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Writing Resources by MadameFreaky

Literature by OctoberMuse

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August 21, 2009
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Whuz crackin' m' lackin's? As you all (at least, I think you all) know, I am an avid roleplayer, I roleplay like my life depends on it, it's what I spend the majority of my time doing, and I love it like a fat kid loves candy. And of course, the biggest part of any roleplay is the characters, right? Well the problem I have been running into lately is people with characters who, to put it bluntly, majorly suck ass. Like they might have good qualities, but they have one or more major things that make you go "yeeeeergh", like a stripper with no teeth. And so I decided to use all this free time I have to make a up a character development guide for you all yaaaaay *throws confetti in the air*. So let's get started, slutwagons!

The Three Major Character Components

These are personality, appearance, and background. No character can exist without all three of these things. When you start out making a character, you probably have a basic concept including one or more of these that you want to work with. You don't need to start with one in particular, I'll just be going in order of the way they were listed.

1. Personality

Personality, temperament, behaviour. We all have it. Maybe your character is a happy bubbly ray of sunshine, maybe they're a brooding bitch (do try to avoid these, they are all too common and no fun at all. How can characters interact if yours is just off being aloof and waiting for others to approach them?). There are all kinds of personality types and here are things to think about when making up your characters behaviour:

Do not make contradicting traits. Cheery, but depressed. Hyper, but quiet. WTF MAN?! Which are they? If your character can be either, explain that, such as instead of that 'cheery but depressed' example, go more in depth with something like "They always have a smile on and try to see the good in life while making everyone happy, but the lingering aftershock of their brother's death in a car accident three months ago has them prone to bouts of sorrow." Now it makes sense! Other times the character will be characterized as "sweet and fun-loving" or something of the like, and then the author will go and have them blowing up a village, or someone "cheery" always breaks down sobbing over their angsty past. Call your character by what they are, not by what you want people to think they are. If you call yourself a sweetheart but you're a village burner, the burning village will speak for itself.

Why do they behave the way they do? Your character is usually the nicest guy you know, but if someone they care about is threatened they suddenly become a totally different person and start knocking heads. This is because as a child they witnessed their father beating their mother and so now cannot stand that helpless feeling of not being able to defend someone close to them. You have to remember the "why" of the way your character acts and thinks. If they were raised by a loving and supportive family, they probably won't come out overly depressed with low self esteem.

What are your characters obstacles and goals? What do they want and what prevents them from getting it? Do they want to become the world's greatest swordsman, but have been only training for a few years and so aren't very accomplished yet? Do they want to be a pirate sailing the seven seas but do not have a ship or crew? YOUR CHARACTER MUST HAVE OBSTACLES; DO NOT SPOIL THEM. If you want your character to be rich, how did they get that way? Were they born into a rich family? How did the family get rich? How do they maintain their riches so they do not run out? You can't just have your character be inexplicably rich or the greatest wizard that ever lived or whatever just because you say so; this is not a good actual character, but a wish fulfilment character, meant to live out your fantasies. This will be touched on later. Maybe your character doesn't really have any set goals, but even then they can have obstacles. Maybe they just want to live in a peaceful life, but their country is torn by war. Maybe they are a woman who wants to own her own house in a society where this is not allowed. But remember two things: DON'T GO OVERBOARD WITH THE OBSTACLES AND DO NOT MAKE THEM BE FROM THE PAST. Don't make your character an orphan who watched their parents be killed by mercenaries and was then sent to live in the coal mines and was raped five hundred times and was unfairly jailed and tortured and blah blah blah it goes on. Overly depressing stories meant to suck pity out of other characters are overdone and irritating. And your characters obstacle should preferably be something in the present or future, ones from the past mean they should just let go of stuff.

2. Appearance

Here's the part we always have the most fun with.

Body: How your character looks in the nudies without hair done or make up or nothing. What type of body do they have? Are they tall, short? Are they lean, hefty? What shade is their skin? What color is their hair, their eyes? What type of facial features do they have? Do they have any tattoos or other markings? Do they have extra appendages, such as wings or a tail? When doing this part of the creation process, you have to keep in mind what setting your character is meant for. Green hair and red eyes may be fine for a fantasy roleplay, but for a realistic one you can forget it. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE, PLEASE STOP WITH THESE CHARACTERS WITH HAIR THAT IS MORE THAN ONE COLOUR. Any seventh grade biology class will teach you that your hair comes out ONE COLOUR. Any other colours you want have to be dye, and of course in historic times where there was no L'Oreal this does not fly.

And seriously...for the love of all things that are sweet and shining, DO NOT MAKE YOUR CHARACTER SO INSANELY BEAUTIFUL THAT EVERYONE LOVES HER (or him but 99% of the time this is a female) ON SIGHT. This character is a Mary Sue, a self-insert wish fulfilment character that is meant to be everything you want to be and think is awesome. It is all right to have a character that is meant to be unusually attractive as long as you don't go out of your way to repeatedly bring up how HOMG TTLY BOOTIFUL U GAIZ she is. Essentially, wording-wise a Mary Sue is the difference between "She had red hair, green eyes and pale skin" and "Her flowing hair was as red as the roses which she was just as fair as, her eyes twinkling drops of topaz set in her fair and perfect face carved by the gods themselves, her skin as white and soft as the petals of the most wondrous of lilies". This also includes adding in filler characters who exist only to oogle your character/be jealous of your character's beauty/be totally in luuuurve with your character because of their sooper shexiness. If they happen to live in a place where guys happen to oogle EVERY female that walks their way (like in the middle of a construction yard) or someone is jealous because they are a jealous person by nature, this is somewhat acceptable if played off correctly.

