Is Mary Sue a cliché

Clichés - justified or not ...




Isn't it wonderful to create your own characters or even to stage yourself? Isn't it wonderful to design your OCs the way you want?
From the detailed look to the different character shapes!
An infinite palette of colors and shapes to which every single artist or author has access. Basically the first level of every story.

Many take time for their OCs and by that I don't mean hours, but weeks or even months. They give their characters time to develop, to try out certain things ... to play a little with their imaginations. When you start to describe your OC, you also notice at some point that this or that doesn't suit her or him, but different character traits. Maybe you decided on a hair color at the beginning, but then you realize over time that your entire look doesn't match your character at all. But to find out everything you should take your time for your OC's and maybe write a few test texts first.

A common mistake that appears when creating an OC is that the character is suddenly overwhelmed with perfection. Perfectly styled hair, beautiful figure, eyes that shine like diamonds, an impeccable character.
Unfortunately, these so-called Mary Sues or the male form, Gary Stus, do not always go down well.
The designation Mary Sue itself, comes from a Star Trek fanfiction from 1974 that was published in a magazine. It was about a semi-volcano named Mary Sue.
Lieutenant Mary Sue was the actual protagonist of the Star Trek series (Say: Kirk, Spock, etc.) far more deliberate. At the end of the story, she saves the main characters and dies in a very dramatic way.
So, a Mary Sue is nothing more than a heavily embellished protagonist who attracts everyone's attention, be it with her appearance or with her constantly better ideas within a story. It stands out in a fan fiction, so that the actual protagonists of the story are pushed into the background.
A Mary Sue is also often the one who has a special relationship with the character that the author prefers. Be it in the sense of love or sexual. Often a Mary Sue / Gary Stu is also the author himself.




But so-called Mary Sues or Gary Stus can be prevented or even concealed in such a way that one no longer takes them for over-embellished protagonists. There are simple tricks for doing this and I want to show them using my own OC.

One of my OC's is Shiori Winter. A character that I am Attack on Titan The universe.
At first glance, Shiori is a Mary Sue. For those who know Attack on Titan -> Erwin Smith, Eren Jäger tells in the prologue about a girl who gave her life to save her comrades. So actually died under very dramatic circumstances.
But already here begins a small difference between a Mary Sue and one of a hundred soldiers who give their lives for others or just die. For those who know Attack on Titan, you know that. There people die outside the wall for or with their comrades, like flies on a mild summer night that have lost their way into a house and are rather undesirable.
So Shiori is only one of hundreds of soldiers who died for others and that takes her away from the Mary Sue cliché.
The girl appears in the first chapter and Mary Sue also drops by here, because Shiori has long, brown hair and is a very beautiful girl. At sixteen she is also very, very young and works in a typical female job. (For those who do not know AoT: The world is like time in the Middle Ages).
So looks Mary Sue.
The reader would probably think so, but he will rethink when he gets to know Shiori's character. She is not arrogant, but rather shy. Not bossy, rather subdued and above all clumsy and at certain moments naive and stupid.
So if the look of the OC seems perfect, it would be a good tip to make the character completely unexpected ... if not the opposite.
Over the course of the story, however, Shiori's appearance changes, which drastically changes the balance between look and character.
After the death of her father, she decides to become a soldier herself. Here is another Mary Sue looking out ... someone close to them dies, she wants revenge. But I didn't let Mary Sue appear in the first place, because Shiori is filled with zest for action, but she doesn't think that far.
She decides to dress up as a man, (Here is a little reference to Mulan)because she firmly believes that as a man you can go further in this hierarchy than a woman. But she doesn't think about what could happen if she was caught out as a woman. Here the clumsy looks a little out of her.
Just like in training. Since Shiori suffers from an incurable disease (Here is a Mary Sue reference) she is not the best among the soldiers (Mary Sue reference is destroyed).
At later times she also meets the protagonists of the AoT universe, but I never, under any circumstances, let Shiori be the one who is more thoughtful or the one who can do everything right away.
She also falls in love with an AoT protagonist, but initially he has completely different interests as far as she is concerned. Shiori is weak in the beginning, but she gets stronger, grows and learns like a person in the real world.
Everyone has flaws ... if the look is right, then it's the character that suffers. And if the character is kind-hearted, then the appearance is different.
Shiori's gorgeous hair also disappears when she cuts it to run around as a boy.
Well, there are always and everywhere flaws ... but they are not bad. On the contrary, that makes an OC likeable. An OC that is not perfect is better received by readers and they can also identify better with the character. Let your character learn throughout the story.
A werewolf has his instincts, but serving him up as perfect from the start is boring. Let him learn.


Conclusion: Take your time creating an OC. Make your OC's sympathetic and you will see that the readers will love your own creation and will be excited about the story. Think about the pros and cons, don't hesitate to ask someone's advice and take criticism as positively as possible.
You can also design different OCs with the same name and create a survey. Who likes this or this character better? The more human an OC is in character, the more pleasant it is.

I am available for further questions.

What should we do next, my dear readers?