Marty Stu, I Don’t Want You

Dear Marty Stu,

I know what you’re thinking: “Who cares if you want me? You’re one in a billion girls! It’s no loss – there are still plenty of readers to fawn over my good looks and angsty past!”

"What do you mean you don't love me?" Source: cracked.com

“What do you mean you don’t love me?”
Source: cracked.com

Well, yes. You’re right Marty. There will always be readers who love you and your ridiculously handsome face but I for one am looking for someone different. Let’s just say it’s me, not you. You will find the perfect girl one day, but that girl is not me etc.

For those who don’t know, a Marty Stu is the generally agreed upon term for the male variant of the Mary Sue. He’s good looking, he might be mysterious and more often than not, he’s a bit of a noob who does things for the female protagonist because it’s “what’s best for her” (seriously, if you want to know what’s best for her – JUST ASK HER.).

Now, I don’t have anything against good looking people (not many people do, to be honest), but the astounding amount of cookie cutter male characters is starting to grate. Not only do they contribute to the unrealistic expectations of men in general, but it’s just getting so boring.

So Marty Stu, I want you to remember that you don’t always have to be heroic. Everyday people aren’t always heroic human beings and you can let yourself be vulnerable or dare I say it; realistic.

I also want you to know that you don’t have to be a human embodiment of perfection. People are flawed – both in character and in physical looks and that’s a beautiful thing.

And I want you to remember that you don’t need a tragic backstory to be interesting. You could be the most average Joe whose life’s blood comes from getting your morning coffee from the little café down the road. I don’t want you to get confused with the differences between character complexity and having angst for the sake of attracting readers, who then get roped in under the premise that another character can “save you from yourself” or set you on the road to redemption.

But perhaps most of all, I want you to be yourself. You can be a character with your own agency outside your love interest. You can be whatever you want to be without worrying whether you would sell books because there will always be at least one girl/boy out there who loves you for who you are.

So I suppose this is goodbye Marty. I’ve had a good time reading about your perfection but it is time to move on*.

Love,

Not Another Mary Sue

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: From all the books you’ve read, who do you classify as the biggest Marty Stu?

* By move on, I mean talk to me on my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr! #readoutsidethebox

“Not Being Like Other Girls” & Milk Crate Rage

Many moons ago (it was probably only one), I referred to this Tumblr user who vehemently believes many things such as the idea that Batman is a Mary Sue (I digress), Mary Sue’s are often targeted towards female characters (I agree) and that female characters are often classed as Mary Sue’s because they are feminine and they get what they want (I digress again).

A segment I want to focus on today is the following from the original post:

“Why does someone falling in love with her make her a Mary Sue? Well, she hasn’t “earned” this awesome dude character’s love. What has she done to show she’s worthy of him?”

To be honest, I understand where she’s coming from. A few scrolls down my Tumblr dashboard reveal random spouts of hate/vitriol/condemnation for female characters that have a relationship with the main guy and very rarely do I ever see a post where someone says that he doesn’t deserve her (and not in an angsty/romantic way either).

It’s a problem for sure but being the professional fence sitter that I am, I don’t believe that Mary Sue’s are Mary Sue’s because they haven’t “earned” love or proved that they are “worthy”.

Frankly, I often consider them to be Mary Sue’s because there is absolutely no substantial lead up to these so called “relationships”. She doesn’t need to earn his love or show she’s worthy but some sort of hint as to why the characters are attracted to each other is good. For example, maybe she’s a professional hyena breeder and her stories remind him of that awesome time he had in Africa to celebrate his wisdom tooth removal anniversary?

Remember, it’s also important to note that this is a two way street. Too often, guys in books settle for the “I don’t know why, but there’s something about you that’s different to all the other girls” line which I hate with a fiery passion that can only be matched by my intense dislike for café’s that use milk crates as chairs.

My heart knows rage when I see one of these at a café. Source: Creative Commons/Flickr

My heart knows rage when I see one of these at a café.
Source: Creative Commons/Flickr

First of all, not only is it biologically impossible to actually be the same as other girls (unless human cloning happened and nobody told me) but for goodness sake, WHAT IS THAT SOMETHING? In any story, whether it be in a book, film or television show, character and plot is what drives it. People need to take the time and effort to develop characters that actually have a personality with their own motives, interests and backstory that are not in direct relevance with their love interest. Simply saying that magical love-at-first-sight happened is not good enough unless a love potion is involved. I need to know enough about these characters to see what makes them tick and why they behave the way they do.

Loki wants to know why fictional characters do what they do. Source: gif-central.blogspot.com

Loki wants to know why fictional characters do what they do.
Source: gif-central.blogspot.com

In summary: A character is not a Mary Sue/Marty Stu if they fall in love with each other, but it does make me raise my eyebrows if there is no basis as to why the characters like each other.

As always, thanks for sticking with me and please let me know what you think about my rage with this “Not being like other girls/guys” BS. Is this just me? Am I crazy? (Check yes and yes for both)

Till next time #readoutsidethebox,

Not Another Mary Sue

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What other Mary Sue’isms annoy the hell out of you? Or like the Tumblr user I mentioned above, do you not believe in the concept of a Mary Sue at all?