Apparel: It's time to go shopping and put on some clothes! The first thing to think when deciding your character's clothing is a. Who are they, b. Where/When are they, and c. What is practical. Who is your character? If they are a peasant, chances are they won't be walking around in shimmering spotless silk clothing. If they are a fighter, they probably won't be wearing flowy clothing that is hard to manoeuvre around in. Where/When are they? A character living in England won't be in a kimono, just as a character living in medieval times won't be wearing cut off jeans and the latest fashions from Hot Topic. Someone in a cold climate won't be wearing a miniskirt and tube top. What is practical? Metal armour is hot, heavy and hard to move in, so this would not be worn all the time or not much of it. Someone who would be fighting a lot would not have their hair down where it could get in their face or be yanked on by an opponent. If your character is an assassin, being discrete is key so their weapons would be well hidden on their person, they wouldn't be flashing them around 'Oh lookit me I'm a big scary assassin, I can cut people, oooooh!'. And while having more weapons then you have hairs on your head might sound cool, do you think it would be easy to move around weighted down by axes and swords and spears and knives and guns hanging from every square inch of your body? Be practical; stick to your favourite. Just have them carrying a few, a single katana and a knife in their boot. A character that is specialized in staff work and fights in this manner exclusively is the mark of a good roleplayer; one that has steel hanging from every inch of their body is the mark of an inexperienced roleplayer who just wants to look like one badass motherfucker, liked so many weapons they decided to load them all on one character, or who just couldn't pick which weapon to use. Plus, if other characters saw yours weighted down with so many weapons, instantly they'd think them to be a threat and attack them, cutting their throat while the are rolling around on their back, unable to stand up because of the weight of all that steel. And again, remember their setting. A non-Japanese character would not be wielding a katana, and a modern day character would not be wielding a sword at all.

3. Background

This is everyone's least favourite part because it requires lots of thinking and typing, but it is vital to explain how your character came to be who they are today. DO TRY TO AVOID DEAD PARENTS AND BURNT VILLAGES. While it may be easier to just say 'Their parents are dead' instead of coming up with an actual story, it also isn't that hard to say 'Her father was a fisherman and her mother a silk spinner. They still live in her childhood home.' Many times the 'dead parents' thing is also simply an attempt at playing the pity card to get a character sympathy and attention. As I said in the Personality section, DON'T GO OVERBOARD WITH THE DEPRESSING EVENTS. Nothing is more annoying then a character with a sob story history so depressing it looks like the writer was actively trying to make it as horrible as possible. And often times, this is the case. As with the 'dead parents' thing, other common angst story clichés like abuse, abandonment, rape, enslavement, and being endlessly pursued by assassins and other evil people are often used to either/or a. play the pity card and get the character attention, and/or b. justify any actions made by the character that are seen as unfavourable by others, ie "Well he destroyed the city and killed many innocent people because his father abused him! Don't be such an insensitive dick!".

A good history should include: Where the character was born and raised, who they were raised by/around, any family members and close friends, any pivotal points in the characters life, why and how they learned/gained the abilities they have today (there's gotta be a reason that they are the greatest fire magic wielder in all of the kingdom). Again, DO NOT SPOIL YOUR CHARACTER. Do not ruin a perfectly good character by turning them into a wish fulfilment character because you made them a prince, the greatest mage in the entire nation by the age of twelve, a general by the age of sixteen, you get my point. All characters have to develop, they can't just BAM have/be good at everything you want them to be. It is highly unlikely that anyone would be so successful in so many fields and making them as such is a sure Sue tactic.

There may be some things your character wants that they shall never get, no matter how far the progress. I shall use one of my own characters for example: ~Pentecost Blackington was born Lina Neilsen, but was not happy with the life as a woman in colonial America, as she had no desire to get married nor have babies. Knowing that she could never live free and on her own as a woman, she disguised herself as a man and ran away from home under the guise of Pentecost Blackington, travelling doctor. Though only eighteen, he has a doctor's knowledge because his mother was a nurse who taught him all his life the ways of medicine (see? I explained that, EXPLANATION IS KEY). When reaching the Trenton barracks, he began to fall in love with one of the nurses, slowly beginning to realize that this identity of Pentecost was not just a disguise, but a manifestation of his true self. He truly was a man, if trapped in a woman's body. Sadly, he knows that he can never marry Eliza (the nurse) because of his woman's body.~ See what I mean?

