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» Meet Mary-Sue & Gary-Stu, How to Avoid Them
 Posted: Mar 7 2014, 01:55 AM
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    So you want to create your own character-- that's great! We here at Endless welcome originals and are always looking to RP with some unique new characters. So say you've filled out your application, checked it for plot inconsistencies and spelling/grammatical errors, and are now waiting for Admin approval. However, before you're finished, you might want to check and make sure your character is complete, believable, and not one of a thousand cringe-worthy Mary-Sues.

    Who Are Mary-Sue and Gary-Stu?
      definition: According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, "in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, a Mary-Sue is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors or reader." However, as many of us have found, Mary-Sues and their male counterparts, Gary-Stus aren't strictly confined to fanfiction. We've all found that one RPer who tries to live vicariously through their creation, portraying that which they cannot outside of virtual reality. Let me break it down for you:

      Mary-Sue is the friend of all the girls, chased after by all the boys. She is beautiful, and kind despite her often tragic past. She probably has a lot of money, always knows what to do in every situation and excells at everything she does. She's probably exceptionally athletic, can play at least two instruments at a master's level and has a marvelous singing voice. She's the girl you find taming the horse no one could ride, the one who's parents were both killed by ravenous hippos or something equally horrifying. She may have lived with an aunt who hated her, or a kind old grandmother who ensured she had all the creature comforts of life... but you can be sure that nothing ever got her down until those few moments where it seems a teary breakdown is called for. She's so sweet it makes you sick, and so perfect she makes Barbie look like a hag.

      Gary-Stu, well... he's much the same, only with a penis. The most handsome boy around, he gets along with everyone and all the girls have got secret crushes on him. He's incredibly good at sports, even if he didn't have a father to play ball with him, or a mother who made sure he ate his bread crusts. Like Mary, his parents (or entire family, in some cases) are probably dead... but again, he takes it all in his stride and maintains that wonderful air of amazing calm that keeps him in place as leader of any group. He'll always do the right thing in any situation, and despite having off-putting blue/green/silver/purple eyes or hair, he always gets the girl.
    Why to Steer Clear
      01. Because it's in the rules! Citing rule seven, "When creating original characters, please keep in mind that OCs are meant to be just that, original! We don't want copies of canon's running around. Basic ideas can be used, but you need to show us that it is DRASTICALLY different from the canon. We reserve the right to ask you to change it if necessary in order to keep the site balanced and original (without ten Quicksilvers or Wolverines or Mystiques running around)."

      02. While it is true that characters in this RPG aren't bound by the limitations of say, you and I in the real world, they should be just as affected by character flaws and history as we are. Keeping your character to a realistic balance of talent and troubles will make your character more believable, more easy to play, and a lot more complex than Mary and her boyfriend up there.

      03. It might be satisfying for the creator of a Sue to go off frolicking in his or her own little world of unoriginality, the rest of us trying to RP with said Sue are most likely finding it very difficult to come up with a decent response to Mr. or Ms. Perfect. Sues are boring. Why not make a character worth playing with?

      04. Complex, developed characters make for more interesting story lines. It's that simple. Having a Sue will make it very difficult for a mod to work you into major plots, for one-- you have a much better chance of being thoroughly involved in board-wide story arcs if your character is worth paying attention to.
    How to Avoid Them
      01. Name. As odd as it sounds, this is usually one of the first things that screams MARY-SUE! While foreign names can be appropriate given the setting of this RPG, try and steer away from odd, or Elvish sounding names (unless given proper justification). Likewise, Moonrose Rainbowshine tends to make people vomit. Try and pick something that's not overdone, unusual in it's own way, but not over the top.

      02. Age. Another interesting factor. Many characters are purposefully designed to be roughly the same age as characters of the opposite gender on the boards. The reasons for this are quite obvious, and while that's okay, don't ever be afraid to play the old grandmother, or even a middle aged store clerk.

      03. Powers. This much should be obvious-- your character, no matter what argument you make, will not be the most powerful character on our boards. Not even close. Sure, everyone would love the ability to fly, teleport, have super strength, and know every martial arts form known to man, but let's face it-- genetics are mostly a crap shoot. Chances are most mutations are pretty lame, if not useless-- not everyone can shoot laserbeams out of their eyes or crush steel with their bare hands. That's why we have the Stats portion of our applications-- normally, we don't accept stats over a 3 in more than one section. Keep in mind that your character will have the opportunity to grow along the timeline of our RP, so it's often best to start slow-- remember, not everyone is going to know how to use their powers properly without regular training.

      04. Personality. Whether it's a requirement of the character sheet or not, always consider this carefully: what you decide to be your character's personality from the start should have an impact on how you play your character to the end. Things you should think about include:
      • How does my character act generally? How do they view life?
        How does my character act in bad situations? What makes them angry?
      • How does my character act in good situations? What makes them happy?
      • How does my character respond to unusual situations?
      • What upsets my character?
      05.History. Another important topic. As with anyone, what has happened in your character's past will have an impact on how they see life in the future. It often helps to write your history before the personality, to get some idea of how your character might have turned out. Also remember that a character without a history is an incredibly boring one, the more you put here the better you will understand your character from the beginning.

      Things to avoid:
      • Dead families/parents.
        Orphans are so overdone. The occasional one, yes - I'll give you that, they exist and so should be represented in the RP world. But, there is such thing as going overboard...
      • Overly tragic events that conflict with personality.

      Fair enough if you're writing a tragic past. But remember that whatever you write, has to be reflected in how your character manages day to day situations. You can't have a tragic past simply for sympathy calls every time you feel like writing something sad... it has to be there every time, always in the back of your mind when writing your character.

      06. Appearance. Ye gods, the RP world is swamped with supermodels and iron men! If you haven't got the gist of this guide by now, here it is: Characters. Are. Not. Perfect! Not every girl can be Barbie, and not every guy can be Ken. So write that. You'll find eventually that playing a character who is physically perfect is just as boring as playing a character who is perfect in personality.

      Some things to consider when writing appearance:
      • What weight is my character? Average? Underweight? Overweight? Be honest, ladies, even with regular work-outs we can't all have perfect measurements, and men, you know you're not all rippling pectorals and washboard abs even in the best shape of your lives. Teenagers especially-- teens are built awkwardly. Their bodies are growing and changing, and that should definitely reflect in how you describe your character.
      • How tall is my character (Be unusual.. or average. Do not be cliche and put 6 foot 2, eyes of blue...)
      • How pretty/handsome is my character? (Zomg! I'd LOVE to see plain Jane! Or someone really ugly)
      • Scars that don't mean anything... wonderful. Accident scars... brilliant.
      • Please keep in mind that while mutations offer an almost unlimited amount of freedom when creating the physical quirks of your character, remember that each one comes with a price. While having beautiful angel wings would be pretty and cool, there would be regular upkeep to keep them looking that way-- preening and molting would be issues, as well as finding clothing that would fit.

    With that in mind, have fun, and good luck with your original characters!
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