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Immortality Does Not Equal Mary Sue by Novadestin Immortality Does Not Equal Mary Sue by Novadestin
It's always bugged me how some people hear the word 'immortality' when talking about a character and freak out. Yes, I understand that immortality can be used to make those annoying uber-awesome characters that can never be out done, but I'm not talking about that. I'm just talking about immortality by itself. The kind of character mentioned above cannot be solely attributed to a never-ending lifespan.

Immortality is just having a life that doesn't end, it has nothing to do with, or little to do with, a character's skills or personality. But still, people automatically assume that because they can live forever then they MUST be uber-smart and uber-skilled. Right? Wrong. It can happen, yes, but that is not always the case. Having an immortal character myself (well, she is presumed to be immortal since she hasn't found anything that can kill her... yet), I face this silly discussion a lot. No, that's being too nice. It's rarely ever an actual discussion and more of a 'point and yell stupid and ignorant things' kind of situation.

My 'immortal' character is not a know-it-all, she has a memory just like any other person. The saying 'I've forgotten more than you'll ever know' really applies here. She doesn't go out of her way to try and learn everything, and what she does learn only sticks around in her mind so long as she uses the information/skill. There are plenty of times where she runs into a situation and has to improvise because she doesn't quite remember what to do. An example would be her trying to pick a lock on a door... she lives in a jungle-like village that doesn't have door locks. Sure, she could probably figure it out if given enough time, but who knows how long that could take as in that moment she would almost be like a novice again. She spends more time re-learning things through the years than she does learning new things.

This applies to her skills as well. Granted, once you do something like a fighting style long enough, your muscles remember the moves even if your brain doesn't. That's not to say my character is some fighting machine who knows every fighting style ever, but she can protect herself extremely well. Drop her into a martial arts competition and she'd be able to beat pretty much everyone (the really good fighters would give her a run for her money though), however she would get disqualified almost immediately because she wouldn't follow the rules of any one style (she fights to protect herself, she doesn't care about how). Drop her into a fight that involves modern weapons, such as guns and rocket launches, and she would probably run away. She could potentially disarm the bad guys if she got the chance, but she is in no way impervious to bullets (she may not die, but that doesn't mean they just bounce off her like Superman; in fact, they affect her pretty much just the same as they would a normal person, only difference is she would heal from it... eventually).

Personality and lifestyle wise, immortality is a curse to her. And, I don't mean in the 'Queen of the Damned' I'm so lonely kind of way either. She leads a very fulfilling life (to her) that is full of loving people, but she is incapable of being with her son and that's why she feels it's a curse. The way immorality affects her body when she gets hurt also plays a huge roll on her feelings that it's a curse (it's in NO way '5 minutes and you're perfectly healed'!). She doesn't have tons of money or a big house or lots of cool 'toys' (she lives in what many might call poverty), she just wants to help the people around her make a life for themselves and figure out a way to get her son back. Simple, no flash. I know some might call that a "crappy life" next to their 'first-world problems', but that's the kind of person she is. She would be the same way if she was with her son. Immorality is a disease to her; a cancer that, instead of eating away at her, keeps putting bits back. Instead of robbing her of years, it's giving her too many, and it has driven her off the deep end quite a few times.

My point is, immortality is just another trait that can be done well or poorly. People really need to stop assuming things and give each character their fair chance. I know immorality is one of those traits that is very often done poorly (I refuse to say wrong because there is no right or wrong way when it comes to writing; and no, you can't convince me otherwise!), but that doesn't mean people should just start calling every immortal character a bad character simply because they are immortal. We, as reviewers, need to get back into the habit of actually reviewing the whole character and not just picking at the outer edges and calling it a day. Come on people, grow some balls and put in the work or step the fuck back for someone who will.

