrorizing a village? Call the Bridge Between Worlds. A world war taking place? The Avatar has to step up. A criminal with strange abilities that no one can beat? Take a wild guess.

    Are your other characters generally impressed by this character?

    It is an understated theme in the two series that the Avatars have a duality. They are the Avatar, but they are also themselves with very human traits and flaws. On some level every character – both in the shows and my OCs – are impressed the Avatar, but that doesn’t mean they are impressed by the person the Avatar currently is. My OC might get respect for her position as Avatar, but there are many times that she has to earn personal respect from someone. One of which is a mentor.

    All in all, I don’t think this is a bad test. Though as discussed above “correct” and “incorrect” aren’t as clear cut as this test makes it; it really depends on the writer’s skill. Anyway this definitly gave me some things to brainstorm over. And writing my defenses, especially those about my OCs personality and character development, helped me have a more thought out and solid understanding of my ideas.

  64. Anonymouson 14 Jul 2012 at 2:48 am

    The answer to 35 seems to be backwards.

    Q: Is this character very modest?
    A: No.

    I picked “yes” and got incorrect- WTF?

    Explanation
    A Mary Sue never compliments herself; other characters do that for her as she delicately tries to refuse their praise. Ick.

    It’s also Sueish when she DOES compliment herself. I think this one needs a rewrite. The problem is exactly what’s been discussed- Mary Sue tests are flawed. Honestly, I have no idea what to do with it, but I know it can’t exist in this fashion- perhaps the explanation should be the question.

    Draw circle; bang head here, it seems.

  65. Rambo#***on 14 Jul 2012 at 9:47 am

    I hate this site , B.mac never responds to anything i write.

  66. Rambo#***on 14 Jul 2012 at 9:49 am

    and this test is stupid like B.mac

  67. NBACKon 14 Jul 2012 at 10:27 am

    I did this quiz for many of my favourite novel/TV characters. It said most were Mary Sues. I think that this quiz could use some work, because based on the quiz if every author made their characters not Mary Sues, then all the novels would follow terribly, horribly, dreadfully boring people with dreadfully boring lives. Honestly. I would much rather read stories following “Mary Sue” Sky Pirates and Princes and Secret Agents and Wizards who are angsty and have had dramatic/angsty pasts that have negativley affected their lives so that they may have trust issues or fears of certain things or certain abilities that may be lacking. Or maybe about immortal beautiful creatures that appear more or less human in a universe where everyone follows the rules but the main character. You may say that they are Mary Sues, but honestly: who cares? Those sort of characters are exciting, dramatic, loveable, and INTERESTING.

  68. B. McKenzieon 14 Jul 2012 at 12:29 pm

    “I hate this site[.] B. [M]ac never responds to anything [I] write. [And] this test is stupid[,] like B. [M]ac.” If you’re pretty confident your writing is worth responding to, I would recommend testing the waters with a blog of your own or a resource like the Critters Writing Workshop. If nobody responds there, the issue is less with me than with your writing and professionalism/attitude. If people do respond, then you have a great alternative to coming to me for help even though you are not fond of my work. This does not sound like a mutually-satisfactory relationship I’d want any part of.

    Some tips:
    –Lose the attitude and practice your writing as much as possible.
    –Proofreading aggressively would not hurt. Otherwise, many professionals will write you off as a lost cause.
    –Don’t get annoyed when other people won’t give you the time of the day. The assistance/attention of other people is earned gradually. It took me about 6 months until my readers were totaling more time on SN than I was. The 500,000 readers only came very gradually, as I improved my work.

  69. tmwjrimaon 15 Jul 2012 at 3:23 am

    Question- I got three of these wrong but, in the context of my story, I think they are more realistic…
    My MC is a homeless girl called Easton in a kind of dystopian/fantasy world. She has a problem with authority figures because the police are constantly trying to arrest her for robbery or gathering or loitering or what have you. The ‘last of her kind’ thing is something lots of people in the city went through, when a curse killed all of the first born sons and daughters. And she got raped in her backstory after pissing off a gang, but refuses to angst about it and it serves to make up a lot of her self absorbed, survival first personality. Do you think I’m okay having it like this, or should I change some of it?

  70. B. McKenzieon 15 Jul 2012 at 7:38 am

    “Do you think I’m okay having it like this, or should I change some of it?”

    –From a marketing perspective, the rape angle might be a challenge. Could I recommend tweaking this to “beaten within an inch of her life?”

    –”The ‘last of her kind’ thing is something lots of people in the city went through, when a curse killed all of the first born sons and daughters.” So she’s the last of her family? What happened to her parents?

    –The rest sounds workable, assuming there’s some sort of plot behind it. (For example, some sort of central plot besides dodging the police).

  71. tmwjrimaon 15 Jul 2012 at 10:57 am

    Oh, there’s a much bigger plot, but the police are minor obstacles and antagonists used as a problem for the first chapter or so until the real story gets going.
    Her mother is still alive, but her father was also killed by the curse as he was an only child. Her mother isn’t exactly sane and ended up in an asylum, so the MC and her brother were driven onto the streets to avoid the foster homes. After she was raped/beaten (that might be better, thank you for the suggestion) by members of a gang, her brother recklessly went after the gang and got himself killed. Most of the backstory isn’t mentioned in-story, but contributes to her self-reliant personality.
    What do you think? Better or worse? If you think it doesn’t sound good, I can probably rework it…

  72. B. McKenzieon 15 Jul 2012 at 2:20 pm

    It’s still sort of intense (dead father, insane mother, driven onto streets, beaten up by gangs, murdered brother and bajillions of people dead in the background), but if you’re confident you can execute it without aggravating readers, it might be appealing. Good luck! Please let me know if I can help.

  73. Mtson 21 Jul 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Really enjoyed the test and found it a lot more useful than most similar tests out there (which seem to come down to “if you like your character at all, she’s a Mary Sue”), but, like everyone else, I had a few spots where I wasn’t sure how to answer the question or I wondered about the results. I’ve been running a number of my characters through the test, but I want to make sure I’m getting the most out of it. (I apologize in advance, I ran several characters from different settings through, and then put my questions all in one response, so it is kind of long.) Hope you don’t mind clarifying:

    - You say publishers don’t like cross-breeds: I’m curious about why. Is it just the “best of both worlds/ worst of neither” thing that can sometimes happen, or the fact that it should technically be biologically impossible in most cases? If there are enough challenges and reasonable explanations (you mentioned races that have common ancestry; I’ve also seen examples where it’s only possible due to advanced technology/genetic engineering), are there other reasons publishers don’t like that sort of thing?

    - Also, say a writer (who is me) chooses to ignore your advice and does have a cross-breed protagonist, what about the question “is the character a non-human who looks human?” I’ve been answering yes, which makes my scores even lower, but I wasn’t sure if that was your intention. I have one setting where most of the characters are similar to the mythological idea of demigods – they have one parent who is mortal and one who is a godlike being. They generally look like the mortal parent (the godlike beings don’t have a single set appearance – they’re sort of trickster shapeshifter types, but their offspring don’t get that ability), so if the mortal parent is human, they look human, but they aren’t totally.

    - “Does the character consider his/her powers/abilities to be a curse?” I get the problem here but…what if they are? Not in the sense of “causing difficulties that the character has to learn to overcome” but in the sense of “causes problems that can’t be overcome?” In one case, I have a character whose powers are actually uncontrollable – no amount of practice or willpower or accepting himself or whatever is going to change that – and since they are also very destructive powers, one of his primary struggles is learning to completely suppress them. He tries to use them for good, fails, ultimately decides that he has to find a way to get rid of the powers permanently, tries that, succeeds after some setbacks, and goes on to be useful to society and to the other characters as a regular human, mostly satisfied with his decision or at least resigned to it. There simply is no upside or reason for him to enjoy having powers, and during the brief period when he didn’t think they were a curse, he was considered a bad guy by the rest of the characters cause, you know, running around with uncontrolled destructive power is sort of dangerous and inconsiderate to people who don’t want to die horribly. Does something along those lines work, or would that be too much of a downer ending for a character arc in a publisher’s eye? (I should add, he’s one of multiple protagonists, and most of the others who have powers deal with them better, and no one sits around wailing that they just want to be normal. Even he doesn’t actually want to be normal, which is why he takes so long to decide to get rid of the powers.)

    - Named weapons…I only have one case where the character’s weapon has an actual name in the Tolkienesque sense and in that case it’s more a joke than anything else: he has both a title and a weapon that he inherited from a line of ancestors going back to a more romantic age, but, since he’s a relatively modern guy, he considers that aspect of his heritage silly and tries to get everyone else to forget it. He’d much rather just be known as “that guy, with that sword that looks exactly the same as everyone else’s sword except with more scratches cause it’s real old,” but his friends like to entertain themselves by introducing him to strangers as “Prince So-and-so of the flowery titles, bearer of the Great and Might Sword Absurd-Unpronounceable-Name.” I have no problem giving up the points on the test to keep that element. But in another, more serious case, I do have a weapon which has a proper-noun title more than a name (it was created for a particular purpose, and yes, I do get that there is a certain cliche already associated with that idea), and several characters use it at different points, though only one would really consider it her own weapon. Should I count that? For everyone who uses it, or just the one character who eventually has it as her primary weapon?

