Author has written 10 stories for Eureka, X-Men: Evolution, Simpsons, Pokémon, Teen Titans, Ben 10, and RWBY.
Hi, MysteryAgain here! I'm mostly a reviewer that likes offering constructive criticism. I love humor stories - they make me laugh. :)
I have a deviantArt account. I'm not much of an artist, but you want, you can visit it at I've got a few of my OC pictures there.
You may be asking, "Why the Unown in my avatar?" Because Unowns are cool, that's why! :P
A Little Info About Mary Sues:
If you ask different people what a Mary Sue is, you'll get different answers. There is no set definition. Most often, they are thought of as characters that are too perfect to be realistic. Another view is that they are simply poorly-written characters. Most of them show up in stories written by younger, less experienced authors. What probably happens is that the author, wanting their character to be liked, tries to cram everything they like into the character. What typically results is some unnatural character that represents what the author wants to be.
Here's a few general Sue traits to keep in mind. Remember, there's no set standard, therefore some of these characteristics may not necessarily make a Sue. Sometimes, it's not even the character concept itself, but rather, the way the character was written that makes an OC a Sue.
-Really overly fancy or weird names that don't fit the canon (ie. Amethyst Gabriella Iris Holmes in a Teen Titans fic). Not the most horrifying trait an OC can have, but sticks out if the canon characters have more common sounding names, like Victor Stone or Jean Grey. To help your character blend into the canon universe, I'd recommend sticking with whatever types of names the story uses. For example, for X-men Evolution OCs, something like Ron Collins would suffice, while for My Little Pony OCs, it would be out of place. It also helps if the name suits the OC's ethnicity and/or nationality. Baby naming and ancestry sites often have lists of common names from various countries.
-Excessively beautiful/cool/etc. appearance. I get it, almost no one wants their character to be ugly. In fact, there's nothing wrong with creating a character that can be considered attractive. However, red flags pop up if the author uses terms like "flowing ebony tresses" and "shimmering emerald eyes" over and over again when "long black hair" and "green eyes" would have worked just fine. Avoid constantly stating how an OC's appearance makes all of the girls/ladies swoon or the boys/men fumble their words. Also, if the description of the OC mentions curves or cup size, that tends to creep out readers (even more so if the character's a teenager). Keep appearances realistic for the setting.
-Physical traits that are impossible for humans (or whatever species the OC is) in the canon universe. Harry Potter OCs shouldn't have naturally pink hair and eyes; it isn't normal. When it comes to X-men Evolution OCs, your character's weird trait will stand a much better chance if it makes sense with their mutation. A green-haired plant manipulator or a cat shifter whose human form has the ears and tail both make sense. A telepath with yellow eyes and a wolf's tail doesn't. If you have your heart set on making a purple-haired and pink-eyed character, there're always hair dye and contacts.
-Pasts that are absurdly tragic. This includes things like losing a parent/friend/romantic interest, abuse, and rape. Or, more frequently seen with Sues, several tragic events stacked on top of each other. There's nothing wrong with having some event in their past, and it can even make a powerful plot point, but the character should act appropriately, and it should not be brought up just to make the canon characters ooze sympathy. After all, there are canon characters with tragic pasts (like Scott Summers and Robin), and they don't whine about it all the time. For abuse and rape especially, it helps to do research. Otherwise, an inaccurate depiction could come off as an insult to those who've experienced such events.
-Godly powers and skills. Sues tend to have so much of them that they solve problems way too easily and make other characters, both good and bad guys, look useless. It's best to keep their power and skill levels on par with the canon characters. OCs with an expert amount of skill in certain areas also tend to fare better if their pasts and daily lives explain why they have said skill. An OC that knows swordfighting who took a lot of lessons as a child and practices often is believable. An OC that knows swordfighting that was locked in a closet most of their life is not. Powers and skills take time to master; a character who's new to the superhero gig is probably not going to outperform more established heroes. And please please please don't introduce your OC to the Teen Titans by having them beat up a baddie without effort. It's so cliché.
-The Sue may have no personality flaws. Let's face it: no one's perfect. Character flaws are a necessity for believable OCs. It helps to consider the downsides a positive personality trait might have. Maybe an intelligent character is also conceited, thinking they are surrounded by idiots. Perhaps a light-hearted jokester doesn't take something important as seriously as he or she should. Having flaws like those cause issues for your character is what makes the character real. As a side note, clumsiness can be an amusing trait, but it is not a good flaw.