Stamp template by Kencho Thank you my dear :D
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:iconrokuro-dono:
Rokuro-Dono Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
As a joke I have a chareter that has qualities of a Mary Sue, but there life is shit. XD
Due to bieng so powerful, they have to pay the price for those power's trapped in a place where those power's don't go beserk.
They are not loved by everyone, since most don't even know that they even exist.
Is immoral but has the most miserable time ever, losing people they love. Even if they were to learn every skill in the entire planet. Having no challenge would drive them crazy.
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:iconsleepstar:
Sleepstar Featured By Owner Edited Dec 26, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Three of my Original Characters are immortal, but it makes sense in their case as they aren't human. The only way they can die is if someone uses metals such as iron, gold or silver on them. 
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:iconswaggie--vortex:
Swaggie--Vortex Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You tell 'em! I'm tired of my DA pals (who are Mr. Men and Little Miss fans) saying shit about my sona...
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:iconbigclaudia:
BigClaudia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
My OC can respawn
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017
haha awesome 👍🏻
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:iconbigclaudia:
BigClaudia Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
true
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:iconcat11144:
cat11144 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I got called a cunt just because my OC is immortal, but if you look at my Crash Bandicoot Fanfic you can clearly see she is able to be killed!  I HATE OC BASHING! 

Sorry but what I'm trying to say is that yes my character is immortal, but at least she has flaws and she is able to be killed by spiritual means, aka like Alucard absorbing Schrödinger's blood making him have the ability to not recognizing himself.
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017
"Killed by spiritual means" ...never come across that before, sounds interesting. Anyways, don't let oc bashers bother you; I once got told a character was (read in snotty voice) "probably Mary Sue" just because her profile was "too long"... yeah, they didn't even both to read it and just went off cause it was more than a couple pages long. Some people are just pretentious idiots looking for any means to place themselves above someone else and we should pity them instead of letting them get under our skin ✌
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:iconhatedlove6:
HatedLove6 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Because the profile was too long?  :rofl:  Then all of my OCs are, and are going to be, Sues too.  Probably even Super Sues.  My blank template alone is a little over a page, and as it stands, the two OC profiles that have been updated are both six pages.  The only reason it isn't "complete" is because I want to add short descriptors to each of the personality traits to put it into context, and so I don't have to keep referencing back on my (in general) writing notes to know what it means instead of just referencing from the character sheet.  Once that's done, they'll both probably be seven pages long. 

Of course, number of pages don't really matter if you don't know the size, font, and line spacing.  So far, one OC is 3,417 words (21,297 characters) long, and the other is 3,678 words (22,188 characters) long.
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:iconcat11144:
cat11144 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks ^^  I never knew they were trying to get under my skin
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:iconthe-demihuman:
The-Demihuman Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2016
I made one of my OC immortal, but only because she was made to see the human race to the end. She's to be a simple historian. But when her loved ones die, she'll never see them again. When you're both an alpha and omega, there is no end. You cannot have a happy ending because there is no ending.
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016
Well, that depends on if the human race in your story has an end or not. I mean, there is no guarantee that we, as a species, will go on forever. So, if she is only alive as long as humans are and all humans die then she will have an end eventually... and she wouldn't technically be immortal then would she? Yeah, I know that's super nitpicking lol I'm just philosophizing out loud, ignore me haha ^_^
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:iconthe-demihuman:
The-Demihuman Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016
It's quite alright.
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:icontultsi93:
tultsi93 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Thor and Loki are Mary Sues then! :D
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:iconmlpfan212:
mlpfan212 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2015  Student Artisan Crafter
me too
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:iconjazzy-vertix:
Jazzy-Vertix Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
It's so annoying to see every character being immortal. Especially when it is a recolor. ugh...
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:iconmardeadstra:
MarDeAdstra Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hidan from Naruto is inmortal, however he has lots defects and a balanced personality: he is an incredible rude person, has terrible relationship with most of the Akatsuki members and actually is the weakest member of Akatsuki. 
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:iconnicthewerecatqueen:
NictheWerecatqueen Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! I decided to post pics of my ocs on this fourm and mini-game site. At first I got a crap ton of "these are ugly" but lately i've geen getting a crap ton of "these are Mary-sues and god-modders" JUST because they are immortal. So almost all of my girl characters were called Mary-sues. :(. Like I said on my fourm, who let the trolls out?
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015
lol every single female character will be called Mary Sue at one point or another. It's important to only listen to constructive criticism, not the noise ^^
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:iconnicthewerecatqueen:
NictheWerecatqueen Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah
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:iconlulumewtrainer:
Lulumewtrainer Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
If people are whining that an immortal character is a Mary-Sue, then by that logic, the ENTIRE CAST OF Baccano and Touhou would be Mary Sues XD
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:iconcesilfei:
Cesilfei Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is very true, just because someone's immortal doesn't make them broken, it's whatever's added on.