    - Last question is about political/religious beliefs being the same as the author’s, and I hope I don’t sound like I’m ranting, because I really am just curious. I thought I understood why that question was on the test (and I definitely get why the one about converting people is there, cause ugh, no thanks), but then I was reading through the comments section, and I saw that when someone else asked about it, you said that characters are usually limited to just things like saying “Thank God!” or other very minor hints at a belief system. I got the impression that you think it’s better if religion goes no further than that. And..well, honestly, I can’t understand that at all.

    The first character I ran through the test shares my religion, mostly because it’s realistically common in her setting. It isn’t her only characteristic or even her most important one – I hate when one member of an ensemble cast is The Muslim One or The Republican or whatever, as though that one fact completely controls their entire world view – and initially I didn’t mean for it to be important at all. I like my religion just fine, but I’m not a preacher here and I was a lot more interested in writing about superheroes kicking each others butts than God. It was just a little character color – you know, if you had to find her on Sunday night, you should check the church choir, but the other six days a week, she’s watching TV on her couch like everyone else. Then as I was developing the storyline, I found it felt increasingly unrealistic to downplay her faith, given the circumstances of the character’s life. In fact, she ended up arguably more religious than me, or at least more likely to think about it on a day to day basis, because she lives with all the trappings of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, including fights to the death and facing her own mortality and making complicated moral choices without easy answers, which are not things I or any religious people I know do regularly. It felt absurd to say this character had religious beliefs and then pretend that wouldn’t influence her pretty significantly under the circumstances. So she does practice her religion, and she both takes comfort in it and also struggles with it and has her periods of doubt and all that stuff – still not constantly, certainly not on every page or in every chapter or anything, but it’s there. She isn’t trying to convert people, and would consider it distasteful at the least to do that, if not outright wrong. I can only think of one point where she’s judgmental of others in a way that has anything to do with religion, and that time she eventually realizes she was wrong and apologizes. Nor is she ever “proven right” about her religion. There are other major characters with different beliefs, ranging from atheists to people with very different religious backgrounds and everything in between, and their beliefs are dealt with for the same reason – because in that kind of setting, I just don’t see how you can have people not at least think about that stuff – but you can’t conclude at the end that any one of them is right or wrong, anymore than you can prove this stuff in real life. The only thing that makes this character different is that, while I did as much research as I could and talked to people from different backgrounds, there may be a little more detail in her case because I could be sure I wasn’t getting it wrong.

    Anyway, I never saw it as a problem. I’ve had a couple people in my writing group read some of my stuff, and other than one guy who wanted to fight about it being “unrealistic” to have a religious character who has gay friends, no one ever even mentioned it. But you’ve made me curious. I wondered if that was just that you’d read all the same stories I have that are thinly-veiled political diatribes or religious tracts, or if you were suggesting that publishers would be genuinely put off by characters who aren’t totally indifferent to religion (and politics) unless they are made up religions/political systems. I mean, I guess you can make everyone of the “mostly atheist but open-minded attitude,” but I don’t want everyone to be the same…

    Okay, enough from me, and wow, I just reread that and it is damn long. Sorry. Please feel free to take a million years to respond. I tried to read through all the comments to make sure I wasn’t repeating questions, but if I missed something, maybe you could just say “I already answered that” and I will slink away embarrassed.

    Thanks again for creating this!

  74. B. McKenzieon 21 Jul 2012 at 11:38 pm

    “Really enjoyed the test and found it a lot more useful than most similar tests out there…” Thanks, but the format is pretty awful as far as writing advice is concerned. I had to write yes/no questions with only one correct answer, even though it’s rare that one writing approach is necessarily right and another is necessarily wrong… execution matters so much. At best this test is a basic idea of which elements of characterization and plotting might be more challenging to execute than others and some really general ideas of what characterization should accomplish. (For example, is the character adequately challenged? If not, the plot is less dramatic than it could be. Does the character have an active role in affecting the plot and/or gaining superpowers rather than just being born lucky? If so, it will give the character more of an opportunity to distinguish himself/herself from the thousands of other protagonists in the slush pile).



    “You say publishers don’t like cross-breeds: I’m curious about why.” 1) I think it’s something of a cliché that half-breeds are used to make characters the best of both worlds. It might be more interesting if there were ways in which they were generally regarded as suspect and/or inadequate. 2) I think these characters are usually (though not always) in the Superman camp of essentially-human-but-more-capable. Personally, I’d like to see more to the development of a nonhuman or group of nonhumans (e.g. distinct cultural and/or social traits, ways in which they’re less capable than humans, ways in which they act differently than most humans besides superpowers, maybe some voice/style similarities among the members of the species, maybe some ways in which the superpowers/capabilities affect* the culture and/or point of view and/or motivations and/or values of many of the members, etc). Perhaps some combinations of traits we haven’t seen before? For example, scholarly-and-warlike or cultured-and-warlike would probably be more interesting than another warlike-and-dumb or cultured-and-scholarly species.

    *For example, if I were doing a species that had supernatural abilities related to time (like the ability to alter the passage of time around them), that shouldn’t just show up in what they can do, but also in what they want to do and why, how they perceive events, etc. A race of psychics would probably have some very unusual cultural expectations when it comes to privacy and communications—these well could result in conflict even when it comes to working with protagonists.

    “Is the character a non-human who looks human? I’ve been answering yes, which makes my scores even lower, but I wasn’t sure if that was your intention.” Thinking back to the issue of essentially-human-but-better, making the character look indistinguishable from a human (and, to boot, usually an attractive human a la Superman) is, I think, usually a wasted opportunity for fantasy/sci-fi species: in a Superman-like case, it would reinforce my concerns that the species is not actually distinct enough from humans. But I’m not sure how this would play out for demigods. If the characters are adequately developed, it would not bug me much if the demigods looked indistinguishable from humans. Just please come up with some way in which they’re different than humans with superpowers.



    I think the first weapon (the one used for comedic and/or silly effect) strikes me as probably effective. The other does strike me as potentially a bit hokey.

    “But you’ve made me curious. I wondered if that was just that you’d read all the same stories I have that are thinly-veiled political diatribes or religious tracts, or if you were suggesting that publishers would be genuinely put off by characters who aren’t totally indifferent to religion (and politics) unless they are made up religions/political systems.” A caveat: in religious fiction, publishers and readers are obviously very comfortable with religious characters. However, non-religious publishers tend to be staffed by relatively liberal and secular professionals. Looking at major superheroes, for instance, I can only think of one that actually practices a religion on-camera beyond the most generic rites like funerals and weddings–Peter Parker’s Catholicism influences his feelings of guilt about his uncle’s death and his main moral arc*. I think Ben Grimm is Jewish (hence the golem angle), but I’ve never seen it actually affect the plot. On the one hand, I’m not sure whether novel or comic book publishers would be less receptive to an observably religious character. On the other hand, it might help you distinguish the character from the pack. Good luck and (of course!) Godspeed.

    *Umm, except when he’s making deals with the Devil. Yeah, let’s pretend that never happened. :D

  75. Celofanon 23 Jul 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Hello!
    I came across your site like a week ago, and I have been reading every single article. It has helped me very much :D
    I just took this test and got a slightly high MarySueness score. I would like to hear your opinion about it.

    The character, a defective human-like thing in a bizarre world, is good-looking at first glance. That is because the main events of the story happen in winter, and everybody is always wearing long coats. Later on, when she takes the heavy clothing off, everybody sees she is almost completely covered in really thick scars, giving her an unsightly appearance . She doesn’t angst about them, though.

    She wears sunglasses, too, since her eyes get hurt a lot with light. She takes them almost everywhere, and all the other people think she’s just plain weird. Does this count as “badass-looking stuff”?

    She speaks many languages, but so do many other characters. I found it logical, since they are centuries old. They all look younger than they should, of course. And they have problems with authority because it discriminates against non-humans.

    Many characters are impressed by her, yes. By the fact that she usually acts like an 8-year-old girl, even though she’s older than most of them. She does it because of boredom, and usually gets in tight situations because of it. She also makes bad choices throughout the story. Let’s say that she has a bad sense of self-preservation, and has been a little bit too lucky.

    Do you think these characteristics are justified? Or should I change something?

    Thanks for your time, and sorry if I made mistakes. I’m still practicing my English.

  76. B. McKenzieon 24 Jul 2012 at 12:24 am

    I think the scars and sunglasses are a nice touch, particularly if other characters would regard them as more weird than badass.



    More concerning to me:
    –”She also makes bad choices throughout the story. Let’s say that she has a bad sense of self-preservation, and has been a bit too lucky.” I’d prefer more consequences to her actions/choices and less dependence on luck.

    –Many characters are impressed that she usually acts like an 8 year old girl? Thinking back to the sunglasses and scars. There are consequences to her having them: other people think they’re sort of weird. Is there any believable reason people would look up to her because she acts like an 8 year old rather than thinking that, too, is weird?

