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The Haven Herald

The Mary Sue Litmus Test



Do you like to write fanfiction?
Do you want to get a lot of reviews?
Do you have a killer Original Character who is going to blow Artemis off of his feet?

If you answered yes to all of those questions… well, good luck.

Not to say that there’s anything wrong with original characters, but there’s some things that you might want to avoid when writing about one.

You may think “Oh, I have an amazing character, she’s half vampire, half werewolf, have fairy, and a super genius. But she doesn’t know it yet. Artemis will love her, and everybody will want to read my story and its awesomeness because my character, Julionisia, a name that means beautiful magic in her language, is totally going to beat him at his own game. Even better! She’ll be a secret princess who is related to the Butlers’! Nobody will be able to resist her charm. I’m going to get so many reviews!”
Think again. When writing a fanfiction, there are many clichés to avoid. An OC needs to be original, interesting, and realistic all in one. A perfect character gets boring and old much too quickly, every writer wants theirs to be perfect.

In a fanfiction terms, a perfect character is called a Mary Sue for a female, or Gary Stu for a male one. Good writer’s avoid them like the plague. In fact, they are the difference between a piece of art and a piece of… well, you know.

So here is a little test to determine whether or not your character is a Mary Sue. This test is generally meant for romantic interest characters, but can be used for other ones as well.

Keep in mind, the main characters of the books are very likely to score highly on the test. The reason for this is that they are the reason these traits are Mary Sue in this fandom.

Artemis is a very original character. A girl exactly like Artemis is not, because they copied the first version.

So, give it a go!


If your character is as smart as Artemis, add five points
—If she is smarter than Artemis, add eight points instead
If your character has slightly above average intelligence, add one point
If your character has average intelligence, don’t do anything
If your character has low intelligence, subtract five points
If your character is gorgeous, add five points
If your character is slightly pretty, add three points
If your character is average looking, don’t do anything
If your character is ugly, subtract five points
If the character has any distinguishing features, such as beautiful eyes of an odd colour, or amazing hair, add three points
If the character has a scar that doesn’t take away from their beauty, add four points
If the character has a scar that does take away from their beauty, subtract five points
If your character is a mythological beast not mentioned in the original books, add nine points
If your character is part fairy, part human, or any sort of mythical beast, add nine points
If your character is not fairy, or is part fairy/mythical creature, and has magic, add five points
If your character is rich add four points
—If your character became rich with their brains, and brought up from poverty, add another four points
If Artemis fell in love/like with your character at first sight or soon afterwards, add five points
If Artemis is a bumbling teenager, and looses his cool in front of your character, add five points.
If your character has extreme athletic ability that rivals the Butlers’, add five points
If your character has some sort of animal familiar, add two points
If your character has no parents, add three points (Guardians are not considered parents)
If your character has one parent, add one point
If your character has both parents, subtract one point
If your character’s guardian is cruel, then add five points
If your character has amnesia, add four points
If your character has a mysterious past, add four points
If your character has a tragic past, add four points
If your character has dealt with fairies before, add four points (Unless they are a pure fairy)
If your character has some sort of object that connects them to their past, add three points
—If this object is magical, or fairy in nature, add another three points (unless they are a pure fairy)
—If this object is hiding something, or is a clue/puzzle, add another three points
If your character is kind hearted, add four points
If your character hides their kind heart with cruelty, add five points
If your character has a beautiful singing voice, add three points
If your character has exceptional musical abilities, add two points
If your character is based off you, add eight points
If your character is based off who you would like to be, add ten points
If your character is based off of a friend, or a boy/girlfriend, add five points
If your character looks like you, add five points
If your character has the same hobbies as you, add three points
If your character has the same/a similar name to yours, add four points
—(It is possible to make a non-Mary Sue character while basing it off of yourself or someone else, but it is extremely rare, nearly impossible to find. If you don’t think that your character is a Mary-sue, but s/he’s based off of you, check for the obvious signs, is s/he pretty? Smart? Funny? Did Artemis fall madly in love with him/her? Does s/he read interesting books, and rarely make mistakes? Is Artemis a bumbling teenage boy in front of him/her? Does she share the beliefs that you believe are absolutely right?)
If your character is thin add five points
If your character is curvy/muscular add five points
If your character is overweight, subtract five points
If your character is popular or has a lot of friends, add three points
If your character is a loner that people like anyway, add four points
If your character is a good dancer, add four points
If your character is an impressive gymnast, add four points
If your character is an expert on a particularly difficult intellectual subject, add four points
If your character has unusual interests add three points
If your character is extremely modest add two points
If your character is shy, but opens up throughout the story add two points
If your character does not believe in his/herself despite their remarkable abilities add two points
If your character is arrogant, but in a cute, justified way add two points
If your character is over arrogant and over-estimates his/herself often subtract five points

30 and up: Your character is just too perfect. Everybody has flaws, find his/hers. How likely is a person to have a tragic past, and still turn out smart, pretty, and all together a perfect match for Artemis?