Also, REMEMBER YOUR CHARACTERS SURROUNDING. As much as you may want a female soldier in the medieval times, it wasn't about to happen and if she got discovered, it wouldn't matter how good a soldier she was, she would be kicked out if not executed. If your character is Japanese, they would not be in America in the 1600s. If you are a woman in ye olde England, you would be wearing a full length dress and your hair up; anything else and they would be labelled a whore. Tough turkeys but in some settings, the facts of life are the facts of life and you cannot break the rules of society without retribution done upon you.

The amount of pivotal events that your character has gone through also highly depends on their age. As teenage years to early twenties is the most common age for roleplay characters, someone so young would probably only have one or two MAJOR pivotal events that changed their life forever, if any. Save the heaps of events for a older adult character who would plausibly have experienced them, preferably a character in their late thirties and beyond.


If I had to pick one single trait that is most important of all in character development, it would doubtlessly be accuracy. Historical accuracy, cultural accuracy, accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. Feel free to do a little bit of independent research on your character's culture, activities and homeland. A few minutes on Google can go a long fucking way, let me tell yah. An accurate character is a well developed character. This of an accurate character versus an inaccurate character as being like a canon OC versus a non-canon OC. You know every time you're reading a character sheet or fan fic and you're tearing your hair out by the roots screaming "No, no!!!!!!! Naruto had no siblings you fucking fool!!!!! He wasn't raised by his uncle!!!! Dear god no they did not have cricket teams, this is Japan for god's sake!!!!! No Sasuke would not love your character, they have zero chemistry!!!!! Why the Hell are they going to church, Japan is a mainly Shinto nation!!!! Oh my god go die right now!!!!"? Yeah, that's what an inaccurate character is like. But don't feel like you have to stress yourself out and do a buttload of research to be 100% perfectly accurate; as a said, just a little information-gathering goes a long way. Ask more historically/culturally/whatever-ally adept people than yourself if your character is accurate. Most people will politely point out any errors, which can easily be fixed (don't be afraid to tweek a character). But don't feel like your character has to be perfectly accurate; a pinch of poetic license is just fine here and there, as long as you stick to the main premise and try to be as canon as possible.

This category may also cover psychological accuracy. This is when characters act in a way that is true to who they are, basically. Like, a rape victim would not be happy with a dominant lover; they would always feel inferior to them, and probably fearful. If a character looks young but is hundreds of years old, they will act wise and mature and want to hang out with similar persons. If they act like a spoiled bratty teenager, a. they are probably played by one b. cut out the "years of living" thing. No one who lived that long would behave like they're fourteen. An assassin would not be able to feel compassion, as they have been groomed to care for nobody but themselves. Abuse victims would try to hide their abuse, feel as though it was their own fault, not tell anybody even those who are close to them (and try to make it not seem like such a big deal if they did say anything), and have trouble opening up to others; they would not run around crying and telling everyone within earshot because they would believe that no one would listen or care so why bother and that they deserved the abuse anyway. A chauvinistic character and a strong female character would not work out well together, because the female would hate always being undermined by him and having him act as though she needs protection. You get what I mean?

Now, onto what happens when you have a poorly developed character...

Mary Sues

To quote Wikipedia:

"A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fan-fiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfilment fantasies for their authors or readers. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as "Mary Sues" is that they are too ostentatious for the audience's taste, or that the author seems to favour the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the "Mary Sue" character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly...Today "Mary Sue" carries a connotation of wish-fulfilment and is commonly associated with self-insertion (the writing of oneself into a fictional story). True self-insertion is a literal and generally undisguised representation of the author; most characters described as "Mary Sues" are not, though they are often called "proxies" for the author. The negative connotation comes from this "wish-fulfilment" implication: the "Mary Sue" is judged a poorly developed character, too perfect and lacking in realism to be interesting. Such proxy characters, critics claim, exist only because authors wish to see themselves as the "special" character in question.

The term is also associated with cliché such as exotic hair and eye colours, mystical or superhuman powers, exotic pets, possessions and/or origins, or an unusually tragic past, especially when these things are glaringly out of step with the consistency of the canon.</u> These features are commonplace in "Mary Sues", though even a character who lacks them may be labelled a "Sue" by some critics. The term is more broadly associated with characters who are exceptionally and improbably lucky. The good luck may involve romance ("Mary Sue" always gets her man); adventure ("Mary Sue" always wins a fight or knows how to solve the puzzle) and popularity (the "right people" seem to gravitate towards the character). These characters have few problems while attempting to achieve their goals. "Everything goes her way" is a common criticism regarding "Mary Sues", the implication being that the character is not sufficiently humanized or challenged to be interesting or sympathetic."

There are some subcontexts of Mary Sue, which do often times over lap (rarely is a Sue but one subcontext of Sue), which I will now list:

The Helper

This character is always ready to help everybody. If they lost their kitty, they’ll help them find it. If they are hurt, they’ll heal them (even if they hurt them to begin with). Of course there is nothing wrong with being helpful. The problem arises when you do it just to get your character attention. Basically, it’s the different between:

Character A got a paper cut. Character B gave them a Band-Aide.


Character A got a paper cut. Character B took their hand and their eyes began to glow. “By the power of the gods, I heal thee!” With a wonderful flash of light, the cut vanished.

And of course, if your character is not thanked and they get pissed about it, this is another sign of the attention-mongering Helper. YOU DO SOMETHING BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, NOT FOR THANKS.