    –Authority discriminating against non-humans would benefit from an unusual execution to help make it less cliche. I’ve seen a lot of manuscripts along the line of X-Men.

  77. Celofanon 24 Jul 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for your opinion, it will really help me improve the character.

    Sorry, I thought “impressed” meant they found it unusual, not looking up to her. My mistake. I meant they find it unbelievable she is such a childish person, given her age.

    I just have another thing to ask:
    When I said “lucky”, I was talking just about surviving. Every screw-up has been making her lose things gradually growing in importance, until she finally realizes she can’t continue being such an selfish person. Am I being overly-generous with her and should change the consequences?

    And yes, I agree with your last point. I’m still working on the setting.

    Thanks again : D

  78. B. McKenzieon 24 Jul 2012 at 2:15 pm

    “Sorry, I thought ‘impressed’ meant they found it unusual, not looking up to her. My mistake.” Ah, that’s okay. I’ve made quite a few such mistakes myself, and it’s my first language. :-)

    “When I said “lucky”, I was talking just about surviving. Every screw-up has been making her lose things gradually growing in importance, until she finally realizes she can’t continue being such an selfish person.” That sounds much more promising. When you’re selling this story to a publisher, I’d recommend phrasing it in terms of “not quite lucky enough” (to avoid losing these things she values) rather than “a bit too lucky”–emphasizing the losses will make the stakes feel high and develop why she changes (becoming less selfish, I’m guessing).

  79. Celofanon 24 Jul 2012 at 2:32 pm

    The fourth and final “thank you”. xD
    No, really, you helped me a lot. : )

  80. Aliceon 04 Sep 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I think that taking this test is kinda pointless to know if your character is a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu.

    Why I took it? just for fun.

    But you know…some of the things are right!

    I read a lot of stories and all of them are like this: Hi, I’m Bella Silvermoon light, my step-mother says they named me Bella because I am VERY VERY like VERY VERY VERYYY beautiful, with my sparkling green eyes and my Oh-so-long pink/blue/white hair with some green/orange/rainbow in the end of it, I’m good at fighting but suddenly i became very helpless when a guy tried to rape me *sob sob*, then my knight in shining armor saved me and after that we kissed, made loved and i discovered hes a PRINCE! who is also half demon-vampire-elf-cat-werewolf-zombie-angle! just like ME! but I’m also half dragon..and on our weddings day a jealous princess tried to steal him away but he glared at her and kicked her out, then i discovered that my real parents are the emperor ans empress! omg, this is too much!

    that is a Mary Sue!

    but a character can be awesome and interesting even if it got some of the Mary Sue/Gary Stu’s traits. Mary sues are just TOO perfect, they’re annoying. while plain janes are TOO plain they’re boring.

    I mean Spider-man thinks his powers are a curse sometimes, Katniss Everdeen uses a bow which is a named weapon AND shes very talented so is Robinhood, The avatar is the last one of his kind, Harry potter lost his parents, his family aren’t exactly nice. they have some Mary Sue traits but they’re still good characters, aren’t they?

    but there are also some good Mary Sues..if they are considered one..

    like Cinderella: beautiful, kind, lost her parents, has and evil step-mother and meant step-sisters, got married to a prince. but she isn’t annoying, I loved to hear her story when I was young.

    Sleeping beauty: also beautiful, is a princess and in the disney movie she doesn’t know shes a ‘royal’ princess, she falls in love with a prince who then rescues her and marries her. I loved to hear her story too.

    just like beauty and the beast, Snowhite, princess and the frog and Rapunzel. they are perfect because little girls love their ‘perfection’. but they aren’t TOO perfect.

    what i’m trying to say is: being unique doesn’t mean its a Mary Sue. it means it’s special and interesting! just don’t overdo it!

    sorry for my horrible English but I hope I conveyed what I wanted to say.

  81. Marie R.on 06 Oct 2012 at 1:59 am

    Just a few comments because I generally liked this test, but some of the questions are a little odd. The first question could mean either modest as in not dressing like a slut, or modest as in not wanting to accept praise. Another would be your questions on royalty, if they’re born into power they may still need to work (for example, their country is in the middle of a civil war), and it makes perfect sense for a noble and a noble to date. An exception should be made on that rule if your character is also an elf/noble/whatever. The languages question varies, as I can see a character with a perfectly legitimate reason for knowing many languages (a student from Pakistan in my class speaks five fluently because the region has so many dialects and it’s pretty common to be multilingual in Europe as well). Lastly, the question on impressive should only apply if the character has done nothing to earn this. Harry Potter, for example, is impressive but most definitely earned it.

  82. Dragondevilon 06 Oct 2012 at 4:43 am

    Well,in my Graphic novel,
    I want the story to start with the hero all beat up(tortured) and being interrogated.

    Would that be a problem?
    Would it be angsty?

  83. B. McKenzieon 06 Oct 2012 at 5:52 am

    “I want the story to start with the character tortured and being interrogated. Would that be a problem? Would it be angsty?” Although angst might be an issue, I’d be more concerned about whether the character was getting a chance to develop his/her personality in a memorable and interesting way. I know of a few authors that could pull it off, but I think it’d take superb execution to make the character come across as a human rather than a punching bag and/or masochist and/or rag doll. (For example, does the character get the opportunity to do things in the scene that most protagonists would not do in the same circumstances?)

  84. Dragondevilon 06 Oct 2012 at 7:40 am

    @B.Mac
    Thanks..
    I kind-of knew your reply would be this.As you always press on the importance of personality. ^_^

  85. B. Macon 06 Oct 2012 at 7:59 am

    Along with personality, I think it’s critical that characters get chances to do interesting things. Given the circumstances of the scene (the character getting tortured and interrogated), it might be hard for him/her to do so. But not impossible. I’d recommend checking out The Avengers (when Black Widow is interrogated by the Russian mob), the Silence of the Lambs novel (the scenes between Clarence Starling and the captive murderer Hannibal Lecter), and maybe Dark Knight (Joker getting interrogated by Batman and the police) for examples where a captive makes a huge impact on a scene despite being held prisoner.

  86. Dragondevilon 06 Oct 2012 at 9:29 am

    I was thinking exactly that!
    The scene in THE Avengers,It really helped develop Black widow’s personality…so i guess i will do something along the lines.

  87. Tesson 07 Oct 2012 at 10:41 pm

    My take on this is that it’s possible to use any of these and build a effective character as long as you don’t overdo it.

    For example it would be ridiculous to say “don’t ever write about a character who is descended from royalty.” But when you pile cliches on, such as “orphan who discovers he’s secretly descended from royalty and is actually next in line for the throne,” then you have a plot that’s at serious risk of inducing eye rolls. You might still be able to write a good story, even with that well-worn premise, but you will have to work a whole lot harder. Find a way to make it feel different. For example, what if your character was hidden away to protect him from the mob that stormed the castle, but said mob ended up instituting a well-run republic? So your character is now the rightful heir to the throne, but the only way he would ever sit on it would be through overthrow and tyranny! That would make for a very different story than the one implied by all the cliches about being a secret heir.

  88. Anonymouson 30 Oct 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Let’s see, I got ‘wrong’…
    Question. 1) Completely confused how being modest is a bad thing.
    Question. 10) A perfectly pleasant backstory REALLY don’t work when your character is apathetic and antisocial (not to mention codependant on the only person he DOES like) to the point of it being crippling in every day life.
    Question. 16) Being antisocial, he doesn’t exactly like anybody. Those trying to make him do things he might not want to do not exactly encourage fondness.
    Question. 22) Well, mostly the parents just favored his sister and he rather overblew it in his head. As part of the antisocial bit.
    Question. 37) I have no excuse, but it is the main plot of the story so that’s gotta count for something right?

  89. B. McKenzieon 30 Oct 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Hello, Anonymous. I think I’ve responded to all of that above except for the apatheticness. My concern there would be that an apathetic character is probably less likely to do interesting things than a more energetic/motivated hero would be. If I were reading the story, it might also rub me the wrong way if the character took what felt like an inordinate amount of time doing something which is rather quick for most other characters (deciding to get involved in the central plot). If you’re familiar with The Sentry, that apathetic character tended to make readers more angry than anything (along the lines of “Stop wasting so many pages being useless!”). Best of luck.

    Also, #37. “I have no excuse, but it is the main plot of the story so that’s gotta count for something right?” If your plot gives editors reason to think “there’s no way this will sell thousands of copies,” it won’t count towards anything you want to have. A form rejection letter, most likely. :( I would highly recommend coming up with a better rationale and/or pitch here than “it’s the main plot of the story…” I’d recommend looking into examples like Calvin & Hobbes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or His Majesty’s Dragon where nonhuman characters 1) were totally noncreepy, 2) became bestsellers/appealed to a broad audience, and 3) added something to the story that human characters probably would not have.

  90. edgukatoron 31 Oct 2012 at 3:57 am

    Just retook this after I have been writing my character for a while just to check. Useful, as it reminded me of the “poor decisions” that the character was built around that I may be straying from a bit.