Like say someone makes an immortal character and says they devoted all those years they've existed to learning every fighting style known to man, learning how to use any weapon known efficiently...Realistically speaking they may be capable of doing something like that if they've been around for quite a long time, but even then it would suck all the fun out of making an immortal, let alone a character, because then they feel...Bland, like they aren't really a character, more like a weapon made by the reader to kill their own creativity...

For example, I once made an immortal who devoted...Well...No time to basically anything besides being buried alive...However because she has True Immortality and Regenerative abilities she is essentially unkillable, does this help in combat? Hell no! Like any other person if she feels a certain amount of pain she'll black out for days depending on the severity, sure her body will recover from any damage but that doesn't mean it hurts any less, her body also shuts down from cold, lack of nutrition, lack of hydration...Basically an Immortal with the weakness of a human. Even then she's not even that combat savvy, she doesn't go out of her way to learn much, she's actual pretty average looking, and is more interested in the progression of art than learning anything she doesn't have to.

Sorry for talking about my own character in this, but I thought it was a good way for me to show that I agree.
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015
By all means, discuss away! Seeing how other people handle the same traits is always fun because everyone has their own spin on things :) And, I agree that a character with only one single purpose, such as learning every fighting skill imaginable, would be very duel and actually pretty useless outside of a fight - like a bad-ass while fighting, but a neanderthal when it comes to things like communication, survival skills, common sense, etc :P
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:iconcesilfei:
Cesilfei Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Heh, thank you, and precisely!

For example, my character sees immortality as the most painful form of execution, it forces you to live on while everything you know changes around you, while everyone you love dies off, and then your just left on your own faced with a choice, a painful isolation or the temporary warmth of love while it lasts before it's snuffed out...She would rather live artistically than be drawn into conflict, artists can remain anonymous but soldiers are known and praised for their deeds only to be forgotten and replaced. Hell, at the end of the story I had planned so log ago she allowed the villain to drink her blood, making him immortal, and as punishment he was forever hung, buried alive, destined to forever live crushed, unable to let oxygen into his lungs and experience the pain of burial forever on...

Even if a character is truly incapable of dying in any way they can still suffer as much as the next man, in fact they suffer more than any Human being would naturally as they have no way of ending their torment.
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:iconhannikka:
hannikka Featured By Owner Edited Jul 18, 2014
very true not because and oc is inmortal is a "perfect character"
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:iconchippingchart66:
ChippingChart66 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
I personally think immortality is better left as an individual character trait, with Skips from Regular Show as an example.
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:iconlittle-rolling-bean:
Little-rolling-bean Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Actually now her full age is 200, she is 150 so she has 50 years left of her life.
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:iconlittle-rolling-bean:
Little-rolling-bean Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Mines immortal until she dies of an illness, someone else killed her or from bad injury. She doesn't die of old age. 
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:iconrobloxgeneralduncan:
ROBLOXgeneralduncan Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
well, I have to agree, people need to look past the outline into what is there.

though the outline helps to understand the character, it isn't the character

let's take my favorite immortal OC shall we?

the Earth Lord doesn't know everything, and isn't "hip" as well, in fact all he does know about the modern life is what's in it, he doesn't even know how to operate anything! (I should really put this in his BIO...) And the only things he does know how to operate are the simpler gadgets, hand clocks and old stuff with gears for instance.

and there is a reason why I didn't put him up with a love-life as well; just like your character thinks; immortality IS a curse; anyone whom they (immortals) love will sooner or later die while they live on. "Smart" immortal characters find this out from the start while looking at their "options" while the more average (Average meaning 20/20 hindsight) ones finds it out the hard way.

so yeah, there is a lot of truth to "immortality does not equal Mary sue", and plus it depends on what TYPE! here's what I mean; there is ageless, where the character can die but they can't grow old, then there is deathless, where the character can't die of old age, but of mortal/magical weapons they can, then there is TRUE immortality where the immortal being cannot die of conventional means (conventional meaning that it's either really rare, or really hard, or both) then the true immortal ones also may be either neutral or good, or if they're bad they have a remarkable healing rate and can be killed by "unconventional means" (like beheading them for instance, but usually these characters have either A) good combat skills [muscle memory] or B) relies on stuff that would make him almost impossible to reach [like magic for instance])

and unless if you half-but it, these kinds of characters are hard to make.

