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The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test
READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST AND READ THEM CAREFULLY - MISUSE OF THIS TEST WILL CAUSE INACCURATE RESULTS!
How to use this test:
First, if you're unsure of what a Mary Sue is, please read this page.
Answer all questions for which the answer is 'yes' or 'technically yes' unless the item mentioned is commonplace in the universe you are writing for. If it's established that anyone can have technicolor hair (as in many anime shows) pink coifs don't apply as "unusually" colored hair. If your character had an exotic name because you make up most of your characters' names, you would not answer yes to having an unusual-sounding name that you made up. Sue-ness is relative. ;)
If your character is a role-playing character and the only reason you can answer 'yes' is because of other players acting of their own free wills (IE, everyone has their characters throwing themselves at your character's feet and you've done nothing to force this) do not answer yes to the corresponding question.
Make sure that you answer the questions properly depending on what type of universe your character is in:
Fanfiction - a story set in a world you didn't make up.
Original Fiction - a story set in a world you created yourself.
MMO/RPG - Role-Playing Game/MMORPGs.
If you see a question that looks like it's been linked, rest your cursor over it - it contains a tool tip, which should contain further information on the subject.
Also, this test is divided into five sections to help prevent confusion and speed up the testing process:
Part 1 - All Characters
Questions that pertain to all characters everywhere.
Part 2 - Original Fiction Characters
Questions for original fiction characters only.
Part 3 - Fan Characters & Newcomers
Questions for fan characters (RPG and fiction) and characters you may be planning to add to an original fiction universe you've already established.
Part 4 - RPG Characters
You guessed it - questions for role-playing characters and MMORPG-based characters.
Part 5 - De-Suifiers
Please, please, please remember that just because something is on the test does not mean that it's supposed to be inherently bad and avoided at all costs. Think of them as being like salt or spices - they serve to enhance the dish when used in the right amounts, but when used too liberally, the result tends to be quite unappetizing. Again, INDIVIDUAL ITEMS DO NOT MAKE THE MARY SUE. THE INDIVIDUAL ITEMS ARE NOT BAD. MOST GOOD CHARACTERS HAVE AND SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST SOME OF THEM.
Questions that subtract from the final score.
While it is true that some writers are skilled enough to pull off characters that fall into the 'Sue category, do not assume that you are one of them. I've seen plenty of Sue-authors fall into this trap. Instead, go out and get feedback from people more experienced in reading/writing, preferably adults. Not teenagers. Adults.
Furthermore, this test has never been nor probably will be perfect. At best, I can only offer it as a guide, not an instruction manual.
And for those who wonder about it - I use the gender-neutral terms "xe," "xir", and "xirself" because A: it's shorter than typing out "he/she" etc. all the time, and B: there are plenty of characters, particularly within the SF supergenre, who are neither male or female.
Part 1 - All Characters
This area applies to RPG characters, fanfiction characters, and original fiction characters.
- Is/does your character's name:
- Your name, variation of your name, nickname, screenname, or any name that has been applied to you? (Spelling it differently or changing it a little counts.) Fic: RPG:
- A name you planned on giving one of your children?
- Is your character's name taken deliberately from a character from another fandom that you like?
- Does your character have an unusual or exotic name (EG, a name related to nature or something mystical, a strangely-spelled name, or a name from a culture your character doesn't belong to) chosen primarily because it sounded exotic, extra-pretty, or to make your character "stand out" more?
- Is your character's name not merely mildly unusual (EG, a child of hippie parents being named Skye or River), but very unusual for your character's place and situation? (EG, a Medieval English princess named Sakura or Ravynne.)
- (Having trouble finding names for your characters? Try the random name generators - link opens in a new window.)
- Did you deliberately base your character's looks on your own?
- Does your character look how you wish you looked?
- Is your character described, illustrated, and/or depicted as looking especially beautiful, handsome, or cute with little to no effort?
- Does anyone become distracted or enraptured by your character's looks?
- Does anyone fight or squabble over your character because of xir looks?
- Is anyone (including you) jealous of your character's good looks?
- Do any characters see xir attractiveness as a threat?
- Does anyone want to adopt your character, or wish that your character was their own offspring?
- Does anyone tell your character how cute/beautiful/handsome xe is, or refer to your character as such when talking about or to your character?
- Even characters who don't especially like your character, or consider your character a rival or enemy?
- Does your character modestly deny it every time or refuses to believe that xe is attractive?
- Does your character have a great body/physique, which you describe, show, and/or illustrate in detail?
- Despite the fact that xir eating and/or exercising habits decree that xe should be under or overweight, or lack most of those gorgeous manly muscles?
- Does your character weigh so little that xe could be (or is) mistaken for anorexic, but isn't - and it's meant/taken as a compliment?
- Is your character strong enough to wield a huge weapon like a warhammer, giant gun, or huge sword, yet has a waifish figure instead of 'unattractive' bulging muscles?
- Do you use poetic and/or creative terms to describe your character, but virtually no one else (aside from your character's love interest, perhaps)?
- Do you frequently describe your character's beautiful/handsome/cute attributes or point out how sexy your character is?