    Missed on:

    5) – but only because I think Dante is a particularly badass sounding name. Not sure if it really counts.
    7) Well, the character doesn’t really have a job – he is trying to become a superhero, and who doesn’t want to become a superhero.
    13) Its not so much he has a problem with authority, but because he is technically a vigilante authority has a problem with him.
    29) Yes, he’s decidedly good looking, but only because one of the original issues I built for the character was his arrogance.

  91. Android 21 3/7on 02 Nov 2012 at 3:06 am

    “Does this character have problems with authority figures? (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.)”

    …Let’s say said character’s authority figures are strict parents with unflinchingly high expectations. Would problem mean “protest against it, be rebellious, and get into very heated arguments all the time” or “endure it with silence and obedience, stress builds until finally she can’t take it anymore and explodes”?

  92. Android 21 3/7on 02 Nov 2012 at 3:18 am

    Taking test again for a different character and I have a different question.

    “Are this character’s parents/guardians abusive or otherwise nasty?”

    Character in question had an abusive father, but mother divorced him years before the story begins and now his home life is normal. Does it still count?

  93. Anotherwriteron 14 Nov 2012 at 7:41 am

    I find it funny that there is a ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ answers. especially the “does your character have magic powers?” and if you say ‘yes’ its sue-ish. well shit, i guess all mages or magic using characters are mary sues. my dnd group would be ashamed.

  94. YellowJujuon 14 Nov 2012 at 10:58 am

    So I got 100% correct, but I haven’t written much so I don’t know if that will stay. I also noticed that most of the questions had to do with the fantasy genre. Does that mean that fantasy stories have more mary sues than say, a superhero story?

  95. B. McKenzieon 14 Nov 2012 at 1:21 pm

    “I find it funny that there is a ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ answers.” Please read the comments next time–I mentioned above that this isn’t how I would have formatted or phrased the test if I had been coding it myself.

  96. B. McKenzieon 15 Nov 2012 at 2:06 pm

    RH, do you know what IP tracking is? I’d recommend looking it up.

  97. bob's nutson 17 Nov 2012 at 4:40 am

    ok i can see i was being innapropriate and im sorry. it was a joke but now that its no longer 4 am i can see it wasnt really funny

  98. Aguaon 22 Nov 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Question 6)Does this character ever get out of a tight spot by discovering new powers or abilities?
    I HAD TO answer Yes, because it’s how the whole Digimon Frontier universe works. They have ‘Spirits’ that allow them to gain in power, making it a less lethal task to save the world. My Character, Ren, had to fight some random really powerful Digimon and the Beast Spirit would not be enough, same way as it was in the Anime with Takuya and Kouji, and ended up getting the Double SPirit Ability, which in the end all Ten get. I don’t think I should get pentalized for that.

    Question 8)Does this character have a particularly traumatic backstory? (For example, his parents were murdered or she was captured by slavers, etc.)
    Here, I wasn’t sure. Ren’s background was kinda traumatic when she was three, and then kinda went to the normal Three-year-old path. I felt the one trauma moment required me to answer “yes” I may’ve been wrong to answer yes…

    Question 13) Is this character originally from the 20th or 21st century real-world but somehow transported to a fantasy realm?
    Again, it’s a universe thing. Litterly, you can’t save the Digital World while in the Real World, it’s not how Digimon Works!

    Question 16)Is this character secretly related to another character?
    Technically, it’s not secret… But she thinks the guy is DEAD, so she figured “Eh, it’s not worth mentioning. I’m just gonna start crying and have an Asthma attack” But I answered “Yes” anyhow, since she knew, but not her eight other friends…

    Question 17)Does this character feel overwhelming guilty about something that wasn’t his fault?
    Survivor’s Guilt. It’s quite common, espically with the “survivors” of a car crash. *Note: All Three Lived, mother and daughter though Son died because Father didn’t want to see Mother and Daughter visiting to see son.

    Question 19)
    Don’t feel like copypastaing, since my lagging interwebs just let me skip it.

    Question 22)
    No more Copypastaing. Basically, it asked if the character transformed. ALL TEN CHARACTERS TRANSFORM WITH THE SPIRITS AND SUCH

    Question-Is this character the subject of a great prophecy?
    All. Ten. Are. The. Subject. of. the. Prophecy.

    I feel like some of the questions aren’t specific enough. I feel there should be three options, one saying “If this is not normal in your universe” Also, pleas use the gender neutral pronouns “Xe” and “Xir”. I feel like your calling Ren a dude…

  99. B. McKenzieon 22 Nov 2012 at 10:32 pm

    “Also, pleas use the gender neutral pronouns “Xe” and “Xir.” Thanks for the advice, but I prefer a mix of he and he/she. It feels less like Newspeak to me. In the cases where I use “he,” please translate “he” to “she” or “he/she” as appropriate. Thanks!



    “I feel like some of the questions aren’t specific enough. I feel there should be three options…” I already covered this above. ProProfs can’t handle multiple correct answers (at least not in any form which would help on this type of quiz).

  100. Antenoraon 23 Nov 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I do not get people’s problems with angst. If the character has no problems whatsoever, is this story about his good life and happy ending? Is the character braging or something?
    I like angst, really.
    But thepoint here is, that most of these are good stuff, but if you put them all in one place, you get a bad thing, because it is too much. I apparently have 6 of those things. And i think that if you have noone you have a boring character.

    And btw, Naruto is a mary Sue, but he ownz :D If you know how to write, you can make your character a god, and still make it good. Those are more of a guide lines, than strict rules, so don’t start making excuses. You don’t have to.

  101. B. McKenzieon 23 Nov 2012 at 8:01 pm

    “Those are more of a guide lines, than strict rules, so don’t start making excuses. You don’t have to.” I agree 100%. I’m sort of confused that people post their explanations for which ones they got “wrong” on a right/wrong test. 1) My opinion of a story does not matter and 2) Even if my opinion did matter, it’d be if/because I was evaluating the story for a publisher and not because of a right/wrong test.

  102. Only Under The Rafterson 30 Nov 2012 at 12:24 pm

    “Does the character ever make a decision readers will probably find unintelligent?/ dissagree with?”
    miri doesnt really make all that many descisions at all! shes the wife of the cheif, kidnapped from a rival tribe, she mostly does what shes supposed to and doesnt rebel

    “Is this character ever raped or tortured?”
    technically, i think being forced to marry someone counts as rape, he probably did rape her a few times, but in the setting thats considered acceptable, shes his wife/captive. she doesnt angst over it

    “Is this character very modest?”
    i guess so! shes demure and nice, so she wouldnt go arouind bragging

    “Is there any aspect of this character’s personality that you expect readers will find unlikable?”
    not really, she pretty much just a sweet, agreeable wife and mother, (but not stupid and weak, shes not a fifties housewife! she just gets along with people)

    “Does this character have a particularly traumatic backstory?”
    yeah, kidnapped from her tribe as covered, although she isnt really affected by it, its been 15 years, shes happy in her new tribe

    “Is this character notably good-looking?”
    shes pleasingly plump, and for a mother of six she looks pretty nice! especially by the standards of the story, where heavyness is a sign of wealth and therefore beauty

  103. JVKJRon 30 Nov 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I ran one of my characters through this- she’s not a Mary Due, thankfully. But I’ve got a few question on the questions that were marked as incorrect.
    Is this character the last survivor of anything? Very angsty … Except, she doesn’t really angst about it. She was a baby, and has no real memories about it. She mourns for the lives lost, but as a whole, it’s a pretty insignificant amount of angst.
    Is this character a royal or otherwise a member of a ruling family? I commented on this in the chosen one test- she isn’t one of those either. She was born into it, but she had to prove herself. And even afterwards, there’s no lack of people who’d prefur anarchy over her.

  104. Only Under the Rafterson 01 Dec 2012 at 1:47 am

    @ JVKJR
    one thing ive noticed is that “but they dont angst over it” is a very common explanation for the angsty ones (see mine right above XD ).

    Having no anst can be annoying too, like “ooh theyre so tough they dont even angst over all these tragedies”, but often those angst free characters are tough/unemotional/unforgiving/pick your hardended hero, because of the tragedy, so it still effects them, just in a way that appeals to a male rather than female perspective.

    the rule i use is, the tragedy should serve a role in the plot, not just to give the character a tragic backstory. Basically the same thing as the rest of the test: if the tragedy affects no one but your character, then thats a pretty good sign your character is the center of the universe.

