Avoiding Mary Sue

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Mary Sue: An over idealized character, often a way for the author to live fantasies by proxy.

As a general rule, you want to stay away from Mary Sue characters. Hopefully the exercises in this book have helped you round out your characters and avoid the Mary Sue. Still, it’s helpful to double check. Is this character just a little too perfect? Does my character have believable flaws? Are those flaws actually admirable traits in disguise or more like adorable quirks than actual flaws?

If you’re still in the early planning stages of your novel, it’s good to consider other things about your character that may be unoriginal. Are they the chosen one? The last of their kind? A girl with two boys in love with her? That’s not to say these ideas can’t be done again. However, you will have to consider what it is about your character that is unique.

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