The making of a Story

This book contains all you need to know about writing the perfect book. Whether you are new to writing, or just want to improve your skills, this is the book for you! I have written this to inspired writers and help them into creating their own unique story world.

Feel free to used the process that I took, but don't steal ideas without asking! I hope it helps you if you are having trouble with your own writing!

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6. Mary-Sue Characters

Before we get into this section, its important we get to understand what exactly a 'Mary-Sue' character is. The male equivalent is a 'Marty-Stu', but both names are referring to the same term. It originated from the writing and criticism of fan fiction and fiction written by younger people, around the age group from 5-11 years old. A 'Mary-Sue' is a character that is too perfect or is a very cliché character, this can be a character based off of the writer themselves, but a much better version of themselves (e.g prettier, skinner). Mary-Sue characters often fall in love with the writers favourite characters, and is always perceived to be better than all the other characters in the book, regardless of whether they are important to the main plot or not. An example of a Mary-Sue character is called the 'Warrior!Sue'. The character is loud, a bit of a brat, and incredibly amazing at fighting - better than any of the characters have ever seen. With this type of Mary-Sue, she is often paired with a tragic backstory, forcing her into becoming a warrior. Whether or not a Sue character has been written in a good way or not, they still become very boring after a while and very predictable, it also only leaves a couple of routes for character development, meaning that we would also be able to predict this as well. 

How can we avoid writing these characters?

The best way to avoid creating a Sue character is by avoiding clichés and avoid creating the 'perfect' character. In the previous two parts, I have gone over a few ways of making characters more interesting, but here are some tips to avoid Mary-Sue characters.

Make your characters surprising 

This will help avoid falling into the cliché category. Basically, you need break the boundaries of expectations and make the character a little more surprising to give them the extra life that they need. A few quick examples: A nerdy professor who is a master at kickboxing. A knight who's afraid of water.

A character who is very quiet, could end up sticking up for one of the other characters who are perceived to be stronger in might and ability, demonstrating that even though they only possesses as much skill on the battlefield as the average person, they are extremely protective and has a slight cocky side to them. This character might not have been provoked to do this through a tragic past, but rather might have been jealousy of the other knights who are better at fighting than they are, or maybe a kind stranger who stood up for them some time in the past. None of this has to be about a tragic past.

AVOID FAVOURING CHARACTERS

This is an extremely important one. If you know that you favour a character more than another, you should be thinking about swapping that character out or changing them because they could possibly be a Sue character. You should love all of your characters equally. Another thing to avoid is to have your character fall in love with the person that you like the best or the one that you would choose - you need to think about the person that they would pick, and what kind of person they are looking for in a lover and that kind of personality traits would clash. 

I wouldn't recommend pairing two characters up just because you think their lover is attractive. You may think that two highly sarcastic characters would pair well together, but in reality they wouldn't. Ideally, you would need someone with a sense of humour and an understanding of this dry sense of humour, or someone who is used to it. Its also not a good idea to pair a rebellious or obnoxious character with a sarcastic character or someone who shares personality traits with them. This is the reason why Gale and Katniss from the Hunger Games by Susanne Collins did not work out as a couple, despite that fact the Gale openly expressed that he was in love with her.

Avoid creating characters who over-power their surrounding friends and allies

To avoid creating characters that become predictable, stray away from creating characters who are stronger than those who surround them, whether its the power of speech or might with a sword. Its much more entertaining to follow someone who is struggling but learning than someone who is already at the top of their game.

There could be a story following a man who has been given the task by the President to recite a speech on live television to millions and to a crowd of important political people from around the world to stop the events of World War Three, only for them man to then realise he suffers from Social Anxiety disorder and lacks the Public Speaking skills he needs to complete the job. This would be much more enjoyable to read then a story about a man who has always been the best in Public Speaking in school and has never been turned down from a job who would then take on this one important job, as it would make more sense for him to succeed and there would be less trouble on the journey, making the novel less eventful and less exciting to read.

Avoid creating 'The One'

I've briefly touched on this before, and its an important one. Its very common for writers who are first starting out (especially in the sci-fi/fantasy genres) to make their main protagonists 'The Chosen One'. What I mean by this is that the main protagonist is the only one who is able to complete this one task which is crucial for the survival of a large group of people. This is a very unrealistic concept, and will not be able to make readers able to relate to the main character very easily. Ways to avoid this is by having two or more people be the 'Chosen Ones'. The more realistic, the better. This is shown to work well in novels/movies such as the Divergent Trilogy (Veronica Roth) and the Mortal Instruments series (Cassandra Clare) . Another way you could avoid this is by having the main protagonist not be 'The Chosen One', but instead have them just be a regular person who ends up doing something spectacular out of chance, not because they were chosen for any big reason. This works well in novels/movies such as The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien).

For example, in a dystopian city, instead of having the main protagonist being the only one chosen because she has had the only mutated gene in 300 years to participate in a test, have a large sample of people go in for the test in place of that where the populace is numbered and everyone who has a number in divisible by 3 is chosen to participate. Your main protagonist can then be one of these people and it will be seem a lot more realistic. 

 

Here is a list of Mary-Sue types as provided by On Going Worlds

http://www.ongoingworlds.com/blog/2011/04/the-many-different-types-of-mary-sue/

 

Still not sure if your character is a Mary-Sue? 

Take this free, online Mary-Sue test on Katfeete.net

http://katfeete.net/writing/suestart.php

 

And here we are, saying 'see you later' to the character section of this book. Maybe I'll add more sections on character development in the future, but for now, this is what we've got! 

Now we've got the basic plot and the characters sorted, its time to start plotting down the timeline of the book.

If you have any questions or concerns about Mary-Sue characters, feel free to leave a comment or personal message, I'll do my best to help!

~Thank you for reading this part! Stay tuned for more!~

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