    Ex. My character was kidnapped but thats mainly to develope the world, to show how acceptable it is for a captive to be forced into marrige, and that the chaeracter herself doesnt angst over shows its no big deal to anyone, as. well as showing her agreeable personality

  105. Melody Hallowson 01 Dec 2012 at 6:19 am

    My character is apparently 29% Mary Sue, and this site has the never ending page syndrome. Whatevsies. So, a few questions I got wrong for my character, and I can pretty much justify each and every one of them with a good reason. So starting from the beginning:
    Q1) How many languages does your character speak? Thought I’d better clarify: she can understand all languages. In fact, all the characters can understand all languages; the entire story is set in the world of dreams, and while there it’s sort of like the equivalent of having a babel fish stuck in your ear, so you naturally understand all languages, while only speaking one.
    Q12) Is your character non human but looks mostly human anyway? My character has the skin, hair, eyes and ears of a drow (dark elf). She can swap around colors if need be and she can also make small anatomical changes (because she’s a Dream and all Dreams can do that) but most times she doesn’t because there’s really no reason to.
    Q14: Is your character human? Well, no, but in the story, none of the main characters are. They’re all Dreams.
    Q23: is your character royal or a member of the ruling family? By all technicalities, yes she is. But since Dreams don’t really die ever, it means nothing, there’s no succession of power and even if there was there’s only three places in the entire Dream World that needs to be “ruled”. Everyone pretty else much has their own self governing logic and rules to follow.
    Q24: Does your character ever do anything that the audience would find unintelligent? Okay, my character Aisling’s entire basis comes from wisdom. She isn’t the only protagonist, but she’s the one who’s most aware of her surroundings in the Dream World and while she’s the least aware of how the people around her are she still has enough sympathy and understanding to not be a total bitch to the other characters. I guess maybe there are times when her actions might be viewed as unwise, but I wouldn’t be able to necessarily point them out to you because I might not see it the same way.
    Q27: Is your character mortal? Dreams simply aren’t mortal, fact is. There’s no life expectancy or “natural death” per se; however that does not mean that they cannot “die”. There are only three ways a Dream can “die”, the first is by running out of imagination, the second is by them saying they shouldn’t exist, and the last is through an illness of the Dream World known as Loneliness. Aisling herself is plagued by Loneliness, in fact in the first chapter it’s noted that if she ever finds herself alone again she will die– however it is not a natural cause of death so she is not mortal. Running out of imagination can happen two ways: a Dream could either run out of ideas in battle or stop imagining new Dreams. The latter way is much more sinister, for if a Dream is that idle for that long they won’t disappear until they’ve become fully aware of what they now are– a hollowed out shell. And the last way to die is by wishing you don’t exist: this is a battle trick, a mind game, to be entirely specific it’s Aisling’s forte (granted, she rarely has to do anything like that, but point being, she can)
    Q31: Is your character notably good looking? Well, it depends. I describe her as pretty in anatomical structure, and graceful in movement, but if you find either grey skin, white hair or golden eyes unattractive then I would be under the assumption that she wouldn’t be considered attractive to you.
    Q32: Is your character very modest? Yes and soft spoken, bad at explaining things and occasionally the type of person who becomes invisible to other characters. She doesn’t regard what she can do as really amazing since she views all Dreams as being equal in power and thus is of the belief that any Dream could do what she does. And she’s not ever really praised like the almighty Buddha or something like that, but certain easily impressed or unaware characters may occasionally call her work amazing.
    Q35: Does your character look much younger than they actually are? Aging doesn’t exist in the Dream World, so of course they look younger than they actually are. There’s only one character that looks his age and that’s only because he’s a newborn dream. But Aisling isn’t just older; she’s the eldest of the group next to her brother, The All Seeing Eyes, and the only reason that is debatable is because while it is mentioned that they’re both Ancients it is never mentioned which was born first, or even if one was born first.
    Q40: Is your character the last survivor of anything? Well yes, so to speak, her and her brother are the last of the Ancient Dreams, but it wasn’t as if there was a massacre or something. She’s old, so is her brother, they sort of got lucky. But the rest of their siblings died gradually over time until they were the the last two, and Aisling the last one with the ability to move from world to world like other younger Dreams. It’s mostly a matter of age that makes her the last nearly dead survivor.
    So your final diagnosis from that? Is Aisling of the Ancients Mary Sue or halfway decently developed?

  106. YellowJujuon 01 Dec 2012 at 10:16 am

    @Melody Hallows, B. Mac has said that these are just guidelines, so you have no need to fret about it. Especially if these apply to most of the characters, cause then everyone is a “Mary Sue” which in a way, means none of them are (if your basing their Mary-Sueness on the questions where you answered “Well they’re in the Dream so yada yada yada”, personality and other things not related to the Dream are a different matter entirely.

  107. B. McKenzieon 01 Dec 2012 at 10:35 am

    “This site has the never ending page syndrome.” We originally had the “Leave a Reply” box ABOVE the comments, but then people would leave comments without actually reading the comments that were already up. That was especially unhelpful on this post because so many of the questions have already been addressed.

    “Whatevsies.” Thank you for your submission, but it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.

  108. JVKJRon 01 Dec 2012 at 11:16 am

    @Only Under The Rafters: would you start sobbing and moping if I told you that 15 years ago some random person on the other side of the world died? Someone you’ve never met or known? Probably not. One may feel sad that that happened, and perhaps wonder who they were, what they were like, but you’d move on fairly quickly. You didn’t know them, it was over a decade ago, and as a whole, you wouldn’t be too upset.
    This is pretty much the situation for my character. She was less than 6 months old, she really didn’t know these people. She’s about sixteen when the story takes place, and she grew up in a perfectly loving home with parents, siblings, an uncle, and a grandmother. They raised her, and as far as she’s concerned, she has little to no real connection to her parents and the others who were killed.
    That’s not to say she never feels anything, but it’s like the example I gave you. She’s sad that these people are dead, and from time to time she wonders who they were, and what it would be like if they had all lived, but she doesn’t spend 90% of the time wallowing in angst for what could have been.
    Also, when did I say she tough/unemotional/unforgiving? She’s reasonably tough- there’s plenty of characters tougher than her. Unemotional? No. TRUST me she’s no unemotional. She doesn’t angst a whole bunch, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t emotional. She just react to what’s going on CURRENTLY rather than what happened a decade and a half ago. Unforgiving? Depends on the action. Sometimes she can forgive a person before they even apologize. But if it does cause her get get emotional, she (like most teenagers) can be rather unforgiving and, on multiple occasion, makes some really bad choices.
    And it affected a whole lot of people. Multiple countries, even.

  109. Only Under the Rafterson 02 Dec 2012 at 4:09 am

    @JVKVR
    sorry, i didnt mean to apply that to your character specifically. yours sounds fine. I just mean in general it annoys me when people think theyre better because they avoid one cliche by diving head first into another

  110. Anyaon 09 Mar 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I did it for Spock in 2009. 51%. Saaaaaaaad. Gonna go for Luke (SW) next.

  111. EDEon 11 Mar 2013 at 8:00 am

    “You’re subverting a trope (e.g. making fun of something rather than walking into a trap).”
    Well, I’m glad about that, because my character is going to be doing a lot of comparing himself to pop culture references, but that’s supposed to show how he’s really childish and stuff. I was relieved to read that.
    Also, I was a little confused about what to put for the blade-in-a-high-tech-world question. He’s in modern times, which can be considered high tech, but he uses knives and stuff (bladed weapons) to stab people, which people still do in modern times.

  112. B. McKenzieon 11 Mar 2013 at 3:45 pm

    “He’s in modern times, which can be considered high tech, but he uses knives and stuff (bladed weapons) to stab people, which people still do in modern times.” I think knives would be utterly unobjectionable. If he’s using something like a sword, that would take a bit more explanation to avoid coming off as goofy. For example, swords definitely fit for Highlander, even though it was set in the modern era.

  113. Dr. Vo Spaderon 11 Mar 2013 at 6:44 pm

    There can be only one!

  114. H.E.on 22 Mar 2013 at 7:03 am

    My incurrects
    Does this character have problems with authority figures?  (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.) 
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    When a character has major problems with authority figures, I recommend that you try to make sure that he doesn’t come off as whiny and/or senselessly persecuted. It’s ok if the cops don’t treat him *fairly*, but make sure there’s a REASON they’re mistreating him. For example, in Rambo, the cops hated Rambo because they thought he was a trouble-maker who didn’t have a place in their town.

    She has a bit of a tendancy to defy her father. Other authority isn’t so bad but she rarely obeys her father.
    ~~
    Is this character notably good-looking?
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    Being notably attractive is one of the signs of a Mary Sue.

    She has to work at it. It’s not like she was born the most gorges woman in the world. She puts a lot of work into her looks.
    ~~
    Is the character a rebellious member of a high-class family?
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    “Rebellious Princess Syndrome” is kind of cliche. You’ll have to work really hard to differentiate your story.

    Again this is more of an issue with her father. At the start she doesn’t have this problem but after the male lead comes in the relationship becomes strained.
    ~~
    Is this character name’s Hunter or anything you find to be particularly badass?
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    Badass names make me cringe.

    Her name is Kristina, Kristie or Kris for short. I love that name but didn’t choose it just because I love it. It us not ment to be badass or anything of the sort.
    ~~
    Was this character born into a powerful rank, position or caste?
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    Make him work for it!

    This is not so great for her. She wants people to see her for her not her money. That and her slight issues with her father.
    ~~
    Yes she has ‘Daddy issues’. Mostly because he knows next to nothing about her mom. No she doesn’t ainst about her mom not being alive.

  115. H.E.on 22 Mar 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Incerrects for the male lead

    Is this character very modest?
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    A Mary Sue never compliments herself; other characters do that for her as she delicately tries to refuse their praise. Ick.