- Conversely, do you go to great lengths describing how your character is not gorgeous?
- Does your character explicitly look like or strongly resemble an attractive real-life celebrity in-story? (Faceclaims don't count unless it's highlighted how your character looks like that celebrity in-story.)
- Do other characters find your character extremely attractive and desirable, even when xe should be completely gross and icky (EG, after battling, getting tortured, going for days without bathing or washing), and they don't have a kink for that kind of thing?
- Does your character have any of the following?
- Natural eye coloration not normally found in xir race/species? (Note: Alexandria's Genesis is not real.)
- Eyes with any other unusual qualities?
- Natural hair color not normally found in xir race/species?
- Unusual feature of any other kind? (Particularly unusual/exotic birthmark, tattoo, blood color, etc.) One box for each:
- Does your character have a particularly attractive scent that doesn't come from xir perfume, cologne, or shampoo?
- Does your character have a scar or other small "flaw" that is noticed by someone, but does not actually detract from your character's appearance from your point of view?
- Has your character been in a lot of physical fights and/or battles, but doesn't have many noticeable scars to show for it? (Do not click if healing technology or magic is readily available that allows for healing without scars.)
- Does your character have a particularly piercing (EG, "can stare straight into your soul"), haunting, captivating, or dazzling gaze?
- Do you describe your character's outfits in full detail, even when the details have no bearing on the plot?
- Does your character's personal choice of clothing frequently include:
- Clothing that you deliberately picked from your own wardrobe?
- Clothing you chose because you really wished you owned it or could get away with wearing it in public?
- Clothing you chose because it makes your character look super sexy and/or badass?
- Clothing that is realistically impractical, improper, or inappropriate for the character's situation, but looks cool? (Ignore if your character's choice in clothing ends up backfiring - eg, midriff-revealing armor results in a serious injury, or a high heeled shoe breaks and results in a sprained ankle.)
- Is your character impervious to any of the normal limitations and/or weaknesses of xir species?
- Does your character belong to an exotic or unusual race or species with powers/abilities beyond human (or whatever the "normal"/most commonly shown species/race in the story is) ability? (If your character belongs to a race you made up, consider taking the Mary Sue Race Test.)
- Is your character a cross-breed/hybrid of any kind?
- In a universe where hybrids of this type are virtually unheard of or are completely unprecedented?
- A hybrid of more than two species?
- Does xe possess the strengths of both or all species, but none of the weaknesses?
- Or does your character have all of the weaknesses, but none of the strengths? - Minus 4!
- Is your character part something that has features that might be considered unattractive or unappealing by human standards, but the only features your character inherited do nothing to detract from xir appearance, or even enhance it?
- If not a cross-breed, then is your character cross-cultural because you believe it makes your character more "interesting" or "exotic?" (Note that making the character cross-cultural for the sole sake of exoticism is generally frowned upon. Please see What Is Cultural Appropriation, Anyway? for more information. Link opens in new window.)
- Is your character a species that typically has an appearance or exhibits behaviors that you and/or most people in real-life would find unattractive or unappealing, but your character looks or acts more human for some reason?
- Does your character become a genetically, scientifically, cybernetically, or magically altered/enhanced being, possibly with new powers?
- Is xe happier this way?
- Do people like xir better this way?
- Do you wish it would happen to you?
- Do you think of your character as a role model?
- Does your character voice political, social, and/or religious opinions or beliefs which you share?
- Does xe convince others that xir way of thinking is right?
- Is spreading these views one of your character's biggest motivations, or even xir sole motivation?
- If religious, does your character explicitly have divine support or assistance in gaining converts and/or confronting nonbelievers?
- Do characters who disagree with your character's views/beliefs simply do so out of spite, stubbornness, and/or ignorance?
- Does anyone who doesn't adopt your character's ideals by the end of the story end up beaten up, humiliated, miserable, and/or dead?
- Does your character express unusually free, enlightened, or "liberated" views on topics such as sex and equality for xir time/place?
- And does no one frown upon your character's behaviors or views?
- Or do only characters who don't matter disapprove, EG, the villain, the "village idiot," fusty old grandpa, etc?
- Does your character openly call anyone else incapable, incompetent, foolish, etc., but the character or characters referred to as such don't find your character's behavior insulting, hurtful, rude, belittling, condescending, or insubordinate and behave accordingly?
- Do all of the insulted character's friends fail to get angry at your character's behavior, despite knowing their friend was insulted?
- Or if any of the character's friends do get angry, is their anger shown as completely unjustified?
- Is the insulted person the type of person who'd never let that kind of behavior slide with anyone else?
- If your character has a short temper, sharp wit, snarky attitude, or is otherwise prone to verbal assaults, are the tongue-lashings and/or snarkings xe gives other characters always deserved and/or justified?
- If your character is openly defiant or disrespectful toward authority figures, is your character always justified and in the right?
- Are any other actions that get your character into trouble with authority always justified from your point of view?
- Do authority figures punish your character more harshly than they would have punished xir peers under the same circumstances?
