I have read the Twilight series, and I know that some accuse Stephenie Meyer of Mary Sueism/Wish Fulfillment. One of my biggest concerns is that the main character I've written, is too much like myself. We have an uncommon trait in common. Has anyone else felt that their characters are too similar to themselves?
Posts: 4 | Registered: Feb 2010
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Yes, but I do it on purpose. In other words, I put my character in a situation, and then make them think about/respond to/act in ways that I would.
I don't make them all perfect copies or cut outs of myself, rather, I try to identify elements of my attitude that I would do. So I use anger or pride or whatever in my bad guys, and curiousity or honor or whatever in my good guys... Once I have that core in place, the character begins to act on their own. If I write something that doesn't seem like what the character would do, it seems wrong, it seems "out of character." Of course, if I feel my character is too flat, that means I haven't made them unique enough, or haven't challenged them or hurt them enough.
This is the definition of a Mary Sue Character from wisegeek.com:
quote:A Mary Sue is a character in a work of fiction who exists primarily for the purpose of wish-fulfillment on the part of the author. She plays a prominent role in the work, but she is notably devoid of flaws or a complex personality, and she usually represents the pinnacle of idealized perfection. All of the other characters love Mary Sue, because she is extraordinarily helpful, talented, beautiful, or unusual, and she often drives readers absolutely crazy because she is one-dimensional and too idealized to be realistic. The male equivalent of a Mary Sue is a Gary Stu.
And here is a test to see if your character is a Mary Sue:
I put a little of myself into nearly everybody I write about. But none of them are me, in the sense that I'm one of the characters under a thin disguise.
I ran across a lot of this when I was writing Internet Fan Fiction...lots of people would write themselves into the stories and interact with the characters. I avoided that (well, except for one oddball fragment of a scene I never did anything else with), but had the feeling that I could lay seventy percent of my life and attitude over the life of the lead character. Then again, I bestowed some of my life experiences on the characters.
I liked doing that, actually. I'd been doing it before, a little. I kept at it after returning to regular writing. To this day, I'll have something that happened to me happen to a character---