Mary-Sueism is the act of creating a character that is, as considered by the creator of said character, a perfect or ideal representation of the creator. Mary Sue characters have a strong tendency to be incredibly difficult to roleplay with as they lack depth and room to grow as characters, as well as being generally unbelievable due to their lack of character flaws.
Examples of Mary-Sueism
- Larry, in real life, has always admired cobblers and their craft, so Larry makes a character that is the greatest cobbler Aloria has ever seen. Born with an unnatural gift for shoe repair and creating comfortable footwear. This character would be nearly impossible to roleplay with in any sort of useful fashion other than getting some shoe repairs done. The character is two dimensional and stagnant.
- Maria recently beat a popular video game series that featured knights. Still craving the feeling of being a knight, Maria makes a character who, despite being a woman, is somehow physically and mentally more capable than all knights. Maria the knight avenged her father's death by slaying a group of evil bandits at the age of thirteen, has unwavering sense of valor and fashion sense for armor that doesn't protect her midsection. This character is of course completely unbelievable. This will most likely cause a lack of interaction from the majority of the roleplay community, as unrealistic characters tend to jar a person's immersion.
Tips on Avoiding Mary-Sueism
- Always remember that nobody is perfect, even in a fictional world.
- While it is common practice to create characters based on one's self image or aspects of themselves, do not exclude your own character flaws in doing so.
- If a character is an exaggeration of everything good about yourself, try to also exaggerate all the bad things. You are really smart, so your character is a genius. However, you are quite lazy, so your character is the embodiment of sloth.
- If you are lacking in character flaws (That you are aware of) or you're not very good at introspection, try to distance yourself from making a character based on yourself, and instead start from scratch.
- Another alternative is to create a character based on someone you know, a friend or family member.