    He is what I’d consider to be extremely modist for a guy, but not that can never take a compliment sort. He doesn’t really compliment himself often however if something exceptional happens he can hand himself a few. If others give him a compliment he won’t deny it so much as react in confusion because it’s rare for this to happen.
    ~~

    Does this character have problems with authority figures?  (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.) 
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    When a character has major problems with authority figures, I recommend that you try to make sure that he doesn’t come off as whiny and/or senselessly persecuted. It’s ok if the cops don’t treat him *fairly*, but make sure there’s a REASON they’re mistreating him. For example, in Rambo, the cops hated Rambo because they thought he was a trouble-maker who didn’t have a place in their town.

    One: he has needed to steal in the past to servive witch of course causes a problem, and two with him being an abbuse case he is not overly trusting of adults. It is a past tense thing and he isn’t overly brooding, just a bit stand-offish.
    ~~

    Are this character’s parents/guardians abusive or otherwise nasty?
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    Abusive, nasty parents usually make the story feel angsty. Fan-fiction readers like that, but publishers and paying customers generally do not.

    His parents were but his gardians aren’t. I struggled to answer this one for that reason.
    ~~

    Does this character use a sword or other bladed weapon in a high-tech setting? 
     
      A. Yes. (Your Answer)
      B. No. (Correct Answer)
      Explanation
    If you’d like to go in this direction, please provide a better reason in-story. Otherwise, it will seem like the characters are only using swords because you think swords are cool.

    He carries a knife and uses it a few times. Not a sword because that would make no sence for the character or story. End of discussion.
    ~~
    His name is Tayler. Yes I know a guy named that. It’s a unisex name.

  116. Riverison 30 Mar 2013 at 7:03 pm

    To quote Questionable:

    ““Is this character Human?”: 69% answered yes, 31% answered no
    “Is this character a non-human that looks mostly human anyway?”: 36% yes, 64% no
    Apparently at least 5% of Human characters are simultaneously non-Humans that appear Human. I find this to be a bit disturbing.”

    I actually didn’t get this until I ended up in the same situation myself. I just assumed we could replace “Human” with “The race of the majority of the characters”. And they’re also human reincarnations, and there are almost no characters in the story that stay human. I can only think of two (Janet and Araxie/River’s mother) that are always humans.

  117. B. McKenzieon 30 Mar 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Hmm. I have two suggestions to resolve that, Riveris:
    1) If the character is ever a non-human (e.g. like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis), I’d recommend answering “no” on “Is this character human?”

    2) “I just assumed we could replace “human” with “the race of the majority of the characters.” I think I understand your reasoning here: if most of the characters are (say) Kryptonians, being a Kryptonian probably does not make the character exceptional in-story. While I think that being a member of a different species could still contribute to some Mary Sue issues even if everybody else were part of the same species*, it’d be much more noticeable if the character’s species were notable in-story (or, God help us, if he were The Last of His Kind).

    *Because the character’s species would still be exceptional out-of-story, to your readers.

  118. Kestrelon 04 Apr 2013 at 7:00 am

    Two things. First, question 21: Does this character’s weapon have a name? I answered yes because my character named her own weapon in a fit of romanticism, not because it had performed great deeds or anything. (It’s named Firelight in English even though the character’s French because she thought it sounded sophisticated.) Is that too unbelievable or too Sueish?

    Second, I felt obliged to answer yes to question 28: Is the character a rebellious member of a high-class family? So I’m actually writing a fanfiction (don’t kill me here) for Les Miserables, and my main character is from the upper-middle class in 19th century France, like the other members of Les Amis de ABC (if you’ve ever read the book, seen the musical, whatever). Her own family is comparatively easygoing and don’t explicitly forbid her from joining the June Rebellion, but her actions might seem rebellious to the rest of her class. Once again, is this too Sueish?

  119. J. M. Maxwellon 04 Apr 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Okay, overall, a good test, and I did okay (scored 88% when filling out my MC’s info). I feel I need a second opinion on one of my answers, though. I’m hesitant to admit this, but I was uncertain of my answer before and after the test about question 2 (the furry one). My character, at this point, is more or less a catgirl — probably leaning more toward a Tigra than a full-blown bipedal animal, but still. I’d answered “No” to the question, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve got doubts.

    Anywho, that aside. The answers I flubbed, filled on honestly from this in-development stage of the prose, are:

    #17 (non-human that looks human): I answered yes and no. She was originally human in my prose’s canon, but due to induced mutations was given lion-like qualities. I’d imagine she’s more human than feline, but again, I’ve got an odd case of self-doubt.

    #21 (doing something unintelligent): Answered no, because I couldn’t think of anything at the time that would fall under unintellectual actions, IMO. ^^;

    #29 (notiably attractive): Another yes and no answer. Depends on the beholder. Catgirl thing and all that jazz…

    #31 (Similar political/religious beliefs): Answered yes. Probably a trap for a lot of people, and I’ll note in the comments that it’s been discussed already. Don’t intend to make a big deal of it in-story. Nothing more to add here.

  120. Jade D.on 01 Jun 2013 at 1:06 am

    Most of my “wrong” answers can be summed up in a four part explanation:

    1) questions 1 and 30

    I my novel, top secret agent parents must separate their children at birth, later on they gradually re-unite.

    2) questions 2, 27, and 34

    My character is a 13 year old who was exposed to something in my book called “excelotrons” made her super genius. Most people are impressed by this while failing to realize it’s not really her, but the effect on her brain, that they are impressed with.

    3) questions 6 and 20

    Do to this accidental effect, she also experiences character and personality disorders, like she cannot communicate correctly sometimes (often times sounding like a big Know-it-all jerk to everyone) She also feels guilty because after being expose to the excelotrons, she develops amnesia and forgets about her best friend, whose parents don’t even know she exists, so my character often takes the place of her guardian.

    4) questions 5 and 37

    Sure, my character plays a key role in a prophecy,but in is not about her in particular.
    her bloodline was entrusted by an ancient alien civilization with a series of artifacts from what they refer to as “the era of great confusion”, the last surviving devices from this era,with include a time machine,a mind reading stone,and other things of that nature , and there is a time when my character must whiled it’s power to defeat alien forces. It is because the devices only react with a certain DNA code that my character must use it.

  121. Proxie#0on 01 Jun 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Hello, I am trying to get some feedback on whether or not the way I deal with these Mary-Sue-Dom’s is good/effective enough to not have to worry about it coming up as a majorly annoying point.

    Question. 3) Are this character’s parents/guardians abusive or otherwise nasty? Y

    Audrey’s father was horribly abusive to her and her brother when they were children, but only because he’d lost what he thought was the perfect, faithful, happy family. In essence, he was trying to keep his family together, and “perfect”. Her mother is only “hateful” towards Audrey because she sees Audrey as a harlot who wanted to have sex with her father. Audrey’s mother still loved her ex-husband up until this point, and saw Audrey as having destroyed any chance of them getting back together. Audrey deals with this by hating her father remorselessly, even though he has shown, on numerous occasions, to be “sorry” for his actions. With her mother, she is more forgiving, and is trying to re-connect.

    Question. 16) Is this character secretly related to another character? Y

    Audrey is related to the main antagonist of the novel, but it is unknown to herself and others in the town. This is more understandable because they don’t actually see her father, but rather see his “lackeys.” She does, however, know that he has managed to escape his prison, and has her suspicions. Upon actually seeing him, she realizes immediately who it is. In novel, I was planning on this being about a quarter or halfway through.

    Question. 17) Does this character have a particularly traumatic back-story? Y

    Audrey was abused and molested by her father (age 17) along with her brother. Her brother dealt with this, later in life, by becoming addicted to drugs, after going through several other facets to vent rage and depression. Audrey dealt with this by by trying to be a kind and caring person, and by hoping to prevent it from happening to others (hence her pursuit of a job in psychology). Other than that, she kind of bottled it up, which can lead to emotional outbursts if pressured enough (mostly if angry, but in very rare cases, depression).

    Question. 21) Is this character ever raped or tortured? Y

    Part of her back-story, as mentioned above, and on y review forum. He reaction to this is fairly generic. Now in life, she is very wary of people (un-trusting), especially men. She presents this, in public, by generally being very rude (and very much a smart-ass), unless she is in a workplace. She does this to distance herself from others, if possible.

    Question. 25) Does this character consider his talents and/or abilities a curse? 1/2

    Audrey considers the circumstances of how she got her abilities as horrible, but sees the abilities themselves as a sometimes difficult blessing to deal with.

    Question. 30) Does the character have political or religious beliefs similar to yours? Y

    Audrey is a non-practicing christian. I.E. She believes, but does not go to church because she believes people that go and seem so overtly kind are disturbingly two-faced. This may or may not come up in the novel, but likely not. I am trying to avoid it. The person i am really worried about sermonizing is her father, who is the leader of a sacrificial cult, who compares his own “church” to other religions very often when questioned or challenged.

    If there are any questions about the character or her motivations, feel free to ask here, or on my review forum. (I want to avoid clogging these great articles with things solely relating to myself or my [planned] works.)

