The Instant Mary-Sue Test
The Instant Mary-Sue Test
Are you writing a fan fiction? Worried about your character? Have you got that horrible feeling she might be (gasp!) a… a… a Mary-Sue!?
No need to worry! This impartial test will tell you instantly if you’ve gone horribly wrong with your character. All you need to do is answer the following questions. But be honest! Lying to the Test (and yourself) will only lead you down the narrow path towards FLAMES! And you cannot answer “Yes, but…” There’s no but in this test. You might be able to fool yourself, but there’s no excuse good enough to fool your readers!
1) Is your character incredibly beautiful?
2) Even more beautiful than Lúthien?
3) Does she have unusual hair/eye colour?
4) Do you use more than 2 sentences to describe her appearance?
5) Does she have a beautiful and/or unusual name?
6) Do you wish that was your real name, or is that also your Elvish name?
7) Is she an Elf, or a half-Elf? Actually, is she half-something?
8) Is she related to someone important in Middle-Earth, like Elrond or Galadriel?
9) Has she been transported to Middle-Earth from the modern world?
10) Does one of Tolkien’s characters fall hopelessly in love with her?
11) Is she in love with one of Tolkien’s characters?
12) Is this also your favourite Tolkien’s character?
13) Is it Legolas?
14) Does she have a dark and mysterious past?
15) Does that trouble her?
16) Does that trouble her so much other characters have to spend valuable time comforting her?
17) Is she a skilled warrior?
18) Is she actually one of the best warriors in Middle Earth?
19) Can she actually pretty much defeat anyone? Even Sauron, if she really wanted to?
20) Does she also have magical skills?
21) Does she have the gift of foresight? Or does she get strange vibes? Does she see dead people?
22) Does she own a special weapon that was given to her by someone important to her?
23) Does she own any special jewellery given to her by someone important to her?
24) Can she talk to animals?
25) Do animals only obey her, and no-one else?
26) Does she have an unusual pet, like a unicorn?
27) Can she turn into an animal, possibly a unicorn?
28) Is she clever, or very wise?
29) Is she wiser than Gandalf and Elrond put together?
30) Does she actually know everything?
31) Is she a skilled healer?
32) Despite all this, does she get injured/captured?
33) Does she actually get injured/captured frequently?
34) Does your favourite Tolkien’s character save/heal her?
If you answered “yes” to…
Congratulations, you deserve a medal! There’s nothing Mary-Sue-like in your character. Keep up the good work!
Hmm… not too bad. You may need to reconsider some aspects of your character, but in general she seems harmless enough.
It’s getting warmer! Unless you want the FLAMES to lick higher, I suggest you make some major changes to your character. At least get rid of the unicorn.
This is serious. You must do something about your character immediately! As it is, she’s unrealistic and highly annoying. Give her some flaws and make her less perfect, and she might still have a chance.
Oh my God! Kill her now, and the readers might still survive your story without having to gnaw their own leg off! However, if you decide to keep her, she WILL BURN IN FLAMES.
Over 25 questions:
Congratulations, you’ve managed to build the prototype of Mary-Sue! Your story is without any doubt unpublishable, but don’t delete it: the novelty value is so big some collectors might pay you good money to get it into their secret archive!
Did you get bad results? Don’t be upset! This article will help you to get under the surface of Mary-Sue, and perhaps understand what the problem in your story is.
The Original Mary-Sue Litmus Test by Melissa “Merlin Missy” Wilson, Copyright 1997, 2003.