sorry about the huge wall of text at the end



good job on the stamp BTW!
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner May 31, 2013
Thanks, glad you liked the stamp and it's message. "though the outline helps to understand the character, it isn't the character" now there's a great quote haha also thanks for bringing up that there are different types of immortality. I was just being general with this stamp but I agree that the type does play a big role in things.
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:iconrobloxgeneralduncan:
ROBLOXgeneralduncan Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
your welcome!
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:icontheamatuer41:
TheAmatuer41 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Student General Artist
I have one concept towards immortality: 'yeah you live forever but theres a 'CATCH....examples that can be derived such as vamps(an eternity of young and beautiful forever but you gotta at least drink blood to live), people given immortality ( you live forever but you live in a very unlucky life, you can live forever but you still stay old, you live forever in a way that even if your sick and dying with your body rotting away yet they you cant kill yourself cause you cant die, and you can live forever if you have to give some daily sacrifice to attain it). there are several ideas that can come by....but this is my own opinion on how to give balance to a story...
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
I get what you're saying, but as I said to someone else recently "I don't like the idea of there having to be "a catch" either, people don't work that way. Dealings with shady business men have a catch, not people." Personally, I just don't like that phrase used that way hehe Anyways, back to the actual point, I've always agreed that things should be as balanced as they can be. I don't necessarily think there has to be a tit-for-tat setup for everything but definitely overall.
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:icontheamatuer41:
TheAmatuer41 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Student General Artist
If thats the way it is then probably it should be... Thanks for the opinion. :} Besides making a realistic characters with good plots requires one thing : balance right? Making OC's are never easy...but who says writing is easy...;}
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013
For some people writing is easy, for other people storytelling is easy - for some both are easy and I hate them haha

But, yes, I find coming up with the ideas a lot easy that the writing :P
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:icontheamatuer41:
TheAmatuer41 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Student General Artist
Agreed....
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:iconeasyparadox:
EasyParadox Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
FACT and Spoiler: The original Mary Sue dies.
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
If I remember correctly, the character the original Mary Sue spoofed resurrected herself xD
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:iconeasyparadox:
EasyParadox Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I just recall the effusive mourning over her death not any resurrection.

Think making a balanced character test is a good idea? Instead of lumping all points into one category, the test finds areas of imbalance. I'll come up with a concept sample later.

Things like name and looks have little "Sueness" to me if they don't hijack the story. Can't enjoy a story if you are caught up in just 0.5% of it. They way people shout Sue at everything makes me think they are trolls, overzealous or just enjoy strife.

I think the cliche conflating with Sueness came from fanfiction.net abd test maker sites, but this is just my own speculation.

Fun Trivia: Child characters likely will score low since romance questions will be N/A

Another pet peeve of mine people is giving a "get out of jail free card" to published writers. (e.g. You're not [insert writer of choice here] you can't do that.) You do not need to be paid or published to make a good story.

A story doesn't need to be long, "deep" or like a long Joseph Ducreux meme where you need a 3000 page dictionary for every other sentence. Good execution will hook in readers and make someone read something that's not their cup of tea. It's happened to me before but I won't mention which fics.

Example:
Me: I not into fics of genre _______, but I'll see what all the fuss is about.
*click*
Me: Interesting what happens next? x9

BTW my favorite genre is humor, perhaps because people aren't so uptight about it.

I wasn't feeling well when I wrote this so let me know if you need clarification.
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013
I was referring to the story that Mary Sue was based off of, not the actual Mary Sue story itself :) That story does not exist though, the info just comes from an article in which Paula Smith was talking about it.

And you make some good points, especially about the "get out of jail free" card :P
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:iconeasyparadox:
EasyParadox Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Nice perspective on immortal characters. :clap:

An immortal character doesn't mean they are an endless well of knowledge/power/skills. This is written fiction, not a computer role playing game of going over the level cap and maxing out your skill points/stats.
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:iconnovadestin:
Novadestin Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012
Thank you :)
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