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Mary Sue Test

Via Spike, here's a test to see if a character in original fiction is a Mary Sue. I've given it the once over but haven't got around to actually doing the test on Kel, Jodoque and the likes. I think many of them will score higher on Mary-Sue-ism than Spike's characters, but hopefully not that high. I make an effort to spread it over many characters.

Update: I have now done the test for the core characters *):

Kel: 23 points. Still in the Not-Sue catagory despite being the most likely candidate. She's skilled at many things, but not that skilled, and lovable but not that lovable. Being half faerie, a musician and a witch put a few points on her though. And there are a few developments planned which will almost certainly raise her Sue level.

Jodoque: My most Sue-ish character, surprisingly, with 26 points. He got a huge skills penalty from being a fine stage performer (court jestering/illusionism/music/town criering), and another penalty from his heroic actions in the current storyline.

Tamlin: Tamlin netted only 6 points, making him an anti-Sue. He'd have got more from being a rogue, but his overweightness and his alcoholism took 9 points off his score. Barbarian Hero Tamlin would have got 15, possibly more.

Ragnarok: 15 points. She's Tamlin without the weight and drinking problems, but didn't run away from home. As a female bandit, she gets a slight penalty. Unusual hair doesn't count for much, lucky for her.

Atra: Only 6 points. She could have netted more in her younger days... Oh, wait! I forgot she was rejuvenated. That raises her score to 9, but doesn't restore her reputation, which was better before the soap-eating started. But her Sue points will probably increase in future storylines. She does have the guilt complex nailed, anyway.

Jake: 9 points. The lack of a hump counts as a flaw that doesn't affect his, uhm, beauty.

I'll do the test for other characters if someone asks me to. It's a lot of work, but I expect that there are minor characters who score higher. All those faeries get an automatic 10-point wings penalty, which allows for no exceptions. Any characters on the cast page will be fair game. In fact, you're welcome to do the scoring for your favorite character yourself!

A few notes on scoring, because I'm obsessively thorough about those things:

1. For any comic, the question "Do you draw the character, or ask other people to draw her/him for you? [2 points]" should be ignored, because it applies equally to every character.
2. In ROCR, the faeries' nudity is equivalent to wearing a clean pair of jeans and a sensible shirt in our world. However, skin paint means the answer to "Is the character a fashion plate (this applies to any style of dress, from preppie to goth to Western to Elvish, and so on)? [2 points]" should be "yes".
3. If your online nickname was based on a character for purposes of convenience, your character's name is not based on your online nickname, and does not count towards the Mary Sue quotient.

Another update: This is actually much more useful than I expected it to be. I was just thinking about how the villains would score in the test, and I was reminded of two things:

1) I really need to write me some real villains. I don't have enough of them;
2) Kel did in fact "reform" some "villains" in The Corby Tribe when it was her use of headology that made the Corbies drop their vendetta against Atra and anyone associated with her. So her score should be 26 points, equal to Jodoque's.

Currently, ROCR includes two characters I would consider truly villainous:

Wythllew: Now it gets interesting. Wythllew is accomplished for a Faerie who hasn't completed her Rite of Serfdom and passed through the Grimborg and gets smacked with a total of 12 points for being the writer of the Wythllewe Boke. In addition, the loss of her wings is a flaw that doesn't distract from her beauty, but she still gets the 10-point wings penalty. Plus she has m4d m4j1<kL 5k1llz. She loses 5 points for her truly loathsome, racist beliefs, and that is the one thing keeping her narrowly in Non-Sue territory with 29 points.

The Green Knight: 14 points. He scores high on the master/apprentice issue, and has quite a few magical abilities, but he loses 5 for his belief in noblesse and privilege. Mind you, maybe the question should have been re-phrased for villains. "If a villain, does she or he hold beliefs you find loathsome? add 5". In which case, the Green Knight would get 24 and Wythllew 39 points.

*)"Core" meaning "character who may or may not have showed up in the past two bloody years, natch.

Comments (1)

I said:
'Mind you, maybe the question should have been re-phrased for villains. "If a villain, does she or he hold beliefs you find loathsome? add 5".'

Scrap that, it's a bad idea. To be a Mary Sue villain, the character should still be a more dashing, more evil self-idealisation and should do his bad deeds on the basis of ideals that are similar to the creators. A villain with beliefs opposite to those of the creators ranks very high on the cliché meter, but that's not the same.


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