  122. only under the rafterson 12 Jul 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Even tho it was a month ago, im gonna answer proxies questions cause i feel like it X) then ill post my own answers

    3. Its nice to see an abusive parent with a motivation other than “because im evil”! Between that and the fact that it plays an important role in the story, more than just being something for your character to just occasionally whine over, i think its ok
    i might suggest toning it down a bit, tho, imo a little abuse goes a long way. But it depends how you handle it

    16. So she already knows who her father is, but she doesnt know hes the antagonist, yes? I like it, shadowy antagonists are in my permenent faveorites list. But this isnt really “the antagonist is secretly her father”, its more “her father is secretly the antagonist”, so its not really the same :)

    17 & 21. Im not really sure what you mean by a “generic reation” to torture/rape. Also, you describe her as both nice and caring, yet rude, wary, and a smart-ass? I guess it could work, but you should mention that shes “nice underneath a smartass exterior” or whatever to make that realationship clear

    im also concerned about the fact that she managed to get a lisence to practice therepy without a clean bill of mental health herself? how does she not get counseling herself if she does it for a living? Surely she knows about the benifits to it

    25. Fair enough :)

    30. Most people wont get up in arms when the bad guy does bad things, so i wouldnt worry about the father comparing his cult to a regular church. Id be suprised if a cult DIDNT try to do that
    Im also not too concerned about Audreys beliefs, if they arent actually mentioned in the novel, although im curious how she became aq Christian if her father was in a sacrificial cult (what are the sacraficing, anyway? money? animals? people?), espesially considering that she ends up as a “non practicing” christian. So she converted but doesnt participate in her religion?
    However, this adds another level of confision to Audreys personality, her feeling that “kind” church-people are two-faced. Id love to see a summary that includes how she can feel all of these different things, and im not being sarcastic, im interested.

    If you see this and read through my long-ass post, i would actually love to hear you answers to this, and to the questions i had :)

    OK, my own answers:

    Does this character have problems with authority figures? (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.)
    Yup. Its a story about a rebelion, and the main character isnt big on obeying the government

    Does this character use a sword or other bladed weapon in a high-tech setting?
    I counted this cause guns exist, although i wouldnt call it “high-tech”. Its srt in 1850′s, so i think blades are still reasonable

    Does this character date any of the following: an elf, a royal or someone high-class?
    Got no excuse for this one, pretty self explanitory. His love interest is a high-class gal, dum de dum for me

    At the start of the book, does this character know who his birth parents are?
    Nope. Well, kinda. He knows his birth mom is the sister of the Aunt who raised him, but not who his father is. His mom gave him up so she could join the Church, which doesnt allow its members to have children, and he already knows that. His parents are exactly who he thought they were, random members of the Church, no one special.

    There we go, fun times!

  123. only under the rafterson 12 Jul 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Oh, hey, how would i go about getting one of those review forum things? you have to hvae an account here or something?

    and my leg is asleep

  124. Proxie#0on 12 Jul 2013 at 10:00 pm

    @ only under the rafters

    I always read through every post (well…almost, but I most definitely read through every post directed at myself), so don’t worry. Just a quick side – note, the character, as of now, has actually changed a bit, but the answers to most of these questions is still relatively the same. I have, however, forgone making the father the main antagonist, at least for the first act. I was trying to think of a way that her actions would cause him to become the villain… Also, I changed the plot. Not too much, but enough to make her fathers role different. He will not be the antagonist, or if he does, he will become so in – story. WAIT A SECOND…I just got a dastardly idea…

    Anyway, I will actually be posting chapter summaries on my review forum, as well as character summaries. I’ll do the best I can to answer your questions here though.

    3. “Its nice to see an abusive parent…But it depends how you handle it”

    In story, I’m going to have her father trying to be helpful and caring, but her neglecting this, assuming that he’s just “an evil old man” (even though she knows why he is the way he is…she’s essentially trying to defend her hatred) I also intend, at one point, to put them both in harms/deaths way, and give Audrey a chance to save him. In short, she does not. I also do not intend on having her whine…whiners are ineffective characters that do not drive the story forward. I also changed it so that her mother only hates her and her brother because they remind her of the very abusive relationship that she was in when she left the family.

    16. “So she already knows who her father is, but she doesn’t know hes the antagonist, yes?”

    Hah ha ha haa, HAH HA HA! Sorry, that part gave me an idea on how to revamp a little. I wanted him to be redeemable, but also still somewhat a bad guy. And I just figured out how to do both…but it might be…egh, nevermind.

    17 & 21. “Im not really sure what you mean by a “generic reaction” to torture/rape… Surely she knows about the benefits to it”

    I just meant, by that, that she is generally more untrustworthy of men than women. I also meant that it is much more difficult to…erm…”make the naughty” with her. (don’t know if there are sensitive ears reading this ;-) ) I’ve actually toned this down quite a bit, as it HAS BEEN over 18 years. The “naughty” part still applies though… And yes, you were correct. She is “a kind and loyal person under the guise of a cold smart ass.” She’s always seen herself as reacting rationally to the negative stimuli of her youth, and is VERY good at hiding anything speaking to the opposite. It’s kind of a defense mechanism, and a lot of hypocrisy. She wont admit that there’s something wrong with herself.

    30. “Most people wont get up in arms when the bad guy does bad things, and I’m not being sarcastic, I’m interested.”

    To the most obvious question first… She became a fairly devout christian when she was in her teens, mostly as an escape, and for the idea that some giant man in the sky could rescue her and her brother. She was, during some services, appalled to see some of the people that interacted with her father so well and so normally. She just assumed that they were as two faced as he was. This hasn’t necessarily gone away, but it has garnered better reasons for that belief now that she has matured.

    Please let me know if the answers presented here are not the ones you sought.

    And from what I’ve read, your sue-isms sound very workable. I particularly like how you deal with the mother. Definitely seems like a fresh take on the “mothers abandonment” story. I assume by the time period, you mean something along the lines of what was featured in “Dishonored” (minus magic, force fields, and techno – walkers)

  125. only under the rafterson 13 Jul 2013 at 4:27 am

    Well, i havent read dishonored, but i will take a look at it cause thatr sounds interesting
    yup, that does indeed answer my questions, thanks :) I hope the revamps work out well!

  126. only under the rafterson 20 Jul 2013 at 4:28 am

    Is your characters name “hunter” or anything you find to be particularly badass?

    ive never found hunter to be a badass name, cause its my brothers name, so i actually always thought of it as a really dorky name X)

  127. Adamon 21 Jul 2013 at 5:37 am

    Question 32, Does this character have a particularly traumatic backstory? (For example, his parents were murdered or she was captured by slavers, etc.)
    , caused me annoyance because in my universe (10th century Scandinavia) the Vikings were slaves to the Beserkers, who were more powerful than Vikings. My character’s family very rebellious, and Erik’s (my character) older brother, mother, father and grandfather were all killed by the Beserkers for rebelling. (Also making him the last of his family) Finally, Erik killed the king of the Beserkers in a duel, and led the Vikings to freedom.

  128. Hannahon 31 Jul 2013 at 7:45 am

    This is difficult because when your making a character for something where magic is readily available and where everyone is royalty (you can’t make a normal character unless it’s minor character).

  129. Proxie#0on 31 Jul 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I agree that it can be difficult to have a real actively normal person in an otherwise extraordinary world. For easy examples, I would suggest looking at elmost every love interest (even ones that contribut…a lot) in Marvel or DC that is normal. Easy ones would be Clarks Lois, or Tonys Pepper.

    But it can be done. For myself, I like to look at Fred Saberhagens series “The Book of Swords,” and his later continuation “The Book(s) if Lost Swords.” For this series, the “Regular” characters are fairly “normal” with the exception of the series main, and later his children. The thing that most makes them extraordinary are the [Named] Weapons they aquire and weild.

    I also think that the way Saberhagen handled the “Son of a Great and Powerful Man” sueism was fairly interesting, and worth looking into. The way he made it, almost any time there was a child born to parents that did not conceive together, it was common to hear the child called one of the “Emperors” children, as the “Emporer” was known to go around the country, having sex with other couples wives.

    Now, as he IS the closest thing to a god in this series…other than the gods, who all are *SPOILERS!* killed by the people by the end of the series…regular people for the most part. *SPOILERS!* his children do get certain “gifts.” This gift is almost always simply having the ability to banish a very specific kind of enemy know as a demon. Also…demons do not come fro hell…they are more like sentient clouds of radioactivity. Speaking of which, Saberhagen does a very good job, in my opinion, of mixing SCI Fi and Fantasy.

    Anyway, the “Chosen One” annoyance is also somewhat subverted by the mains father being forced to sacrifice a limb, as well as being the lone survivor of the forging of said named blades. As a reward, he receives a dangerous, to user and target, weapon, which later, in the start of the series, nearly destroys the family.

    I apologize…I seem to have rambled…a lot.

  130. Sergio Snabianon 09 Aug 2013 at 9:39 am

    The problem with the whole multiple language thing is that my character is in the future, where I believe we should ALL be speaking more than one language.

