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Mary Sue is the Root of All Evil

Mary Sue is the Root of All Evil



In setting straight my own mind on some matters before starting a new book, I came to the conclusion that one of the major annoyances of writing was even more of a nuisance than her dubious reputation said.  For those of you familiar with the title character of this essay, please bear with me while I recap her career in slightly different terms than usually used to talk about her before getting to the substance of the matter.

Novice fiction writers hear many warnings from experienced writers, some gentle, some harsh.  But of all these, one is always delivered with a certain savagery and frustration: "Get rid of Mary Sue."

The mere presence of this character in a story is enough to have it consigned with disgust into any editor's discards.  But who is this innocent child, this poor woebegone saintly girl who everyone in her stories loves, and yet everyone in the real world except her writer hates?  Who is Mary Sue?

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