- Do authority figures not punish your character when they probably would have punished xir peers under the same circumstances?
- Is your character easily provoked to violence - but only gets into fights with characters who truly deserve the beating they get?
- Are The Rules of the universe bent or broken for your character? (Like joining a group despite being too old or too young.) (Do not click if the rules catch up to your character and xe does not find a way to permanently cheat or circumvent them.)
- Does your character have any psychological disorders or conditions for the following reasons?
- Any mental condition or psychological disorder that is used in such a way to completely absolve or excuse your character acting in cruel, inconsiderate, injurious, or hurtful ways so nobody (including the audience) supposedly has any legitimate right to feel angry or hurt over what happened, and no real effort is ever made to prevent the character from doing the same thing again?
- Any mental condition or psychological disorder that is used to excuse or explain the character acting out and doing "cool" or "edgy" things you think would be fun/awesome or fantasize about doing?
- Is your character mainly driven by completely-justified revenge?
- Was your character an important and/or famous person in a past life?
- Are animals instinctively attracted to your character?
- How many animal companions does your character keep? (Ordinary, non-magical pets like cats and dogs - or any pet considered ordinary within the canon, such as non-legendary Pokemon in a Pokemon story or an owl in Harry Potter do not count.)
- Is said animal a wolf, bird of prey, big cat, or mythical creature?
- Does your character habitually share profound wisdom and knowledge?
- Does your character always have money to spend on extravagant frivolities or whatever xe really wants or needs at the time?
- For no apparent reason? (EG, your character never works or gives any clue to any source of income.)
- Does anyone quickly and readily bestow gifts, goodies, and luxuries upon your character that aren't mandated by local norms of etiquette, or if they are mandated by norms of etiquette, are much nicer or more extravagant than considered necessary?
- Are any of the gifts items that have personal significance or sentimental value to whoever gives them to your character, and the gifter/gifters have only known your character for a short time?
- If your character is gifted with some kind of high-quality and/or high-powered weapon or item, is it given without your character first having shown that xe is capable of using it effectively and responsibly?
- Are the gifts things that it would not be in the best interest of the gifter to give away?
- Do any of the characters doing the giving rarely, if ever just give nice or fancy things to other people?
- Did you choose your character's occupation and/or hobbies because you think they sound neat, glamorous, prestigious, or exciting?
- Does your character share your favorite types of movies, music, clothes, hobbies, etc? (Having trouble of thinking of hobbies/interests for your character? Try the Character Interests Generator. Link opens in new window.)
- Even though your character belongs to a different race/species/group that has its own culture and entertainment already, or normally doesn't care for that type of thing at all? (EG, a Homestuck troll who is into fashion or J-Pop.)
- Is your character some sort of genius or prodigy, and/or is unusually accomplished for xir age, time period, place, occupation, and/or social status?
- In something that is extremely desirable and/or useful in the story's universe?
- In something that is extremely difficult for virtually anyone to achieve?
- Is your character unusually accomplished or gifted in more than one area?
- Does your character pick up new skills and/or gain ranks unusually fast during the course of the story?
- To the point where xe learns skills that usually take years to master in a matter of months or less?
- Is your character simply the best or among the best among xir peer group? One box for each:
- Is xe famous/renowned for any of these?
- Are other characters extremely impressed or astonished at your character's skills and/or virtues? (Does not count if they are easily impressed due to their own inexperience.)
- Do they impress even the most cynical, jaded, exacting, and/or experienced?
- Does your character modestly dismiss or deflect well-earned compliments?
- Does your character have Barbie Doll syndrome?
- Ah, the sound of music! Does your character:
- Have an exceptionally good singing voice?
- Play a musical instrument very well?
- Is this instrument a guitar, harp, or flute?
- Can xe charm others with xir musical talent?
- Does your character have any sort of power or ability that is unprecedented or unheard of among the people your character usually associates with? (If the ability is spoken of in old legends or unsubstantiated rumors, it still counts.)
- Does your character have no enemies or opponents with any real ability to genuinely match, rival, or defend against your character's power/ability somehow?
- Does your character have the ability to save others from mortal injury and/or death?
- Does your character have special abilities that can allow xir to...
- Read almost anyone's thoughts and/or memories instantly and with ease, with few to no limitations or chances of backfiring?
- Easily control another person, with little to no possibility of resistance from the target?
- See or "just know" things without actually being there, with few to no limitations, chances of backfiring, or possibility of being blocked or discovered?
- Easily "purify" or "cleanse" someone of long-running anger, hate, selfishness, "evil," "darkness," etc. that came about naturally - IE, through poor choices, bad influences, and embittering experiences, rather than magically or mystically?
- Does your character have a telepathic/empathic connection or the ability to communicate with any kind of animal?
- Anything such as horses, wolves, big cats, or mythical creatures? - Bonded creatures do not count, so long as this is within a universe where this is perfectly normal and it is your character's one and only bonded creature.
- Does your character have the ability to shapeshift?
- Into multiple forms?
- And can xe use these forms perfectly at first go without any practice or study whatsoever?
- Does your character possess power that can take out entire cities/legions of soldiers/general all-around-evil?