29-25: Your character is in the danger zone, watch out, you may have a unbelievably extraordinary person on your hands. You can get away with them though.

24-11: Your character is somewhat normal, and can be found in every day life. While there are some spectacular aspects about them, they are easy to believe and relate to. A very good character, original and real.

10 and under: Your character is a little bit boring. S/he wouldn’t be in an Artemis Fowl story for nothing! Give him/her a few charms and quirks to make the story fun to read.


So, how did you fare? Does your character need tweaking, or are they perfect the way that they are?
Originality, ironically, is a must in fanfiction. So try and follow these tips to make yours a better read.

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Comments on This Post

37 responses to “The Haven Herald.” Join in!

  1. Mentos_not_mental March 17th, 2008 at 1:29 pm 1

    Oh yay! Another Haven Herald! Wow, the major changes in this one really make it better. I liked the is your character a mary sue test thingy. Hmm… the comics won’t show, but I think thats my computer’s problem. Anyhoo, Congrats to everyone who won. 🙂
    Great job everyone who worked on this edition of the Haven Herald! It was once again, totally awesome!

  2. Hmm… the comics won’t show, but I think thats my computer’s problem.

    No, it’s not your computer… The server where I uploaded that comic
    collapsed early today… That comic was working last night! I’ll fix it
    as soon as possible [which is a few hours since I am in school right

    And thanks for pointing it out. Otherwise, I may not have noticed! XD

  3. Awesome issue! But I can’t see the comic… Congratulations to HollyShort9 for being member of the month! Congratulations to holly_s for being newbie of the Month! Congratulations to PhoenixRSA for winning the contest! And congratulations to everyone who won an award!

  4. Brilliant job guys!!!!!Congratulations to all the winners!You guys deserve it!Brilliant articles,great pics!!!Loved it!

  5. This issue rocks.
    It looks so good!
    But nobody has filled out the survey! (Hint hint)

    Awesome job to people who aren’t me!
    And congrats Elseworld winners. 😀 Your stories rock!

  6. I loved the intro to the HH! Keep it up!

  7. I can’t see the comics! TT

  8. Hey guys! Great issue. Love the changes! Sorry I haven’t been on in forever. Very busy. Too busy to write full sentences.
    EXTREME CONGRATS EVERYONE WHO WON THE FANFICTION CONTEST! I ran out of time to write mine. I wouldn’t have won anything anyway. Those are way better than mine ever would be!
    Shoot, Opal, you made my Trance character sound like a total Mary Sue! 44 points, at least. Made me completely abandon my Life of Lies story, too. *rushes to the Word Processor and makes major changes to character.* Damn you! Joking, joking. Thanks for pointing out the flaws.


  9. WOW! I relly liked this month’s issue! It was brilliant! And congratulations to all the winners! 😀

  10. Congrat to all who won!!!!!! *claps*
    i love this issue, and the idea of having comic is brillant! i’ll go to fill the servey after this.
    Oh, i want to see SPIDERWICK (movie),i like Freedie Highmore’s movie, he acts so good. My Dad is going to bring me to cinima this Sunday!
    And…. can’t want for The Time Paradox!!!!!

  11. Great Issue guys! Keep working at it!!! Amazing job!!!

    And lol!!! I LOVED the intro exceedingly creativa and original!!!

    And the grapics are amazing!!!