    He is a soldier as well, using a knife would be useful.

    His badass name is a call sign. His real name is normal.

  131. B. McKenzieon 09 Aug 2013 at 8:20 pm

    “The problem with the whole multiple language thing is that my character is in the future, where I believe we should ALL be speaking more than one language.” I think a universal translator would help here. That makes it more ordinary, whereas if it’s just one guy randomly speaking 6 languages, I think that’d probably be pretentious and/or coconut intelligence (more the author telling us he is intelligent than actually making the character show intelligence in a substantive way).



    I think knives are fine and utterly non-ridiculous as a backup weapon. If his main weapon is a sword, I think that would take more explanation.

  132. Noobicus IIIon 04 Sep 2013 at 2:58 pm

    The character I tested was ‘I, The Toymaker’ (I being the Roman Numeral for 1).
    He’s one of thirteen people sacrificed in a ritual gone horribly wrong.
    One of the sacrifices, XIII, The Stillborn, managed to take control of the other twelve sacrifices and break free during the final sequences (the Stillborn is basically a child-like apparition who is both genderless and has a frail but frightening appearance).

    As a servant of the Stillborn, the Toymaker cannot break allegiance with his master or disobey any direct orders.

    He doesn’t have any ‘badass named weapons’, strictly because his fighting style is very plain. He usually carries around a large piece of broken wood. He likes to inflict blunt force trauma to kill people. However, he will occasionally use some of his own toys to disorient opponents. He has a very tall and intimidating figure but is fairly deformed underneath his clothing.

    As his name implies, he was the local toymaker at his town before being abducted and sacrificed. Now, he serves the Stillborn by creating toy-like weapons for it. He reportedly has a large army of ‘toy soldiers’ stashed away in a cellar of some sort.

    1. The Toymaker does feel guilty about something that wasn’t his fault, but it’s because he’s been deceived into thinking so. Part of his backstory is that while he was alive, his daughter died one late night when he was attending a town meeting. He never got over the guilt that if he hadn’t left her alone, she’d probably have lived. The Stillborn used this guilt to make a ‘ghost’ of the Toymaker’s daughter, to not only keep the Toymaker in line but to toy with him endlessly in his own wallowing guilt.

    2. Yes, he has a traumatic backstory. But I will clarify that this is because of his daughter’s untimely death, as mentioned above. So no, he never lost his parents or anything generic like that.

    3. He does hate authority figures, as he’s slave to my main antagonist (the Stillborn). He hates the Stillborn but as said before, is unable to really do much. This doesn’t stop him from later severing their connection somehow and becoming a secondary antagonist to both my good guy and the Stillborn.

    4. Alright, so technically, when he was alive, he was human. But he’s not anymore. He’s more of a revenant-type creature. An ugly one at that.

    5. He’s no longer alive so he can’t technically die of old age. That doesn’t mean he survives my story…heheh.

    6. Of course I want his job (well his former profession). He’s a Toymaker. Who doesn’t wanna make playthings for children?

    7. His current ‘body’ consists of a large mechanical humanoid form covered by a sizeable rain coat. And I think giant rain coats are badass. Yes.

    8. He’s modest because it was part of his profession in life. Toymakers can’t be proud or arrogant jerks. They’ll scare the kids away.

  133. ClayFeatherson 09 Oct 2013 at 8:09 am

    I’m sorry but I find myself a little confused at the “Are the other characters impressed by your characters abilities” question. I get that you’re putting it like it’s always in a good way, but what if it’s the villian to pull it off ? The Thing in the omonymous movie had everybody impressed that it could shapeshift into anybody it wanted, but that doesn’t mean that they LIKE it.

  134. Brooklyn Rageon 09 Nov 2013 at 9:35 pm

    What I have been finding as I take multiple MS tests for my OC is that she is both borderline MS and definitely NOT MS. I find it weird and confusing that Theia, my OC is both.

    But I don’t blame you, or your test. As it is no one’s fault.

  135. B. McKenzieon 09 Nov 2013 at 9:47 pm

    If you felt the need to take multiple Mary Sue tests for the character, I suspect there are probably opportunities for making the character more three-dimensional and better-challenged. If you have any more specific information about the character (or how she fared in different tests), or the story in general, that would be helpful. For example, what had you concerned enough to take several Mary Sue tests for the character?

  136. Anon.on 10 Nov 2013 at 5:12 am

    I would avoid thinking that a high score on a Mary Sue test is anything more than a vague indication of a trend. To be honest context counts for a lot.

  137. B. McKenzieon 10 Nov 2013 at 9:31 am

    I think a high score on a Mary Sue test is completely meaningless compared to having humans actually review the work. However, in Brooklyn Rage’s case, I was more interested in the author wanting to do multiple Mary Sue tests. If the author thinks there might be a problem, that strikes me as a lot more meaningful than whether the tests think there might be a problem.

  138. Roseon 16 Nov 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Apparently, most of these questions focus on born status, royalty, etc. My character is naturally considered a god, royalty, a princess(kind of sort of maybe), etc. Even so, that’s because of the SPECIES my character is. A little bit of backstory on my character:

    1. My character’s name is Rose of Death. This is actually a NORMAL name for her species.

    2. My character is a grim reaper. Don’t worry, as one of the main canon characters is a grim reaper. Though only two canon characters are grim reapers, the kind is actually well known by the characters. Just search Soul Eater in anime. That’s why Rose is much older than she looks; she just so happens to be 220 years old. Grim reapers generally look very attractive in their human forms, and usually have some sort of angst in their pasts. Also, even if grim reapers are immortal, they die when the next ruler of death rises. They are also really weak to Madness (go to Soul Eater anime).

    3. Yes, Rose has a traumatic backstory. BUT, that’s because Rose is a grim reaper. Since their souls are powerful beings (part of Soul Eater), and grim reapers are known as super powerful, it would make sense that younger grim reapers are generally the ones kidnapped. Rose and Death the Kid (canon) were super close and loved spending time with their father Lord Death. They lived as a normal family considering they were grim reapers, and Lord Death helped his children hone their abilities as well as spend quality time with them. Like how your parents teach you things like reading and cooking and those things. A group of troublesome witches (go to Soul Eater anime), led by a certain Madam Evelyn, the main antagonist, were watching the two reaper children from the shadows. For reasons later revealed, they kidnap and severely torture Rose and Kid in an elaborate plan. Rose gets a tattoo on her neck that I mention to detract from her appearance slightly when revealed. Rose ends up bonding a Kishin soul (go to Soul Eater anime) to her and Kid’s souls. Rose displays extreme guilt for this, and it was actually her fault. Even if it is an angsty past, Rose’s backstory is not really like most in actuality.

    4. Of course Rose can speak many languages! She’s been alive for 220 years. That’s why Rose is so darn good at almost everything; she’s been practicing them for more than a century. That’s also why Rose is so skilled in martial arts, hand to hand combat, etc. She picks up things just a tiny bit faster than most people, so it would make sense that she knows a lot of languages.

    5. Do you feel offended when others insult your character?
    Of course I would. This is not a sign Rose might be a Mary Sue. I feel annoyed whenever a person insults any one of my OCs, including the antagonists. They are my own creations and original characters, so it would make sense that I hate when people openly insult my characters. Why just keep it to yourself or kindly suggest some improvements. This was not a question on the test, but I just want to point that out.

    6. Does your character reform a previous villain through love, force, etc?
    Once again, this is not a question on the test. My character Rose does fall in love with a canon villain from another anime (crossover). Even so, this takes months of continuous effort for Rose to do so, and the villain in question only acts the tiniest bit differently around Rose. He does battle Rose briefly, but another antagonist ends up defeating Rose in the end. Just wanted to say that.

    Overall, I wish there was a Mary Sue for characters like my Rose, who aren’t really normal in most stories but are normal in their storyline. Good test for normal fan fictions though!

  139. Amber Don 30 Dec 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Ok I know this comment is addresing a discussion that it’s extremely late to address considering it took place on December 6 2008 ( it started on the 4th or 5th comment down I think depending weather you count the one that says “please read this before comenting on this quiz” in case anyone is curious) but I have a theory

    Ok so it was talking about how 5% of people answered yes there charcater was human and also answered yes to the question that asked if the character was a nonhuman who looks mostly human anyway my theory is that they were addressing half humans here is why I think people addressing half humans might answer that way:
    On the first one they’d answer yes because if I am remembering correctly the quiz only offered yes or no so they might of thought well I guess I will answer yes because they are part human
    Then on the second one they would say yes because they might think well my character is part ________ and looks mostly human so I guess they would fall into that category

    As I am typing this I ‘m thinking it’s posible skipped questions or miss clicks might also have something to do with it also

  140. SourCreamTacoon 30 Dec 2013 at 2:29 pm

    @Rose

    Don’t get mad at me, but…

    You shouldn’t really think of an “insult” as an insult. Think of it as a critique. There are always going to be a lot critiques for books. So don’t get offended, please.

  141. BMon 31 Dec 2013 at 8:17 am

    Sorry, Rose, I don’t work with fan-fiction and don’t know anything about it. Best of luck with your writing.

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