- Does your character end up in a tight spot and discover that xe has really cool, yet completely unforeshadowed powers that were dormant and/or unknown before? (Does not count if this is used as a device to set up the story.)
- Does your character have any other relatively unique special powers/abilities that come in handy?
- Not counting xir first language, how many languages does your character fluently speak? Click one box for every language:
- Does your character succeed at virtually everything xe tries?
- Do the first plans, strategies, ideas, etc. your character comes up with always (or nearly always) work?
- But only after everyone else dismisses it and tries everything else first?
- If/when your character does make any major mistakes, are they quickly and easily forgiven with no real consequences for the character?
- Did these mistakes ever result in important property or items being seriously endangered, damaged, or destroyed?
- Did these mistakes ever result in people being seriously endangered or injured?
- Did these mistakes ever result in anyone dying?
- Does your character ever single-handedly take out more armed forces (EG, security guards, soldiers) than you can count on one hand using xir awesome kickass skills in one go?
- Is anyone envious of your character's talents and/or abilities?
- Because xe beats them at their own game/games?
- Does your character alone use a weapon that:
- Is famous or legendary before the character acquires it?
- Was given by some kind of spirit/magical being?
- Is magical?
- Is unusually ornate?
- Is from a different culture or country than your character?
- Do you often mention how special/significant this weapon is?
- Does your character use a bladed weapon in a relatively modern setting for no logical reason?
- Does your character just always happen to have on hand (or in pockets or boots) whatever tools, gadgets, or weapons are needed to get xir out of most scrapes at any given time?
- Does your character possess a one-of-a-kind trinket or piece of jewelry that is magical and/or has some special significance?
- Does this trinket protect your character from some weakness?
- Does your character have unfairly restrictive parents/guardians/overseers?
- And does this fact have little to no impact on the main plot or your character's behavior, but simply serves to give your character something to complain or angst about?
- Or do your character's parents/guardians/overseers let xir do whatever xe wants and never really get in the way or ask too many questions?
- Is your character nobility, royalty, or of an equivalent high status (eg, governor, president, chieftain)? (Ignore if this is because the story focuses on royal/noble (or equivalent) types.)
- In ANY type of story, if your character is the main character:
- Does your character discover that xe is of royal/noble (or equivalent) status at some point in the story?
- Or is your character adopted by someone who is royal/noble (or equivalent)?
- Does either result in your character becoming next in line for the throne or in line to inherit an estate?
- Is your character extremely popular or positively renowned where xe comes from or frequents?
- Is your character undeservingly despised and/or outcast by most people?
- Because your character is unusually talented/attractive/rich?
- Because of xir skills or special powers?
- Does something happen during the course of the story that makes the majority of characters genuinely sorry for mistreating your character?
- Is your character some kind of 'chosen one' and/or a major part of a prophecy?
- Does the prophecy involve saving the world/realm?
- Does the prophecy involve becoming a great leader?
- Does your character consider xir talents, special abilities, or good looks to be a curse? (A few moments or an episode of wishful/speculative thinking don't count; it must be a constant or near-constant thing.)
- Does your character manage to form a bond with a villain, and through this bond cause the villain to reform?
- Does the villain revert back to his old ways, but retains some bit of goodness, caused by your character committing a selfless act of some kind?
- Concerning your character's friends and acquaintances...
- Is your character liked by nearly everyone xe meets?
- Do most or all of your character's friends and buddies lead glamorous, exciting, and/or interesting or highly dramatic lives?
- Are most or all of your character's friends and buddies highly attractive by conventional standards?
- When your character makes new friends, do they care about your character as much as or even more than they care for friends they've had longer after knowing your character for only a short time? (EG, a few days or weeks.)
- Would any of them die for your character? (Unless we're talking about people who'd die for just about any random person or casual acquaintance.)
- Even characters that are not known for their friendly, outgoing attitudes?
- Does any character who is normally portrayed as being cold, callous, or even cruel to others treat your character with warmth and kindness?
- Do characters who criticize or don't like your character from the start like xir by the end, or at least have a grudging respect?
- And/or does anyone who criticizes or doesn't like your character end up getting beaten up, humiliated, miserable, and/or dead?
- Are most (if not all) characters who don't like your character merely mean, shallow, spiteful, judgmental, and/or jealous of xir?
- Do other characters often quickly and readily put their own responsibilities, dreams, and even lives on hold in order to help out your character, and/or quickly and readily engage in illegal or activity to help your character?
- Even when there are innocent people who would or could be hurt by the other character's "selfless" actions?
- Is anyone who doesn't do this treated or shown as being unfairly selfish and heartless?
- If/when your character gets into a romantic relationship with someone...
- Is it love at first sight?
- Does one or both partners realize almost right away that they're soulmates or destined to be together?
- Is the relationship perfect, with no real tension or meaningful disagreements between the two?
- Does your character's partner think your character is perfect and flawless?
- Is their love treated as amazingly deep and profound, if not one of the deepest and most profound loves to ever exist?
- Even though they've only known each other for a few months or less?
