Meet Mary Sue and Gary Stu
Ever heard about the dreaded ‘Mary Sue’ or ‘Gary Stu’? They’re a character who’s seen as too perfect to be interesting or relatable: a poorly developed robot who’s basically a vision of what the author wishes they could be: special, beautiful, popular, accomplished. They are the worst characters to invite to your story: the ‘cookie-cutter’ people that are so cliché they make your story unbelievable and your readers struggle to engage. A good author knows every character needs a unique personality. Even your minor characters deserve more love than a Mary Sue can give. Here’s how to do it:
You need to know your character inside and out, that doesn’t mean that your reader has to. Details are important, but make them count. Unless it is important to the plot, what they’re wearing, what phone they have, and what they had for breakfast doesn’t matter.
Think about what really happens in life. Conversations take time, if you jump in the car say ‘Hi’ and then immediately pull into the school driveway, you’re timing isn’t realistic. You should also consider this if your character fights or falls. Let your character scrape knees and get marked, physically as well as mentally.