The Helper can also be a character who wrongs another character in some way (ex. Getting into a fight with them and mortally wounding them) and then suddenly has a change of heart and helps them (ex. Healing them after mortally wounding them). There is no decent explanation to why this character would suddenly want to help another and they may do it reluctantly. This is done to try to somehow get back in the good graces of another character as the goal of all Suethors is for their character to be liked.

The Hero

This character saves the day…OVER AND OVER. There are constant sources of danger that they must defeat (even though there is no reason that others would not be able to). No matter what they are up against, they can defeat it because they are just strong enough. Even if they are in a situation they should not be able to get out of alone, they somehow manage because they can do anything. This character is often times male, is powerful physically and in terms of magic, and is loaded down with unnecessary weaponry (probably guns as well as an assortment of sharp things) to compensate for their player's lack of a decently sized penis. Though they will describe themselves as peaceful and not wanting to fight unless necessary, they will provoke other characters into fighting (often times indirectly) so that they can show off how strong they are. No matter what attack is dealt unto them, they survive it with little to no damage (unless a female character who they want to get with is present, in which case they will be injured during their attempts to protect her so she feels such gratitude unto the chauvinistic hero that she frets over his well being, heals him and hopefully lets him get some). If female characters are present, the hero must protect them at all costs no matter how capable they are of defending themselves. The hero is probably constantly chased by some for of opposing 'villain' (old military commander, mad scientist, law enforcement, random wicked bad dude, etc.) who they must constantly do battle with to prove their manliness.

This character is often more times than not a total douchebag. They beat on other characters like a school yard bully for the sake of establishing dominance and have flashy, overdone weapons to show how HOMG TOUGHER THAN U they are. Characters played by other people will probably describe them as "cruel", "over compensating", "jerks", etc. They might threaten or physically harm filler characters to prove how BADASS THEY R SO U MUST FEAR DEM.

The Hero is easily defeated by other characters not being impressed or intimidated by them.

The Victim</b>

This character was abandoned by their parents and then witnessed their murder, was then left on the streets to raise themselves with no friend in the world or was adopted by people who were cruel and abusive to them, was raped five hundred times, is hated unfairly by everyone, has powers they cannot control, and are just attractors of misery everywhere they go. And they are not afraid to tell everyone within earshot.

These characters are horribly annoying attention whores and their pasts are intended to play the attention-earning pity card. Do not use them. Having characters with some tragedy in their past is fine, just don’t try to make the most pathetic characters you possibly can. And when other user’s characters aren’t sympathetic to their plight, don’t be surprised. They are probably just as sick of Victims as the rest of us and so don’t care any more.

This character is also known as 'Angsty Sue'. Again, to quote Wikipedia:

"This subconcept of the larger "Mary Sue" concept comes in two common variations. The first is a character who is constantly depressed and has a tragic past, frequently involving murder, child abuse, rape, or abandonment of some sort. She or he often feels guilt for something that happened in the past, even though it is usually not his or her fault, which gives him or her the ability to feel bad about something without having done anything wrong. Generally, if she or he doesn't commit romanticized suicide, then only the love or close friendship of one or more canon characters can convince her that she is not responsible for a tragic or horrific childhood or event that was obviously not of her making. Such backgrounds constitute an ill-advised attempt to gain sympathy from the reader.</b>

The other version of the "Angsty Sue" subconcept involves a character who has a similarly tragic past, but rather than angsting about it, she or he seeks revenge. She or he is thrust into the spotlight of the story while doing so. The writer is seen as using his or her past not merely as a device to gain sympathy, but also to claim moral superiority and justification for his or her actions. As such, this type of "Angsty Sue" rarely has any guilt at all - after all, she or he hasn't done anything "wrong."

The 'Animal'</b>

You will notice that animal is in quotations. This is because even though a character is of a nonhuman species such as a full anthro (a genuine talking animal on two legs), a wannabe anthro (is human except for ears and a tail, and maybe teeth and claws), or an actual animal, they behave like a human and in ways that their species never would, examples being: big cats that allow themselves to be pets rather than ripping their owner's head off (bonded spiritual animals are fine), predators that take mercy on their prey, wild animals that behave like domestic ones, prey animals that demonstrate feats of bravery rather than running away as is instinct, reptiles that feel compassion or remorse, animals that stay with humanoid owners even though they do not benefit from the relationship, etc. Animals act like animals. That is why they are called animals and not people. Be sure your animal characters act like what they are.

Reptiles: Reptiles were among the first animals to evolve, descending from amphibians that emerged from the water where they themselves had evolved from fish. As such, reptiles have very primitive brains with basic survival functions. Their mind is programmed for keeping themselves alive, it's me, myself and I and nobody else for reptiles. They do not feel compassion, remorse, or other complex emotions because that simply is not beneficial to them. They are more or less either aggressive or indifferent. Dragons we can be more lenient with, and a wider personality spectrum is permitted for them.

Solitary Predators: Like the reptiles, these animals are all about me, myself, and I. They do not show mercy to prey animals, they will go after anything resembling prey on instinct, and are very competitive and aggressive towards other predators. However, avians and mammals will show paternal dedication to their offspring and sometimes towards their mate, depending upon the species.