- Are prior romantic relationships treated as shallow or meaningless in comparison?
- Have one or both characters never felt anything like this for anyone before meeting the other, and it's not because they're adolescents coming into their sexuality or having their first romantic yearnings, or have lived in utter isolation up to this point?
- Does your character's love interest give up on or ignore prior responsibilities, deeply-held convictions, personal goals, passions, or lifelong dreams and ambitions to be with your character and live the kind of life your character wants?
- If your character wanted, could xe have sex with or date any or almost any of the characters xe finds attractive?
- Could your character even have sex with someone who is normally explicitly chaste, happily committed to a monogamous relationship with someone else, or isn't keen on the idea of casual sex?
- With someone who isn't normally attracted to your character's sex or your character's general type?
- Could your character have sex with pretty much anyone period (or at least, with members of xir preferred sex), if xe really wanted to?
- If your character finally settles on one, is it the most attractive one out of the bunch?
- If/when your character has sex, is it absolutely perfect and beyond amazing?
- Even if it's your character's first time?
- On the subject of your character and xir family...
- Was your character orphaned, abandoned, kicked out, or at least raised by a family/person that was not xir own family?
- Was a major villain responsible for the death of the parents or guardians?
- Was your character responsible for the death of xir parents/guardians?
- Did your character witness the death of the parents/guardians?
- Was xe adopted by a cruel family or person?
- Ran away at any point?
- Raised xirself?
- Lived in the streets?
- The very last or only survivor of anything?
- Adopted by another species/racial group?
- What about any of these?
- Born/raised in extreme poverty?
- Born/forced into slavery?
- Banished from anywhere?
- A member of a despised, outcast, and/or downtrodden race or group?
- An illegitimate child in a society where this is stigmatized?
- The parent of an illegitimate child in a society where this is stigmatized?
- Physically abused and/or bullied?
- Sexually abused/raped?
- Did anything else remarkably strange or otherwise unusual happen in your character's infancy or childhood?
- If your character lost xir virginity unwillingly, does xe find a way to restore it? (Yes, this really is a thing.)
- Has your character otherwise lost:
- A child?
- Close friend?
- Is your character's trauma or pain somehow worse or more profound than the trauma or pain of characters in the same story who have gone through very nearly or even the exact same thing as your character?
- If your character has a torment-ridden, pain-filled past, do you believe it excuses xir actions and that your character should be considered above reproach or censure because of it?
- If your character is of relative wealth and/or high social status, does xe have "generic rebellious royal syndrome?"
- Does your character angst about something that xe did in the past?
- Death of a main character's family?
- Death of xir own family?
- Does your character eventually learn that it wasn't xir fault?
- If your character has to prove xirself, does xe completely pwn everyone else and make them look like buffoons in the process?
- If your character is/was a villain:
- Does xe reform by the end of the story?
- Does xe reform because of act of kindness on the part of the hero?
- Does no one question or remain cautious of your character after your character makes the switch? Or does anyone who does question or remain suspicious of your character end up end up beaten up, humiliated, miserable, and/or dead? (See also: Changing Alignments, Allegiances, & Loyalties More Believably. Link opens in new window.)
- Does a major villain have a personal fixation/obsession with your character?
- For no apparent reason?
- Something that has to do with your character's family or something your character is, rather than something your character has actually done?
- Is your character ever spared by an otherwise-ruthless villain?
- Because the villain is attracted to your character?
- And/or does an otherwise-selfish villain protect or grant asylum to your character?
- Do any of these happen despite the fact that your character has already done massive damage to the villain, the villain's troops, and/or the villain's property, or has done anything to annoy the villain in general?
- Does your character play a major and pivotal role in saving a world, race, or group to which xe did not belong to at the beginning of the story?
- Did your character start out on the side of a group or faction at odds with the group xe saves?
- Does xe become one of their leaders?
- Have you ever wished you could date/marry/adopt or even be your character?
- Do you feel insulted, attacked, or defensive when someone does not like your character?
- If people don't like your character, do you believe it's just because they don't "get" xir, or that they're just jealous of your character?
- Did you feel that this test insulted or attacked you or your character so far?
Part 2 - Original Fiction Characters
Only answer these questions if your character is for an original fiction. (For a new character you plan to add to an established original fiction universe, see the Fan-Character Specific Area.)
Not an original fiction character? Skip this section.
- Does your character have markedly more romance and/or sex than any other regular character who shows an active interest in romance/intimacy? (IE, xe gets all the girls/guys while everybody else goes without, even if they'd rather be in a relationship or dating - AKA Kirk Syndrome.)
- Everyone else combined?
- Even though there's no good reason why the other characters can't get a date?
- Does your character have a job or skill that is discouraged, forbidden, or unusual among xir sex, race, or social status?
- Does your character single-handedly save the day way more often than other main characters?
- More than the other main characters combined?
- Even when there's no good reason why another character wouldn't have been just as capable?
- With a heretofore unknown power or skill?
- Does your character almost die in the process?
- Does your character actually die in the process? (Any nasty irreversable thing, like getting sent to an inescapable dimension count, too.)