  12. Target Aquired March 19th, 2008 at 4:15 am 12

    Nice! I really liked the “Mary-Sue” character guide; man I catch myself doing that. -hand/forehead- Also, the comic… well that was just hilarious. Poor Arty…

  13. Hey there,Thank you for mentioning Rosy and me on your brilliant blog. Fanfiction is a great way to start writing. I’m guessing some of your readers are younger than me (my daughter is 20) and for writers of all ages, fanfiction is an excellent way to learn writing skills and to share your work with a (hopefully) willing audience.I used to write stories when I was at junior school but stopped until I was 42 – when North & South came on TV and inspired me and a lot of other people.  My one piece of writing advice? DON’T wait until you are that old to start writing! Forget about what other people might say and just do it. You never know where it might lead and if you enjoy writing, don’t let anyone stop you.By the way, my first book, Decent Exposure, has been optioned for a TV movie by Fox. I don’t know if it will be made – but it all stems fom writing fanfic. I’m sure Rosy will come here and tell you her view on fanfic too.Phillipa Ashley

  14. […] is so cool. I got mentioned (with Rosy Thornton) on the Fowl Fanfiction. I am so proud to have begun my novel career as a fanfiction author. Fanfiction mus be the biggest […]

  15. Rosy Thornton March 19th, 2008 at 10:33 am 15

    Great article! Like Phillipa, I’m another oldie, who didn’t discover fanfic – and through it, fiction writing generally – until I was a mum. But fanfic is certainly a great training ground for writers – limbering up using someone else’s characters and settings is such an easy way to begin, and the support, friendship and feedback available on sites like this are brilliant. Then you can go on from there to develop your own original stories if you want – or just carry on sharing the characters you love with others who love them, too. Neither Phillipa nor I had written any fiction before we tried out hand at fanfic in 2005 – and now we each have our third novel ready for publication later in the year and are working on our fourth…

  16. Absolutely LOVE the Cartoon Artemis!AS an artist I can really say Well Done.Keep it up!

  17. Ah, cool.
    I can’t believe you guys came on to our lil’ newsletter. 😀
    Thanks for the advice. Your stories are pretty amazing.

  18. ArtemisFowl III March 20th, 2008 at 7:56 pm 18

    That comic was HILARIOUS!!!!!!

  19. OH NOOO!!! I entered the wrong story! Editors! Just so you know, that contest entry was the wrong one! Untimely meeting was the one that should have been entered! I REALLY should have deleted a fatal mistake! That was my worst story ever! Please remove my entry! I forfeit my title! Just PLEASE don’t let people see that one! Untimely meeting should have gotten credit!

  20. Oh…well, I guess it wasn’t TOO bad…OMG! That Haven Herald banner is just beautiful! The comic was hilarious! I hope to see more in the future!

  21. Yeah! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FANFICTION, ARTEMIS!!! Y’all should do more of these themed newsletters!

  22. O.O
    I got best fanfic…

    And I haven’t even been visiting this site for the past two months…

    I love you guys.

  23. I was a smidge disappointed my story wasn’t qualified, and my brother agrees non-cannon sequals should have been accepted, but I’m glad Pheonix won. She is an acceptional writer.

  24. Another great issue, guys! 🙂

    The link to the fan art of the month is incorrect, I think. Or at least, I’m not being directed to the picture described.

  25. No, it’s correct. That’s the picture I described.

  26. Oh- it’s right for me now too. Either it got fixed, or my computer was just being weird that day (it does that).

  27. It’s not your computer; I fixed it. XD Sorry for not letting you know by commenting.

  28. ArTeMiS FoWl FaN April 3rd, 2008 at 11:35 pm 28

    dude i love the have hearld. if u read fowl fan fiction read artemis fowl the last lockdown. it my first fan fic

  29. DANG! 2 of my characters are Mary-Sue! gosh that test seemed impossible I mean add nine points add five points add 3 points no wonder I came up with 47! oh well… It can’t all be true! can it?

  30. 5ywjk5wsy7k

  31. Wow, You know I didnt like the alternative ending, whole war thing. I thought It was Overdone. Tell why I’m so blind but why was that good. And what is wrong with the weirdo, hjzsryj ?

  32. great issue!!!
    i like reading some fanfics but i can’t write any…i just never know how to end a story XD
    the comic was really funny!!!! poor artemis… his being controlled 😛

  33. I love the intro and the comic

  34. *first comment dance that’s not on fanfiction* I ♥ the comic! My fav part! I also liked the Mary Sue and Gary Stu test thingamigig. That helps a lot! Comic rocks. ‘ with fanfiction, we basicly own your soul, Artemis.’ Hee-Hee! PS: How do you become one of the Haven Herald team? It sounds like a great job! Excellent everybody who helped make this! It’s awesome.

  35. ah. wha?

  36. It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of susnhine.

  37. That saves me. Thanks for being so snsebile!

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