This is a new feature on Writers Anon. It’s called Writer’s Glossary, which is going to give you a quick explanation of those terms you may hear bandied about among writers, but don’t quite get what they mean. Now, you can turn to our Writer’s Glossary to help you get through those awkward moments.
A Mary Sue is a character who is so perfect that they don’t ring true. They may be too capable or too kind or too heroic and they are often (not always) an extension of the author themselves. A Mary Sue can be male or female, but everything comes easily to them. Enemies are defeated and other characters like and admire the Mary Sue, even if it goes against their motivation or character traits. Mary Sues tend to be a type of wish fulfillment for the author. All heroic characters have an element of wish fulfillment to them, but Mary Sues break all logic of the story setting or make the story boring because there is no jeopardy.
Don’t fall into the trap of labeling competent female characters as automatic Mary Sues, especially if you let similar male characters off scot-free.
So that’s the first entry into the Writer’s Glossary. Are there any terms you’d like explained or think other writers might like to know? Let me know in the comments.