Group Predators: These predators are more social and more affectionate to those of their own kind and in their own group, though anything from outside of their group will be faced aggressively, even if it is of the same species.

Herd Animals: Herbivores and prey animals, these tend to be very social and are more inclined to run when startled then to fight. Usually skittish and wary.

Domesticated Animals: If you want your character to have a pet, go for one of these. They have been bred for generations to be affectionate towards humans, unlike a wild animal, who will turn on a human whenever they like. Wild animals stick around humans for food and shelter, and if they decide they don't need a human for that and would rather be on their own, forget it.

And also, unless your animal has thumbs, don't have them using objects like swords or whatever. You may think this is SOOPER KEWL!!!!11! but it looks pretty silly, considering that the whole purpose of animal characters is to not. Be. Like. Humans.


No. :| Giving animal characters, or characters in general, a random "other form" that is completely unrelated to their story just because you think it'd be sooper speshul awesum is a sign of that "trying to pile too many traits onto one character" thing. Either confirm that your character isn't an animal but some sort of shape shifter or leave the "anthro form" thing out entirely.

The Merciful Devil</b>

Even though this character is a demon, vampire, assassin, or other such evil archetype known for causing ceaseless death and suffering, they are kind and compassionate bundles of love. THESE ARCHETYPES ARE IDENTIFIED WITH EVIL FOR A REASON. An assassin makes a living off of killing strangers and so is without conscious or remorse and so would be unable to be fully and genuinely kind to someone, only acting in such a manner if they wanted something out of them. Demons are not cuddly lovable demons like in animu, they are vicious sacks of evil because that is what demons are. Unless specifics are added (ex. a djinn, a kind of demon that can be either good or bad) demons should act like demons and as thus be vicious, evil dicks. Vampires there is more leeway with as they may not have had any choice in this fate, but not all vampires are handsome sparkly hundred year old virgin gentlemen just waiting for their true love to come along and open their heart of gold (you know exactly what who I am talking about). They suck blood. They are glorified syringes and murderers. They are not all gorgeous; in fact many of them are downright hideous. And more often then not they are evil and just want your body juice. Even if they are benevolent, a need for blood is prevalent and cannot be excused.

This category can also be used to describe characters that are defined as being 'Sweet once they get to know you' or 'Nice with their friends'. These just provide excuses for your characters to be nice when you want them to be/to characters you like (because they like yours) and then dicks if you don't like what is going on (or the other characters, probably because they do not like yours). They may be described as having some sort of anti-social disorder (to excuse their aloof jerkass loner personality) or multiple personalities (so that they can do bad things and still be sweet and innocent at the same time).

Also on the topic of assassins, if you're going to play one, FOR GOD'S SAKE PLAY IT WELL. Too often I see an assassin who is an arrogant, cocky smartass who goes around blowing people up in the middle of the street who can take down ANYBODY. This completely goes against the definition of an assassin, which is a killer for hire who kills by being discrete and secretive, not by showing off. An assassin that shows off gets killed in a realistic situation. Also, assassin =/= awesomesauce fighter. Often times assassins are assassins because they are too weak/chickenshit to just go up to someone and pop one in their face. In hand-to-hand combat, they go down easy like a Saturday night frat party drunken slut.

The Chosen One</b>

This character is part of a prophecy, is the last survivor of their people, is amazingly successful in everything they try, is held in high regard by everyone they meet, and probably has amnesia and so do not know about their amazing potential. These glory-seeking ego-strokers are also very annoying.

Sometimes if played right, they are all right. One such example is Aang from the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. He is the avatar, a reincarnated being of great power meant to save the world. However, he is not perfect and he is completely human, with flaws just like any good character has. Throughout the series we see him exhibit honest envy, jealously, anger and selfishness. He is stubborn and will give up when things seem hopeless. It takes him time to develop his powers. But through these mistakes we see him grow as a person. He is a perfect example of a well-developed character.

The Princess</b>

This is the traditional "too perfect" Mary Sue. She is the most utterly beautiful girl that anyone has ever seen (even though she is completely unaware of this fact) and has everyone falling at her feet. She gets all the romance, even though there is no good reason as to why anyone else shouldn’t be able to. She is able to change the minds of otherwise mentally immovable characters because everything just makes sense when she says it. If her country has slavery, she knows it is wrong and speaks to the king and he understands her completely and makes it illegal. If women cannot be in the army, she joins in secret and when she is discovered, she has proved herself so worthy as a soldier that she is not kicked out and is exalted to a position of high authority. The laws of society are bent for her and she has a radically modernistic/Western thought process in historic/non-Western settings. She is a wonderful unique snowflake with magical powers and is able to do things no one else can. She can wear impractical clothing just because it looks good on her and can dress like a hoochie in time periods where you were considered slutty if you as much as had your hair down. She always has money to spend on anything she wants/needs even if she has no described source of income, and if she has a job she is best at it. She has a job even in societies where women didn’t have them. She is a skilled fighter even if she didn’t have training or is living in a society where women were not permitted to fight. She has a magical weapon and magical trinkets with great, deep significance. Even in a place with no running water she is always sparkly clean and smelling lemony fresh. She probably has either/or of two syndromes: Rebellious Princess Syndrome (A noblewoman who is 'tomboyish', refuses suitors, and is constantly trying to escape her social confinement which she is held to cruelly, most often by a father, brother, uncle, or other male relation) or Barbie Doll Syndrome (Having multiple titles/occupations/skills that have nothing to do with each other). She is artistically talented (musically, visually, is a dancer). She is utterly perfect in every sense of the word.