- Does everyone mourn the death of your character?
- Is xe later revived/resurrected/brought back?
Part 3 - Fan Characters & Newcomers
Only answer these questions if you are taking this test for a fan character (fiction or non-MMO RPG) OR for a new character whom you plan to add to an established original series (consider the original cast as canon and the newcomer as a fan character).
Not a fan character or newcomer? Skip this section.
- Is your character's name a variation, pun, or synonym of a canon character's name?
- Do your introduce and/or describe your character on the first page? (Ignore if this is an RPG character.)
- In minute detail?
- On the first paragraph?
- Does the arc/story pretty much center around xir, or is xe the main source of conflict in the story/arc?
- Does your character share a notable physical characteristic with a canon character, or at least have one that is remarkably similar? (Genetic resemblances do not count here.)
- Does your character share a disability or neurological condition with a canon character? (Do not click if this is due to heredity, and you have properly researched the disability or condition in question.)
- Is your character basically your favorite character from the original work, only more like you or how you wish you were somehow?
- Is your character of a species that is not normally found in the universe for which you are writing? (EG, a catgirl in Asgard.)
- Was your character trained in some art by or with a canon character?
- Does your character share tastes or a hobby with a canon character?
- If your character is the child of one or more canon characters, did xe inherit any of the parents' powers or talents?
- From more than one parent?
- Is xe even better than the parent or parents?
- If the last question did not apply, answer the following about your character's talents, gadgets, tools, powers, abilities, skills, etc. (henceforth referred to collectively as "capability assets")...
- Does your character have a capability asset that for intents and purposes is identical to one had by a canon character - and the canon character's capability asset is supposed to be one-of-a-kind, extremely rare, or have come into existence through means that nobody has been able to successfully replicate or reproduce despite trying?
- Was it deliberately chosen to complement or contrast with that or those of a canon character? (EG, a Rise of the Guardians fan character with fire powers to contrast Jack Frost's ice powers.)
- Do your character's capability asset/assets allow xir to do the same job or fill the same role or function as a canon character, on the same team or in the same workplace as the canon character?
- Do your character's capability asset/assets allow xir to do something a canon character did in the original story?
- Does your character have the capability assets of multiple canon characters combined?
- Does your character belong to or join the Resistance/Rebellion/Elite or any other special/elite group? (Ignore if this is because a character had to be replaced due to an actor leaving or a copyright issue with the character.)
- A member or child of someone in this group without knowing it?
- Was your character deliberately sought out to join this group despite having no prior affiliation or meaningful contact with the group and/or those that the group works for?
- Does xe specifically join the team/clique/crew/unit that the canon characters belong to?
- Is xe accepted as one of the gang quickly, easily, and with no complaints or reluctance from anyone whose opinion matters?
- At any point, does your character take over the job/position of a canon character? (Ignore this question and the subquestions if this is because of a rights issue with the character, or because an actor left the series/franchise.)
- Because it's a position that you think is interesting or fun?
- Does your character do an unquestionably better job than the character xe replaces?
- Does your character take over this job permanently?
- Is your character closely related to a canon character? (Ignore if the character is a child is born during the course of the story AND is raised by xir parents.)
- The sibling?
- The lost or estranged child/sibling?
- The twin/clone?
- Is your character the child of one or more canon character who seems very unlikely to procreate?
- Do other characters comment on or are amazed by how much your character looks like xir canon relative?
- If your character is not actually related, does xe have other connections to the canon characters?
- If your character is the child of one or more canon characters:
- Does xe rapidly age and mature beyond infancy for any reason?
- Travel back in time from the future to help the canon characters in the present?
- Does your character need a canon character to help xir work past xir problems and traumas?
- Does the canon character have to reorganize xir schedule or set back other projects or personal goals to make time for your character?
- Has the canon character never been shown as the type of person try to to reach out and help people this way?
- Do any of the main characters look up to your character?
- As a leader?
- Do canon leaders see your character as a threat because of this?
- How many major canon characters fall for/are attracted to your character?
- How many minor canon characters fall for/are attracted to your character?
- How many major canon characters does your character fall for/is attracted to?
- How many minor canon characters does your character fall for/is attracted to?
- If your character falls in love with or becomes the significant other/partner of a canon character...
- Does your character's love interest break up with a canon partner in order to make way for your character's relationship?
- Even though the canon relationship has been shown to be relatively stable and functional?
- Or does your character have deep, profound feelings for a canon character, but gives up on a serious relationship for some greater good/noble purpose?
- Does the canon love interest have well-established preferences in terms of what xe likes and dislikes in a potential romantic partner, and your character really isn't the type of person that the character goes for?
- Does your character make any canon characters realize their romantic feelings for each other?
- Did a 'something special' not exist at all until your character came along?
- Does this romance contradict a character's previously-established sexual orientation?
- Assuming your character has non-canon friends and/or peers somewhere, does xe hang out with the canon characters more than xir own friends or peers?
- Does your character end up moving in with or living fairly close to any of the canon characters?
- Was or is your character adopted by a canon character?
- By a canon character who has shown no interest in children in canon?
