The Mary Sue Test… Test

Mary Sue tests confuse me. I usually take them for fun with a character or two and I usually pass. I mean, most things that annoy people about Mary Sues also annoy the shit out of me, and I avoid them like the plague, buuut… I don’t understand what criteria some of these test use to determine a Mary Sue.

One of the tests I took once asked if my character had a Katana for a weapon, which Crys originally did (although now I tweaked her weapon design a bit in my head to fix that and we don’t refer to it as a katana in the story because that term in Valcrest is fucking stupid lol), so she rated higher on her test at the time, despite the fact she had only actually used the sword twice and mostly hauled it around for sentimental reasons. However, to a lot of people, giving your character a katana means you want to make them a badass who can cut through tanks or some shit. A lot of the time they’d be right, but not ALWAYS.

Anyway, I decided to randomly Google a few of these tests and take them with the same character (Luckas) and see how consistent his result turn out. Let’s begin!

1. Simple Sue/Stu Test (Link)

You got: Not A Stu/Sue

Congrats. Your OC looks clear of Sue/Stu syndrome. Keep your OC happy and healthy~  

Yay! *mumbles* Not so sure about the happy and healthy part though >.>

2. Interactive Mary Sue Test (Link)

Your Score » 135  out of  156 Points

Correct Answers » 35 Questions

Incorrect Answers » 5 Questions

Your Score » 87%

On this crude self-assessment, it looks like this character is not likely to suffer from Mary Sue issues.

Nice! However, for this one, I’d like to look at my ‘incorrect answers:

At the start of the book, does this character know who his birth parents are?

A. Yes. (Correct Answer)

B. No. (Your Answer)

Feedback: It’s very cliche for a fantasy hero to find out that his parents were actually long-lost legends that he has to find. Or something like that.

Mkay. Well… Luckas got separated from his parents at age 3 or 4, how was he supposed to remember them? Besides, he’s far from a fantasy hero and his parents are the furthest thing from long-lost legends anyone could ever conjure. The nicer one of the two was a scam artist, thief, and possibly murderer at some point.

Is this character ever raped or tortured?

A. Yes. (Your Answer)

B. No. (Correct Answer)

Feedback: This is unusually angsty. Again, you may find it hard to work with a publisher that wants to deal with stuff like this.

Ugh. This is NOT played for angst. Far from me to ever do that. And to be honest, I marked this a ‘yes’, because I consider the Order’s ‘conditioning’ to count as torture. Although Sam will inevitably put Luckas through actual physical torture (and possibly do other things to him I don’t want to think too much about) later on. Also, I’d like to think the only way something like this can be written well is if people don’t avoid it like the plague because it’s either considered angsty or might trigger a reader. The only way to learn is if you try.

Does this character have a particularly traumatic backstory?  (For example, his parents were murdered or she was captured by slavers, etc.) 

A. Yes. (Your Answer)

B. No. (Correct Answer)

Feedback: This is similar to getting raped or abused. It’s a very angsty element that will drive readers away from the character.

Ugh. Fuck you and your angst. Are you saying that I have to keep my character from being a Mary Sue, but at the same time I can’t have ANYTHING horrible happen to him ever? I… Uh… How does that even work?

Funny thing about Luckas, though, is that he’s the farthest from angsty you’d ever see… He didn’t consider his current life bad, he gets confused when he reads Ess’ journal and sees her describe his smile as ‘sad’, he doesn’t feel sad or see himself as sad. To him, that’s just the norm. It isn’t until he starts to experience actual happiness that he looks back and realizes he had a pretty shit time out of life. And then he starts to experience fear that he might end up going back to that. So, he’s not angsty because, for the most part, he was oblivious to how unhappy he was. Now that I think about it, that’s not actually funny, it’s pretty fucking messed up.

Are this character’s parents/guardians abusive or otherwise nasty?

A. 
Yes. (Your Answer)

B. No. (Correct Answer)

Feedback: Abusive, nasty parents usually make the story feel angsty. Fan-fiction readers like that, but publishers and paying customers generally do not.

I don’t know why this test assumes I’m writing for a publisher or paying customer, but nonetheless… I was in doubt about this question only because I don’t know who to consider Luke’s ‘parents’. His mother was a neglectful abusive bitch, but he spent little time in her care. The Order can’t be considered ‘parents’ so forget that. The orphanage was pretty shit, but mostly because he and Matt freaked out the other kids and the caretakers didn’t know how to handle their abilities, it was sort of abusive, but what choice did they have? However, Luke did have Lena as an actual parental figure and she was more than great to him, even though he wouldn’t admit it. So I was confused on what to go by and ended up going with his birth parents. Yeeah… Whatever.