Nothing. In the world. Is more hated. That the Princess. Do not be surprised when everyone else’s characters team up to make her life miserable.

The God</b>

Just what it sounds like. This character probably isn’t the character that is mainly used, but is brought in to support and justify it whenever other characters think the main character is doing something wrong. They make the universe swing in the direction that benefits the character the God character (and the writer) supports.

NEVER EVER USE THESE CHARACTERS. EVER. EVER EVER EVER. They are just a back door way of godmoding. Having a character pray to a god and then something nice happens, like a cute guy asks them out, does not count as using a God character; having a God HOMG COME DOWN FROM THE SKY AND GIVE YOUR CHARACTER SOOPER SPESHUL POWAHS or go "ZOMG DIS KARAKTUR IS TTLY LIEK RIGHT AND STUFF CUZ I SAID SO CUZ IM GOD SO U BETTUR LISTIN OR ILL KIL U" does.

This term may also be used to apply to main characters who are part or fully HOMG A GOD. God...godmode...Sue...enough said. Having a character be part or full god is a sign that one is trying WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too hard to have an impressive character. (However, in some settings such as ancient Greece fantasy roleplays, part-god characters are not uncommon and in such settings can be permitted as long as they aren't, say, stronger than Zeus and all the other gods put together, etc.)

The Copy Cat</b>

This is usually done when a roleplayer is using a character that is not fully developed or which is constantly being edited to fit to the situation in a way the player sees as 'better'. The character essentially copies other characters used whether it be mannerisms, weapons, origins, groups they belong to, ideals, quirks, etc. Ever had someone mimic every little thing you did? Then you know how roleplaying with a Copy Cat feels. Very few roleplayers tolerate this.

The Badass</b>

This character absolutely has to be more powerful than any other character. Any attacks to them do no lasting harm or no harm at all, simply phasing off of them as they stand there like cocky pricks laughing and explaining how they are far too hardcore and badass for any ordinary character to defeat them (even if they are fighting, like, a fucking magma giant or some shit). They have badass physical strength, over nine thousand badass powers, flashy and possibly self-designed badass weapons that are probably too big to be practical, too many badass weapons to carry except for the fact that they are just badass enough to, they know every badass fighting style in the known and unknown universe, they get to fight badass villains in badass epic battles where they show off their badass people-killing skills because killing stuff is badass and not psychopathic or freaky in any way. As a matter of fact, they are psychopathic. Because mental illnesses are badass. They can defeat any other character because they just aren't badass enough for the writer to decide to give the other guy a break TO DEFEAT SUCH A BADASS MOTHERFUCKER! And on the slight off-chance that something can maybe, possibly, act as the Badass's kryptonite, it is often times something so fucktarded and obscure that there is little to no chance of any other character harnessing this weakness, or it is something that can only be accomplished by one of the Suethor's own other characters, thus allowing the Badass to stay undefeated while still making them "well-rounded" CUZ THEY DEW HAV A WEEKNES U GAIZ.

Long story short, this version of the Sue is just too badass to be defeated. They are probably overly confident assholes who like to brag about how easy it is for them to kill people, how many people they've killed, their epic powers/weapons, how their epic powers/weapons work, how they could use their epic powers/weapons to snap you in half like a pretzel stick...basically, they're those douchebag jocks who used to shove you and your friends into lockers, except with ten-foot broad swords and an army of demons in their right breast pocket.

The "Demon"

Remember why I used quotation for the "Animal"?

To quote deviant Fullmetal-Phantom, three main types are:



In these ways, a "Demon" can also hold attributes of a Badass, a Victim, and/or a Merciful Devil. Demons are extremely cliché, generic characters in general. I myself prefer to avoid them all together.

The Angel</b>

This character is a pure little beacon of goodness who barfs rainbows and sunshine and love. They are probably female, or if male, a child or extremely effeminate and probably gay. They are the portrayal of innocence and so are probably naive, immature, and maybe even borderline stupid. BUT EETS ADOWABLE N SWEEEEET!!!!! Villains will come after her because she has some special power that she probably sees as a curse. Even though they have such awesome powers, they are always in need of saving, because they do not try to save themselves. They prefer to sit around with a hand over their mouth crying and pitying themselves. In fact, they'll cry at pretty much anything, which is annoying as shit SWEET AND ENDEARING! They are nearly saintly in their innocence and just want characters they prefer everybody to get along. They probably have additional healing powers and want everyone to act as their parent figure. Are hated strongly by stoic roleplayers, and me.

Typical Mary Sue Traits

To boil that all down into a nice neat little list for those of you who don't like to read...