- And does the adoption take place in a world/country where child protective services exist, and the adoptive parent is someone that pretty much any real social worker would deem unsuitable?
- Is your character a 21th century Earth citizen transported through time/space/dimensions to the time/world the story is set in?
- If not from 21st century Earth, is your character from another time, world, or reality? (Do not click if this is because you are writing for a setting where running into characters from other worlds is a common occurrence - EG, Star Trek or Doctor Who.)
- The universe of another published work?
- If the story is set in a real country that you don't live in, does your character originally come from your country, rather than the country the story is set in?
- Is your character's history remarkably similar to the history of a canon character?
- Is your character involved in a canon character's past somehow?
- In a way that blatantly contradicts or disregards the original story?
- When your character makes xir first appearance, do most or all of the canon characters notice xir right away?
- Does this scene occur in a crowded place?
- Do the adventures of your character mirror or closely resemble the adventures of any of the canon characters? (Ignore if this is because it happens to pretty much everyone in the canon, IE, shopping at Ollivander's for a wand before attending Hogwarts.)
- Does your character save the canon characters from a situation or come up with a solution that they probably could have done by themselves before? (Admittedly, lead characters tend to be phenominally lucky, but still...)
- Does xe solve the personal problems of any canon character?
- Does your character alter the behavior or habits of any canon character, or otherwise get any canon character to do something they'd normally be adverse, reluctant, or even opposed to doing?
- And the canon character isn't angry or at the very least annoyed with your character's antics?
- Was the behavior or habit in question one of the fundamental, defining traits of the canon character?
- Does your character accomplish something previously considered impossible in canon?
- Have others already tried and failed in canon to accomplish this?
- Does your character accomplish this feat with little effort?
- Does your character tell off, beat up, humiliate, outdo, or kill a character to whom you would personally like to do the same?
- Is your character ever taken, threatened, and/or endangered by the villain/villains? (Ignore if this is because your character is a new regular you've added to your cast.)
- Do the canon characters immediately dash off to the rescue? (Ignore this question if they're in the business/habit of rescuing individual people from bad guys.)
- Does xe rescue xirself?
- Was there a special reason the villains targeted your character?
- If an RP character played in a freestyle RP, have you tried this plot device with your character more than once during the story?
- Does your character:
- Know something that only a canon character should know?
- Do something that only a canon character should have done?
- Was it something that changed said canon character originally?
- Does your character play a crucial role in resolving the conflict of the story/arc?
- With a heretofore unseen power or skill?
- Does your character almost die in the process?
- Does your character actually die in the process? (Any nasty irreversable thing, like getting sent to an inescapable dimension count, too.)
- Does everyone mourn the death of your character?
- Is xe revived/resurrected/brought back later?
- If you've created your own 'arc,' storyline, or plot event...
- Does your character know everything about what's going on in the story/arc?
- ...While the canon characters know almost nothing at all?
- Does it take place in another world or country, which your character is familiar with?
- Does this plot/arc replace a canon storyline?
- Do you plan on writing more stories about your character?
- Do you plan on writing stories about your character's children?
Part 4 - RPG Characters
Only answer these questions if you are testing an RPG character.
- Do you or have other players told you that you constantly try to bring the story's spotlight onto your character, or have your character do most of the heroic/cool stuff?
- If your character is in a tight spot, do you give xir a new gadget or ability so xe can escape?
- If your character is an OC in a fandom RPG, do you refuse to interact with or avoid interacting with other OCs in favor of the canon characters?
- Is your character so powerful and/or influential that any action taken by other players' characters against your character is doomed to fail from the start no matter how well-constructed and well-organized is it? (Yes, this is an instant fifty points.)
Part 5 - De-Suifiers
Answer for characters of any fiction type. These will subtract from your final score.
- Do you ever poke fun at your character's faults/weaknesses and/or use them as plot devices or gags?
- Has your character ever been honestly selfish, petty, lazy, shallow, or pointlessly cruel?
- Is your character really and honestly overweight, and stays overweight throughout the entire story? (A little bit of chubbiness does not count.)
- Is your character honestly ugly, and stays ugly throughout the entire story?
- Does your character get into a fight or rush into a situation without preparing for it - and get xir butt completely owned?
- Is your character out of shape, and stays out of shape for the entire story? (Not 'oh, man, I just don't think I can survive this triathlon,' but honestly, hinderingly wimpy?)
- Is your character physically disabled, and has nothing to make up for it? (To quote Dr. Merlin, anyone who says "She's so pretty that it's like a disability because everyone hates her or wants to have sex with her" will be summarily keelhauled.)
- Is xe truly mentally disabled in some way and has no powers because or despite of this?
- Is your character human, 40+, and looks xir age?
- Older than 60?
- Does your character have a truly debilitating phobia that does not disappear at a crucial moment?
- Has your character ever run away from anything simply because xe was a coward?
- If your character had a bad past with xir parents/guardians, does xe reconcile with them, or at the very least come to a sort of peace or a new understanding with them at any point? (Your character does not necessarily have to be completely okay with what the other characters did.)
