Avoiding the Mary Sue; A Steampunk Feminist Perspective

I was halfway through a short story when I realised my protagonist was a Marty Stu. At least I had the sense to recognise a Marty when I reread my work. Pity I didn’t realise my mistake sooner.

Cogpunk Steamscribe

A Mary Sue character is a character too perfect to maintain verisimilitude with the audience. She (or he, the male version is the Marty Stu) is strikingly beautiful, talented in a multitude of unrelated skills, is always on the side of right, and lacks any real personality flaws – her ‘flaws’ tend to be disguised virtues. She is often the protagonist in amateur fanfic, as she is often an author avatar or proxy. She gets the dramatic back story, saves the day, and if she doesn’t have a heroic death then she wins the love of one of the main characters in the universe the fanfic is set in.

So, you suspect one of your characters might be a Mary Sue/Marty Stu … how do you go about recognising the type?

One Note:Is your character all ‘one note’ emotionally? Is she always brave and optimistic, always wins an argument, and never…

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