-The Sue might have a completely unlikeable, even outright nasty personality. Sometimes, this is a result of taking an OC's flaws too far; other times, it's from trying to make them cool and edgy. Either way, it's tough to root for a character who, for example, constantly says mean things to their "friends" or acts in a terrifyingly violent manner. Make sure the OC has traits that readers can sympathize with, and avoid playing flaws to the extreme (ie. "Temper" meaning they'll try to hurt the person who hurt their friend is much more sympathetic than "temper" meaning they'll try to hurt the person who accidentally bumped into them). When the OC does do something bad, make them face consquences for their actions. Said consequences could even be good character development, helping them realize their flaws and be a better person.
-All characters like the Sue. If they don't, they are either evil or just wrong, and it's never the Sue's fault. This even is seen when the Sue is a complete jerk to everyone. Let friendships and romances play out at a natural pace; it'll make a lot more sense.
-The Sue is created to be paired with a canon character. OCxCanon relationships can work, but the relationship needs to progress naturally and in an in-character fashion. What tends to happen with Sues is that they show up, and the canon character of the writer's choice falls for them instantly (and often in an out of character fashion). After that, there is often no plot. If there is, it frequently involves the canon character's insanely jealous "ex" trying to get in the way of the OC to keep the canon character for herself.
-The Sue might be a clone. That is, they have nearly the exact appearance, personality, skills, powers, etc. of a canon character. Sure, there might be some semblance between an OC and a canon if they're related, but if they're just a genderbent or "upgraded" version of the canon character, that's just unoriginal. It helps to go for traits that aren't already covered by the main cast. There are tons to choose from.
-Canons act out of character. This is one of the worst things that can happen. People don't like it if Starfire degenerates into a jealous #$@$ because an OC is getting too close to Robin, if Nightcrawler acts... em... less gentlemanly than he does in the canon, or if Slade becomes an incompetent buffoon that's easily trounced. It doesn't matter if you hate Ron or Starfire. Turning them into bad guys or moving their IQ down ninety points is known as character bashing, and it rarely sits well with the readers who like those characters. In a similar manner, just because you think Pietro and Draco are good-looking doesn't mean they'll instantly become good because of your OC's love or friendship. The fact is, some characters, no matter how hot you think they are, are jerks in canon and will, by logic, stay jerks, unless they go through some very well-written character development.
-Everything revolves around the Sue. If an OC is, say, fighting a baddie, don't make the canon characters just stand there and watch! While an OC can be the main character in a story, the canon characters shouldn't be ignored. They will have their own in-character responses to situations as well as the OC's actions. And, don't simply rewrite canon scenes to insert your OC. One, readers will usually know what will happen and therefore be bored, and two, it's sometimes like ripping the glory from the canon characters and unfairly giving it to the OC.
Again, this list is not complete nor final. But, I hope this helps people. I'm open to PMs if anyone has questions or comments about this. If you've read this, think it is helpful, and want to copy it onto your profile, be my guest! :)
Other Stuff that Might Help a Story:
-Grammar, grammar, grammar, a lot rests on the grammar. The more typo-ridden a story is, the more painful it is to read. Proofreading helps! My advice is to make your story something that you wouldn't be ashamed to turn into your English teacher. That also means no textspeak! I know grammar isn't everybody's strong suit, but there are plenty of Beta readers that can help.
-Big walls of text make readers tremble in fear. It helps tremendously if the story has paragraphs. Also, it's good form to start a new paragraph each time you change speakers.
-The summary is what makes people decide if they want to read a story. Again, proper grammar helps. A good summary will give readers an idea of the plot without giving too much away. On a different note, summaries like "I suck at summaries. Please read," and "I wrote this awesome story. Read it," do a disservice.
-Author's notes. They're helpful if you want to send readers a message along with your new chapter, but disruptive if placed smack dab in the middle of a chapter. Either before or after the chapter is a good place to put a note.
-Begging for reviews is a don't. Most people don't like it if a writer holds their story hostage by refusing to add another chapter until they get X amount of reviews. Politely asking for reviewer's thoughts in an author's note is a good way to get honest critique. :)