- Does your character lack education in something that's considered basic knowledge or a basic skill among the people xe usually associates with, and it causes legitimate problems and challenges for your character?
- Does xe never gain this skill or knowledge?
- Has your character ever faced a problem xe had no way of overcoming on xir own and had to rely on others for help?
- Did xe give up without trying?
- Did xe give up after failing?
- If xe eventually found a way of overcoming a problem that initially seemed hopeless, was it extremely difficult and/or took a really long time?
- Does your character ever seriously question the morality of xir actions and/or is left with a lingering doubt that xe may not have done the right thing?
- Does your character suffer post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of everything xe has gone or goes through, and doesn't get over it after a dose of good loving/snuggling from xir love interest?
- Is your character ever manipulated or used as an unwitting pawn by someone without the aid of magical/chemical/technological/hypnotic mind-control?
- With tragic results?
- Has your character ever misjudged someone else and discovered xe was wrong about that person, and that person didn't become a love interest or best friend?
- Does your character ever admit to being wrong, even if xe doesn't really mean it?
- Has your character ever ignored wrong-doings against xirself and/or others because xe simply didn't want to get into trouble?
- Does your character act in odd and/or awkward ways that other people find strange and confusing rather than endearing, and these people aren't called or portrayed as foolish/stupid because of it?
- If your character is all or partially non-human, does xe react in very non-human ways or in ways more appropriate to xir species that are not meant to be perceived as cute and endearing by the audience?
- If your character is vampire, is xe...
- A mindless killer?
- Maybe not mindless, but has no significant moral or emotional issues with killing/murder?
- Unable to have sex?
- Unable to overcome xir dependance on blood?
- If your character is royal or in any other position of responsibility and power, is your character's position shown to involve real, meaningful, and difficult responsibilities and decisions (some of which xe struggles over), and that there will be genuine consequences if your character doesn't face and deal with them?
- Do you view your characters more like tools than friends/children?
- Did you spend days, if not months carefully and thoughtfully researching any of the following so you could try to write them as realistically and sensitively as possible? (This includes talking to people and/or reading blogs/books written by people who have lived or experienced them first-hand; simply reading medical or psychological sites can help, but they don't count alone.)
- The type of abuse your character experienced and the long-term effects that can come from it?
- The long-term effects that can come from any other traumatic experience your character faced?
- The type of psychological disorder or mental illness your character has?
- Any other severe hardship your character has faced?
- Do you take care that your character's personal hardships and traumas aren't presented as uniquely more horrible or worthy of pity than absolutely anyone else's, and/or make sure that other character's problems don't take a backseat or vanish mysteriously while your character gets mollycoddled?
Your total is:
Fanfiction & MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: If your score isn't this low from clicking several De-Suifiers, it may be possible that your character is poorly-developed yet, or a potential Anti-Sue or Hood Ornament.
Fanfiction & MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: Very low chance your character is a Mary Sue. Usually a very safe range to be in.
Fanfiction: Low-to-moderate chance your character is a Mary Sue. Generally a safe range to be in.
MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: Low chance your character is a Mary Sue.
Fanfiction: Moderate-to-high chance your character is a Mary Sue. Still a safe-ish range to be in.
MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: Low-to-moderate chance your character is a Mary Sue.
Fanfiction & MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: High-to-very high chance your character is a Mary Sue. Risky range to be in.
Fanfiction & MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: Extremely high chance your character is a Mary Sue. VERY risky range.
Fanfiction & MMO/RPG/Original Fiction: Your character is almost certainly a Mary Sue, and a bad one at that. On the odd chance that xe isn't, it's most likely you didn't read the instructions properly (some people don't do this, which causes freakishly high scores). If it's the latter case, read the instructions and take the test again.
Did you get a high score? Are you unsure of what to do now, or are you fairly sure that the character you tested isn't a Mary Sue?
First, remember that this test is not supposed to be the final word on the quality of a character. It's just supposed to let you know that your character may need some work and that you may need to ask yourself some critical questions about your character. Read this page and this page and compare what they say to your character. If you're unsure, ask people for opinions and if they think your character is overpowered, implausible, or author-spoiled.
If your character has a high score, or if people keep calling your character a Sue despite your character not having a high score, you can check out these pages for further tips and help:
So You Want To Have A Powerful Or Talented Character Who Probably Won't Be Perceived As A Mary Sue?
Basic Tips To Improve Your OCs & Fan Characters
Tips To Create Better OC Relatives of Canon Characters
Basic Tips To Write Better (And More Likeable) Badasses
So You Want To Have An Attractive Character?
Common, Yet Terrible Character Descriptors - And How To Fix Them (And Write Better Descriptions In General)
Describing Your Character: Tips & Advice
Part 1: Any resemblance to other characters in the "samples" is strictly coincidental, unless a published character is being deliberately cited by name.
Part 2: If your character receives a high score, it is NOT an attack against you. I am in no way to be accused of bashing your character, capice?
Special Thanks To:
Dr. Merlin, creator of the first Mary Sue test | Sergeant Sargent | Novadestin | DML | Users like you!