The Mary-Sue Complaints Checklist Index

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HatedLove6's avatar

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Welcome to The Mary-Sue Complaints Checklist!  Got a complaint about a character trait, or a plot device?  Maybe it's more of a writing style pet peeve.  Come on in and read why these specific "traits" aren't necessarily "Mary-Sueish" or "bad writing".  

Before you read any farther, it would probably be best to read my "Mary-Sue: Who is She?" series first before reading any of these because my definition of Mary-Sues are quite different from anything I've read by anyone else.  I'm quite open-minded, so if you have a gorgeous, powerful character with a tragic past, I would accept it without automatically declaring it a Mary-Sue.

These are the chapters I have written or am planning to write.  If I have submitted the subject, I have put links in this index itself, so just hover over the subject you want to read, and click on it.  If you feel I have missed something, by all means, let me know and I'll either add on here, or I'll make a guide for the "Mary-Sue: Who is She?" series.  

  1. "You" P.O.V.s
  2. Clichés and Self-Inserts
  3. Sucked into the Universe
  4. OCs Paired up with Canon Characters
  5. OCs Related to Canon Characters
  6. Controlling All of the Elements
  7. Suddenly or Accidentally Gaining Powers
  8. Having or Gaining Wings
  9. Coming Back to Life
  10. Musical Talents
  11. Having Numerous Hobbies
  12. Knowing Numerous Languages
  13. Youthful Old Gals/Men
  14. "Hot" Only Characters
  15. Multi-Colored Hair
  16. Lack of Scars on Fighters
  17. Inflow of Japanese Characters
  18. Princesses vs. Rebellious Tomboys
  19. Girlish Boys and Macho Girls
  20. Cutters, Druggies, and Alcoholics
  21. Killing Canon Characters
  22. Physical/Emotional/Mental Disabilities/Disorders
  23. Has an Alter Ego/Demon/Angel Inside
  24. Sex as an Outlet (Even for Sexually Abused Characters)
  25. Rule Breaking Genres
  26. OCs with a Canon Character's Name
  27. Characters with Extra Long Hair
  28. "Rare" vs "Impossible"
  29. Beauty, Brains, and Brawn
  30. Sweet Sixteen
  31. Endearing Flaws
  32. Animal Companions
I highly recommend reading my first Mary-Sue guides from the Mary-Sue: Who is She? series before reading any of these. My definition of a Mary-Sue isn’t all about the characters perse, and you would be surprise at how open I am to ideas that are declared an “absolute Mary-Sue trait.” Gorgeous, powerful characters, with sad pasts, I accept it all and wouldn’t call them Mary-Sues.

Anyways, what this checklist is, is just me writing specifically about these so-called “bad writer/Mary-Sue traits” and telling you why it’s OK to write about/with them. With the other guides, I just didn’t have room to be more specific, so I wanted to have another series within the series going. If I think of another guide-worthy idea, I’ll still continue the general guides, but for now I’m taking a (well-deserved) break.

By writing another series of Mary-Sue guides?

. . . I'm weird.

The links to each of the subjects that I have written are in the index. Just hover over whatever you want to read, and if it adds an underline, that means I've submitted it here.

Learning how to develop characters and the story itself isn't something I can just teach you or write a tutorial about, you have to practice that on your own. So this is really just a checklist.
© 2012 - 2021 HatedLove6
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Hyakupasaurus's avatar
Hmm...My char has an unnatural hair color though I wasn't dyed or anything its more of a representation for my character's personality does that make her a Mary sue?  
HatedLove6's avatar
This index contains links to submissions about each and every one of these subjects.  Just click on them and read.
Griffonmender's avatar

I’m not sure if you’re still adding to this, but I think a good addition would be clumsiness.

Besides often being called “not a character trait”, it usually pops up in the arguments of why Sailor Moon is mary sue, along with being a crybaby (which could actually make a good edition too.)

And granted, it can lose its weakness potential when used solely to make a character more endearing:… (not unlike how you mentioned in the main guides how using “nicer” words makes flaws/weaknesses sound nicer.)

It can be an effective trait when used properly- like having the character trip in the middle of a fight, for example.

Also, “unnatural” hair colors. Granted, it’s sort-of already mentioned in multicolor hair, but it’s not unheard of for people to condemn a character for having otherwise normal hair in say, lime green or pink. Even if the characters are for a series where those colors aren’t that weird.

HatedLove6's avatar
This is by no means finished, so I do appreciate any suggestions.  I've updated the index which I will get to those topics in the future.

I did talk about unnatural hair colors.  It was kind of alluded to in multi-colored hair, but I also talked a little about it in the first Mary-Sue guide in the first series:

"In a universe where everyone has a normal hair and eye color, everyone by birth should also have the normal hair and eye color, unless they were born with a genetic mutation or such.  If a person has an off the wall hair color, and there are no colored contacts or hair dye, then there is definitely something wrong and that it’s the author’s fantasy overriding their common sense.  If the story takes place in a more colorful universe (like say Naruto, or Star Trek depending on the species), then you can go all skittles with the hair, eye, and possibly even skin tone."

These two series of guides go together, so if I don't discuss in detail in the first series, or if I should get into more detail, then it can be added to the second series.  They go together, but they can also stand on their own.
icanthinkofgoodname's avatar
Thank you so much for this! So far, my characters don't really match any of the complaints, except for the omniglotism(ok, that's not a word, but whatever) which is good.
HatedLove6's avatar
Aside from having to guess that "omniglotism" is either number 7 or 22, good (I guess), but I hope you know that even if any or all of these complaints applies to your character or story that it doesn't make your story bad or Mary-Sue.
icanthinkofgoodname's avatar
that's the problem-I lack faith in my writing. I hope the mental disorders come out soon-my main oc suffers from post-traumatic syndrome.
HatedLove6's avatar
Hi, I'm sorry that's it's been so long, but I've written the chapter about mental disorders.  The links on this index has been updated.  :)
HatedLove6's avatar
I haven't written number 21 yet, but my only advice if you're going to write about disorders or diseases, research, research, research. The definition of what it is, the symptoms, other disorders that may be similar, and read articles of people with the disorder. Someone out there may get angry or find offense, but as long as you did your research, and your best, you'll know that there isn't more that you can do to appease all of your audience.
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