Mary Sue

Ever have a character who's impossible to nail down?  I have a minor character right now who is giving me fits.  Her voice isn't the problem.  I just can't figure out what her "thing" is.  Her defining characteristic.  Her deepest need.  Right now, she feels kind of scattered.  I know all these different aspects of her personality, but they don't feel cohesive yet.

I think J.K. Rowling is a master at this.  Name any Harry Potter character, I can probably tell you what his or her "thing" is.

Hagrid?  Gruff teddy bear.  Molly Weasley?  Worrywart mom.  Fred and George Weasley?  Troublemaking jokesters.

Yet, not a single one of her characters, even the most minor, feels one-dimensional.

Yep.  I've got a Mary Sue on my hands.

What's a nice, mean tic I could give her?

9 comments:

  1. Karen, maybe being "scattered" IS her thing. Either that, or she is hiding something. She has a secret, so she is careful not to reveal too much of herself. That, in itself, could be her deepest need.

    Good luck with her!

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  2. I agree with Fran. Being scattered is a personality trait and one that I suffer with daily :) Good luck!

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  3. A compulsive collector of Breyer horses ...

    LOL -- sorry, but I used to have a friend named Mary Sue when I was little and all she did was brag about her humungous horse collection. I think she went on to be some millionaire raising real horses.

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  4. I love love LOVE your descriptions of those Harry Potter characters. Spot on! Good point about her writing.

    Hmmm...a Mary Sue that needs a tic? I'm envisioning a little overcontrolling. Maybe random bursts of nervousness too.

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  5. I love all the ideas! I'm actually going a little off and making her a gossip. It fits with the plot, but I'm waiting to see if I actually like it. She's not as likable as she was...

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  6. Lol, I like what the other commenters said--being scattered is her thing. Or maybe she only eats orange foods. Maybe she can only talk in textese!

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  7. It occurs to me that if I incorporate all the suggestions, she'll be a typical 2 year-old. :)

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  8. I'm jumping in here a little late, but I agree with Fran. "Scattered" is a great personality trait that you could have lots of fun with. And for some reason it makes me think of Polly Horvath's books. Have you read EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE or THE TROLLS or my favorite for the characters, THE CANNING SEASON with the great aunts, Tilly and Penpen?

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  9. I would like to more know about it. asthma

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