Home > Writing Tips > Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu

Villain-sues are usually worse than Mary-Sues because it's often impossible to figure out how they even came to power. There's nothing more frustrating than an OC "replacing" the regular villain in a fic with no discernable reason, or worse, with a reason that is contrived. And frankly, some people just don't have it in them to properly convey a villain. Many writers are so focused on their hero that they simply can't write a compelling villain, or worse, they have to -Sue them to do it.

If you're into the House fandom, for example, I would call Edward Vogler a villain-sue. His only motivation seems to be being a greedy sadistic [expletive deleted]. He's not just a stock character, he's an insult to the archetype he betrays. Now maybe I just dislike the guy (and I personally like to see Lisa Cuddy or House's ex as the villain, although that has to do with my feminism) but...
Ok... regarding the whole "replacing" issue, what if the villain has an issue with both the hero and canon villain?

I have an OC called Yenma, who is a boy who was killed by Inuyasha's Naraku so that he could be the smart leader of a planned legion of poisoned, resurrected, mindless and extremely powerful undead.

However, he manages to escape. He's then nursed by some cat demons and develops a love interest called Kakuyu, a girl who usually takes care of him and says can "smell maggots" in his head (which strangely she finds attractive...).

However, he soon discovers ways Naraku was gonna give him power: a miasma that emerges from his body that both kills demons and resurrects dead people to do his bidding.

With a promise involving returning a bow to Kakuyu in one piece under his belt, he departs and goes on a spree of massacres that make him conflict with Inuyasha and friends, his rise to great power through his 100,000-strong undead legion, and his meteoritic fall and death at Naraku's hands, all in a period of a few months.

After he dies, the remaining undead are miraculously revived, and Naraku manages to escape but heavily injured and frightened...

What do you think? Is he Sue-ish or ok? Tell me what parts of the story are Sue-ish so I can correct them (however, before you ask, I will not be eliminating Kakuyu from the story, nor will I be nullifying the element of romance in the story).

God bless,
Gabi Texi
I'd give you a more detailed version of the story... but first, I have to know how old you are, because it's really graphic and rather longer than this one.
The part about your character's interest and his "rise" are particularly suish. Frankly, the only way you could make that character not sueish is to give him the same emphasis as any other of Naraku's demonic buddies. And I don't mean like Hakudoshi, Kanna, or Kagura. I mean like Princess Abi. He just reeks of Sue... but then again, most Inuyasha characters do.

As for the "graphic version"... if the profile wasn't a clue, I'm quite an adult. In fact, I just turned 20 over Christmas Break. I don't act it, certainly, not witih my fandoms, but I am older and I am OK with violence, if I feel it serves a purpose in the story.

Still, I don't think I need to see any more on your Inuyasha character. And even if I did, here wouldn't be the place because so many young kids go to Ficwad.
Well, I understand what you mean by trying to put him into one of Naraku's cronies' context. However, I have to ask: how will that make him unique?

Also, like I said, I won't do a thing about his interest. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but haven't because I haven't gotten any guts for it (mostly because of FMS, or fear of a Mary Sue).

As for the "rise", I'll just not use that word. :D I think it's reasonable the way he rose, since at first he didn't want it, but his avarice (as would any human being's) overtook him, and soon revenge controlled his thoughts.

As for the violence, it's supposed to serve as shock value for a very important moral: see, Yenma is a bit more vicious than most demons, and it serves to say that sometimes humans are more inhumane than even the evilest demons, hence where Inuyasha would only slash at him, Yenma would try to rip one of his arms off, or bite at him in his rage. Understand?

Anyway, I wanna thank you. That's some good concrit. I got enough info to get on that story. I even have a title: "Staring Through The Eyes of the Dead".

Anyway, thanks a lot, brahs!

God bless,

P.S: marson, I tried that test thingy, and Yenma got an 8!! blows air horn

P.S.S: JesusKetchum, your profile DOES give off your 20-something. Thanks for the concrit!
There, I posted it!
It seems I'm a little late due to college move chaos... but the point would be not to make your character particularly "unique," at least not in a tangible, literal way. Instead, you should be trying to create a psychologically interesting character, one the audience can explore... without taking emphasis off the dynamic of Inuyasha's group. That quick glance of the mind of a villain is much more compelling than making him the hero, provided that villain is more than just your standard consumed-by-power jerk. Personally, I would go for the feeling that the fic is a darker, more violent Inu Yasha episode in terms of structure.