Does this character have problems with authority figures?  (For example: his parents, his bosses, the police, etc.)  

A. Yes. (Your Answer)

B. No. (Correct Answer)

Feedback: When a character has major problems with authority figures, I recommend that you try to make sure that he doesn’t come off as whiny and/or senselessly persecuted. It’s ok if the cops don’t treat him *fairly*, but make sure there’s a REASON they’re mistreating him. For example, in Rambo, the cops hated Rambo because they thought he was a trouble-maker who didn’t have a place in their town.

Luckas is practically a serial killer, it’s kind of mandatory that he has at least a few problems with authorities. Although being able to make people forget he exists kind of makes those problems minimal. >.>

As you can see, some questions in this test kind of treat some things as universal problems where I believe they definitely shouldn’t be. Especially the rape and child abuse thing. You’d never accuse a real life person who went through something like this of mentioning it out of angst, would you?

Nonetheless… The next two tests are actually ones I’ve taken before and think are the most accurate ones out there. Let’s see how Luke fares in them.

3. The Writer’s Mary Sue Test (Link)

This test comes with instructions on the first page, let’s read them:

1) Check all statements that apply. 
2) Answer honestly.
3) If you’re trying to convince yourself that something doesn’t really apply to your character, then it does. See #2. 
4) Do not flame me. I will point and laugh.

Fair enough. lol

Results:

Luckas is only a little like you. He may be popular, or he may not, but no matter what he’s impossible to ignore; he stands out… just the way you always wanted to [oh God, no, I HATE standing out… for fucks sake don’t look at  meee *hides* o.o]. He may have sometimes thought that he was special [maybe], or destined for greater things [definitely not!], but probably dismissed the idea as a fantasy. He’s come in for his share of hurt [not just his share to be honest], but gotten off with minor damage [Uh, I wouldn’t call it minor, exactly]. And he’s gotten no slack from you. 

In general, you care deeply about Luckas, but you’re smart enough to let him stand on his own, without burdening him with your personal fantasies or propping him up with idealization and over-dramatization. Luckas is a healthy character with a promising career ahead of him.

This is an okay test, and because it uses the character’s name, it actually made me laugh a lot throughout. Especially on questions on whether people find Luckas hot. Or if I find Luckas hot (I don’t, sorry, Lukey :P) I’m not sure even his Lady would call him ‘hot’, he’s a pipsqueak, lol.

4. The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test (Link)

This is a long test with different sections for original fiction, fan fiction, RPG/MMO characters, etc… I don’t know which to go by so I’ll answer Luke as both original fiction and RPG character. Because technically he is both.

Result:

Your Total Score is 23

That puts me in the range of…

22-29 Points

MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: Low-to-moderate chance your character is a Mary Sue.

There was a section, and this is a long test so I can’t exactly remember which anymore without reading it, that I marked A LOT of stuff.

Probably the ‘tragic backstory’ questions. It is Luckas after all. lol

What I do like about this test is the ‘De-suifier’ section. It actually takes away points for things like you character suffering permanent psychological damage from tragic events or having his actions backfire, most importantly it takes away points for doing research on your character’s traumatic experiences. Which I did A LOT for Luckas. I researched things like Stockholm Syndrome, PTSD, all types of borderline personality disorder, socio/psychopathy, sadistic/masochistic tendencies, haphephobia and spectrophobia, not to mention the long-term physical effects of being imprisoned in a dark moldy basement for several of your formative years (Luke would have been taller and had a much better tolerance to sunlight if he’d not been locked in a hole for six years. The only reason he wasn’t permanently messed up further was that the Order has pretty effective magical healers at their disposal). And no, guys, not ALL of these mental disorders apply to Luckas, I’m just saying I researched them in the process of fleshing him out. >.>

Overall, the Writer’s Mary Sue Test is pretty good and the Litmus test is the best Mary Sue test I’ve seen around so far. It actually takes into consideration the context of some things other than just deeming it wrong and it makes a huge point of saying right off the bat in its intro page (which you should read) that tests like these are not to be taken to heart in any way.

But they are pretty fun to do, though. 😛

Later guys!

B.B

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