1. Mary Sue is beautiful. She is more beautiful than anyone else and they all know it. All other women are plain hags in comparison to her and every man wants to be with her. She probably has large breasts, long flowing hair, shapely legs, flawless skin, and an hourglass figure, even if this is contrary to her lifestyle (ie a warrior who fights with a claymore yet does not have bulging biceps, a pirate who is in the sun all day yet still is pale and creamy as porcelain, etc.).

2. Mary Sue is sexy. This is slightly different from beautiful in the sense that all the males (and maybe females) want to sleep with this character. This includes stalker pedophile rapists.

3. Mary Sue gets around. She can sleep with anyone she wants and yet is not considered a slut by anyone.

4. Mary Sue is popular. Everybody loves Mary Sue. Except, you know, for the people who hate her for no reason and make her cry so all those people who love her can rush to her defence.

5. Mary Sue is famous. Wherever she goes everyone knows who she is because of her great and glorious deeds. She's probably a princess or general or chosen one or something.

6. Mary Sue is a hybrid of two or more species. She may have all the strengths and/or positive attributes of a species but none of the weaknesses/negative traits.

7. Mary Sue is strong. Even though her arms look like sticks she can throw a three hundred pound beast of a man across the room with little to no trouble at all. She knows fifty two different fighting styles and is an expert at every one.

8. Mary Sue suddenly becomes weak in the presence of a love interest!

9. Mary Sue is always getting hurt/kidnapped and needs major rescuing.

10. Mary Sue is unique. She has powers that no one else has. She has an unusual eye or hair color. She is from an unusual species. She has a weapon that no one else has. She smells like roses and cherries without the aid of perfume or shampoo. The maker puts so much trouble into making the character "unique" that they in fact become obnoxiously generic as a result.

11. Mary Sue has a sad past sob sob! One or more of her parents are dead, she was abandoned, abused, bullied, had no friends, watched someone die right in front of her, was the only survivor of a holocaust, etc.

12. Mary Sue has super special awesome powers. They have no limits and rarely diminish very much if at all. If she has weaknesses they are totally stupid "without real consequences" weaknesses, like being adorably clumsy.

13. Mary Sue is SOOPER TALENTED, and probably in something superficial like singing or dancing. ALL MARY SUES FUCKING SING!!!!! ALL THE TIME!!!! WITH NO REASON OR PROVOCATION TO DO SO!!! THEY MAKE ME HATE MUSIC!!!!

14. Mary Sue can do anything if she tries. Once. The second she starts doing something she is super amazing at it, better than anyone else except for the masters, and maybe even better than them.

15. Mary Sue is a teenager. Mary Sue is a wangsty whiny teen and even if they are a hundred years old they look like a teenager.

16. All animals instinctively love Mary Sue. She's her own personal Dr. Doolittle and probably has a legion of mystical familiars at her beck and call. Even wild animals become utterly tame around Mary Sue and would never hurt a fly.

17. Mary Sue is filled with love for everybody, no matter how they treat her or who they are. Come on, even the nicest of nice people have individuals they don't particularly enjoy. But she's just SO FILLED WITH LUUUURVE! And because she is so filled with lurve she feels the need to save every single breathing creature in anything less than a wondertastical situation. She will probably end up freeing an enslaved peoples and become their hero-goddess one day.

18. Mary Sue has an unnecessarily fancy-ass/dramatic name, or a name that is only one word with no last name, and/or her name is Japanese no matter what her heritage. Like DeMystica Krystalia Karina Leshana Wan, or Keiko, or Darkness.

19. Mary Sue is wapanese. Even if she isn't from Japan, she has a Japanese name, uses a Japanese weapon, and says Japanese terms. If they are from Japan, they are very stereotypical. They love anime, live off of sushi and pocky (because those are the only foods that exist in Japan!), bastardize Japanese customs, wear kimonos (the only clothes that exist in Japan!) that are probably barely long enough to reach below their lacy panties (because that's how traditional kimonos look in Japan!), and scream "BAKA!" and "KAWAII!" all the time (because those are the only words that exist in Japan!).

20. Mary Sue saves the day. All the time. Even when there is nothing stopping other characters from doing so.

21. More effort is spent describing the appearance, clothing and possessions of the Sue than is spent actually adding to the story.

22. Mary Sue has very modern/Western thoughts. In the 18th century she wants to wear pants and be a lawyer, in Egypt she thinks slavery is wrong (even if she is a noble herself), she has no problems with extramarital sex (remember the slut thing we went over?).

23. Mary Sue's opinions are always right. Mary Sue is Christian, because that is the only way to go! Mary Sue doesn't like dogs, so they all must be mean and want to bite everybody! Anyone who goes against the Sue is either a. a meany stupid face or b. a poor naive individual who must be taught the error of their ways. It's not their fault that they have been so mislead. Much like the tween playing her, Mary Sue is naive and judgmental and has absolutely no idea that she is.

24. Mary Sue does not have to be historically or culturally accurate. Hell, if she wants to wear jeans and a short kimono in ancient Persia, then she can go ahead and do it, goddamn it!