And Mary Sue litmus tests are not as great as people say they are. I've known many great characters who've scored high on them (My friend Chaoscheeb's OC Saffron, for example) and some Sues who score low. The litmust tests, for most part, identify tangible/objective hallmarks of Mary sues, traits that are often given to make a sue "unique" or on par with/above canon characters. If you're writing a structurally unconventional character (a villain) or an unconventional fandom, the litmus tests are worthless. Even if you are writing a normal character, a sue is not defined by her outward features; it is the emphasis placed on her and the way her personality is handled both in and out of story that makes her a sue. Replace pronouns and add Ts as necessary.

As for your finished product... I don't have time to look now, but I'm going to bookmark it for later.
Ok! Party! Bonus! Hope you do ok on college, brah. Anyway, I'm having some doubts after you said your last comment.

Yenma is a typical teen: he's a slacker, has a crush, parents, and a happy life. However, after he's revived, that's where his psychological profile really begins to show: mass psychosis, ante-mortem pessimism, racism against humanity.

However, I'm worried whether people will think of him as a "consumed-by-power jerk" as you said. Remember, most of my audience won't be structured, experienced authors, but rather rabid, physically motivated fanboys/girls and vicious, raving-and-drooling critics.

I'm worried about whether they'll just ignore the psychological status and just focus on the physical (e.g "I'm dying to read what he looks like!!! ;D") or, even worse, having to squeeze in some dumb eating disorder...

"I would go for the feeling that the fic is a darker, more violent Inu Yasha episode in terms of structure."

That's the target I'm aiming for!

As for the litmus tests, I understand that they're not exactly good for you... but they're kinda damn fun to do.

Anyway, God bless,
Thanks for the well-wishing. I need it this semester; I've got a heavy workload and a science lab class that involves glass, sharp things, and fire. @_@

Anyway... It isn't that litmus tests aren't that good... it's that they're a different kind of good than is necessarily useful. Sometimes it is important to mind the tangible details, and often the tangible details are the result of the less tangible issues. An ameteur writer wants to place a lot of emphasis on a character, so to justify that emphasis, they make the character physically important in the series. This is really common in SF/Fantasy where physical or power-related traits often form the basis of the canon characters' importance. The physical features of the sue are an outward, objective sign of something more objective--the attempt to make the sue the center of attention. The authors rarely attempt to do this by using character psychology as the reason for a character's emphasis, because the concept is foreign to them, becuase they're incapable of thinking outside of the tangible aspects of the story. No shame there, just a stage in one's development as a writer.

I find litmus tests useful, but I do not find them definitive. A character can be a mary sue without any of the outward hallmarks, and a cahracter can be an acceptable character with all the markings of a sue. It's a bit like screening for a sore throat--a sore throat can and often does indicate strep throat, but there are a myriad of other possible causes, including other contagious illnesses, dehydration, and even allergies. A high litmus test score means you need to consider the character more carefully, investigate more, but it cannot tell you for sure if a character is a sue or not.

Note to self: No more posting on ficwad after doing Ed Psych readings.
Hey, speaking of Mary Sues, there's this girl called Tara Gilesbie, or "XXXbloodyrists666XXX" in FanFiction.net who everyone's been absolutely RAVING about, her story and character, Ebony.

Apparently, she, her character, and her story are one of the most blatant and humongous landmarks of Mary Sue in the whole of the internet.

I read her story, "My Immortal" myself... and... um... I kinda have to agree with them, not fully, but kinda.

Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way, Tara's character, is a goth girl living in Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. According to Tara, she has long black hair that ends in red tips, icy blue eyes, full lips, and wears Hot Topic clothes. She is a "vampire", but her teeth are normal and straight. She seems to be in a love triangle with Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, since both are in love with her... but are also in love with each other.

She seems to angst a lot over her beauty, and the fact she's a vampire. She cuts her wrists frequently, and is rather violent when confronted.

I can see how they would identify this character as a Mary Sue, but the whole thing is kinda fishy... you see, Tara has several forums, and she has since stopped posting on them. People are researching her and her story like she was a subject in a college curriculum class. To be quite honest, a lot of them are really nasty about the whole thing.

I sent her a sincere letter, since this whole thing looks like a scheme of hers, asking her whether what she was doing was for real.

Sadly, she hasn't written back. What do you guys think? Is she for real, or what?

Also, what do you think about the character? Is it too much of a Sue or what?