25. Mary Sue is TTLY INTUITIVE. She can liek ttly understand the feelings of liek the treeees and see into the futuuuur and liek read ur miiiind.

26. Mary Sue is a fucking super genius.

27. Did I mention that she sings? Because all Mary Sues sing. Very well. There is no such thing as an imperfect voice in Sue Land.

28. Everything Mary Sue does is justified. If they beat on someone, they deserved it. If she smashed through the wall of a house chasing a burglar, she doesn't need to bother paying the poor fuck who owned it. It wasn't her fault! Jezuz Christ ur so insensitive!

29. Mary Sue has all the frivolities she wants. Even if she has no tangible source of income.

30. Mary Sue always looks her best even when she shouldn't i.e. she's been a fighter for years and has no lasting/unattractive scars, she works in a mine and never gets too dirty, she never takes a shower and still is sexy fresh, etc.

31. Logic and common sense? If you're writing a Sue, throw it right out the window! So what if she has the power of the sky dragon sealed within her, she is still captured and raped by a cruel slave master because she needs something reaaaaally pitiful and depressing in that backstory of hers! She needs money? Why take some from your immense family fortune when you can make a WHOLE SIXTEENTH of that working as a mercenary, which is super cool and awesome and will totes get you attention? PFFFFF. Ridiculous. If it gets your character more attention or makes her sound more awesome and badass, WHO CARES if it doesn't make any sense?

I know this is a lot to cover, and it may make it seem like any character is a Sue unless they are a plain, boring human. The thing is that characters with traits that may be seen as "Sue" can indeed be pulled off and made into a likable, interesting character, as long as there are not too many of these traits or if they are played well. For example, I will use my own character, Clarice. Yes, she is unusually beautiful. She comes from a secluded clan in northern Ireland different from anywhere else on earth. However, she is very aware of her attractiveness (no false modesty here) and uses it to her advantage to get money, etc. out of guys when she needs it. She is dirt poor and if she wants something, she has to either steal or work for it (or charm for it, as afore mentioned). She has only one wearable set of clothes because of said poorness and it is not at all fanciful. Since she is always out at sea, she is covered head to toe with freckles, and her hands are roughly calloused and scarred. She is a capable fighter in a time period where this was unusual for a woman, but it is normal where she comes from and she is not able to magically and conveniently defeat an opponent who may be stronger than her. She has only been romantically involved with one man in her life (Sues are sluts) and it is her current boyfriend, who is nearly a foot shorter than her and who is nearly as dirt poor as she is. She likes to get drunk in taverns and sing on the table (no, she is not particularly good. All Sues have the voice of an angel). See how the traits even out? Think of these "Sue" traits as spices: used in the right amount, they make a wonderful character, but too many and they'll make you gag.

Your head spinning? Any questions I will gladly answer, just leave it in a comment.

Character Development Guideby linawifeofL

Literature / Prose / Non-Fiction / Academic Essays©2009-2014 linawifeofL
Knowledge fer joos all!

This is ever being only gets better and better...

Works cited: [link]

Copyright of me, do not copy or distribute without permission

For more helpful and possibly snarky, sarcastic and hilarious aides:

Cliches to Avoid: [link] [link]
Female Characters: [link] [link] [link] [link]
Male Characters: [link] [link] [link] [link]
Villains: [link] [link]
Animal Characters: [link] [link]
Non-Human Characters: [link]
What to Avoid: [link]
How to Spot and Cure a Sue: [link]
Historical European Martial Arts: [link]

And since many characters are rp characters...

How Not to RP: [link]
Add a Comment:
VexisDuHast187 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I found this very useful, miss!

But question, if your character had a parent who went through a faulty test/etc and was genetically modified to do thw wrong thing such as periodically transform into another creature, and had this DNA transferred into themself, would this be considered a Mary Sue? And in creation of my character I pulled from myself, including a small knowledge in the medical field, and a small range of weapons she was required to learn to use. Your thoughts, please?
Robotic-Mind Featured By Owner May 18, 2014
"... justify any actions made by the character that are seen as unfavourable by others, ie "Well he destroyed the city and killed many innocent people because his father abused him! Don't be such an insensitive dick!"."

Now, I fixed this phrase.

"Just because your father abused you, doesn't mean you can destroy the city and kill many innocent people! Don't be such an insensitive dick!"
Robotic-Mind Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014
amewaalk Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this and I'm not even done with the personality part XD  
This is amazing.  Gracias (:
Twilit-Imp Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
How's this for a character (And trust me, she is anything BUT a Sue)
Half-Twili Half-Human (Yes she is a half breed DEAL WITH IT)
Anger management
Screws up sometimes
Occasionally acts random
Magic (Twili. Zelda. It fits. DEAL!)
Deals with things well but still has emotions
Messes up under pressure (Who wouldn't?)
Sometimes casts spells on people either for the heck of it or punishment (Sadistic nature)
How is she? Her name is Twilit, 'cause she's me. In my mind, anyway.
Panhead13 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Student General Artist
I'd say she's clear, but has a slight potential to go Sue-crazy. not much though
Twilit-Imp Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I try and keep her in check ^^
Animeartist124 Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
shine bright.
Twilit-Imp Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
linawifeofL Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
you da one
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