Highlander Fan Fiction » The Highlander Mary Sue/Larry Stu Litmus Test


by Farquarson

Disclaimers: Duncan MacLeod, Connor MacLeod, Methos, Richie Ryan, Joe
Dawson, Amanda, Kronos, Evil Methos, the Kurgan, the Watchers, the Hunters,
and the concepts of Immortality and Quickenings belong to Rysher
Entertainment, to Gaumont Television, to Panzer/Davis Productions, and to
Gregory Widen, not to me. I'm not making any money from this.

This test is based on "The Mary Sue Litmus Test" by Melissa Reimer, which was
designed to help an aspiring author tell if the character he or she is
writing about is a Mary Sue, or one of the myriad original characters in
fanfic. However, Melissa's test focuses primarily on Gargoyles and Star Trek
fanfic. Other authors have adapted Melissa's test for their favorite fandoms,
but no one has adapted it for Highlander.

Until now.

But before we get started, just what is a "Mary Sue"? Here's Melissa's

*You already know Mary Sue. Mary Sue is the perky, bright, helpful
sixteen-year-old ensign who beams about the ship. Everyone on the ship likes
Mary Sue, because Mary Sue is good at everything. Mary Sue is an engineer, a
doctor in training, a good leader, an excellent cook, and is usually a
beautiful singer. Mary Sue often has mental powers that may manifest
themselves as telepathy, precognition, or magic. If Mary Sue is very young,
she is often the offspring of one or two already established characters. If
she's a little older, she will probably end up sleeping with the author's
favorite character. Her name is often the author's name, be it a net name, a
favored nickname, or the author's middle name (this is seen in the most
famous Mary Sue of all time, Wesley Crusher, who was named after Trek creator
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry). By the end of the story, Mary Sue will be in bed
with the desired character, will have beamed away amid cheers from all the
regulars, or will be dead, usually accompanied by heavy mourning from the
cast. The reader, on the other hand, will be celebrating. BTW, Mary Sue's
twin brother can often be identified by his brooding, solitary behaviour,
matched by his maverick disregard for authority.*

To those who are going to come after me with flaming torches, screaming that
I am attacking their favorite stories--yes, many of the questions were drawn
from Highlander fanfic. Others were drawn from some of my stories which,
mercifully, were never published. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about.

Although I'm using all feminine pronouns in this test for the sake of
clarity, please remember that Mary Sues can also be male.

Scoring: Answer each question "Yes" or "No." For each "Yes" answer give
yourself one point. Add up all the points to get your score.

Thanks to my beta, jam-wired, for proofing this and for coming up with a slew
of useful suggestions.

And now, on with the test:

Section 1 - What's Your Name?

1) Is the character named after you? (This can be your first name, middle name, or
the name you go by in cyberspace.)

If so, stop now. Put your mouse down, stop keyboarding and turn in your test.

2) Does the character have a really cool and/or unusual first name that you wish you
had? Like Scarlett? Sky? Hunter? Mhari?

3) Does the character have more than one name? (i.e., a nickname or an alias?)

a) Is the character's name or nickname a "cutesy" one?

b) Is the character's name and/or nickname oddly spelled (Kymburrlee instead of Kimberly)?

c) If she uses aliases in her daily life, does she always manage to incorporate the same
name, or part of the same name, in her aliases?

4) Is her last name MacLeod, Dawson, Ryan or Pierson?

a) If her last name is MacLeod, is she a member of, or a descendant of, Duncan and
Connor MacLeod's clan?

5) Did you spend more than a day looking for just the right name?

6) Have you named or considered naming your pet or child the character's name?

Section 2 - The Face In The Mirror

7) Is the character the same gender as you?

8) Is the character from the same racial group and/or ethnic background as you?

(Note: "Racial group" does *not* refer to the human race and/or the Immortal

9) Is the character too young to legally drink alcohol (below 21)?

10) Does she drink anyway?

11) Does the character *look* like she is younger than 21?

a) For a particular reason?

b) That you plan on making a plot point later?

12) Is the character drop-dead gorgeous or ruggedly handsome?

13) Does one or more of the regulars find the character highly attractive?

14) Do other regulars see her as a threat because of this?

15) Does the character have an unusual hair and/or eye color for no apparent reason?
Does she, for instance, have hair that is described as "chestnut locks," "golden tresses,"
or "blue-black waves"? Are her eyes violet, amber, crystal green, etc., without the use
of contacts?

a) Will the unusual hair/eye color be a plot point later? If not, do you wax lyrical about her
hair and/or eyes anyway?

16) Does the character do any one thing better than any of the regulars? (We're talking
fighting skills, technological abilities, etc.)

a) Does the character do MORE than one thing better?

b) Does the character do EVERYTHING better?

17) If she just became an Immortal VERY recently, does she wield a sword better than
characters who have hundreds, even thousands of years more experience?

18) Is the character as perfect as you can make her, without any character flaws?

(Note: Things like "He's too loyal to his friends" and "She doesn't know how
to sing" are NOT character flaws. One is an excess of virtue; the other is a
lack of talent. Character flaws are things like pride, obstinacy, a
hair-trigger temper, an inability to accept that he/she is not always right,
greed (not necessarily for money or property), laziness, envy, jealousy, etc.)

Section 3 - Written In Your History

19) Is the character the long-lost child, descendant, sibling or relative
of a regular or recurring character?

20) Is the character the long-lost child, descendant, sibling or relative
of a *lover* of a regular or recurring character?

21) Is your character the long-lost child, descendant, sibling or
relative of an *enemy* of a regular or recurring character?

a) Is the character Joe Dawson's hitherto unknown child?

b) If so, do Joe Dawson and the character bond immediately?

22) Is the character a woman who was formerly a slave of the Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

a) Who suffered terribly?

b) And who has utterly forgiven Methos for all of his crimes against her,
and the Horsemen for all of theirs?

23) Is the character an Immortal who is older than Methos?

24) Does the character have a twin (male or female), a clone, or a
sibling of the same gender, about whom you plan on writing another story later?

25) Does the character have a superb singing voice?

26) Does the character play a musical instrument extraordinarily well? The piano,
for instance? Or the guitar?

27) Does the character listen to classical music, opera, Gregorian
chants, etc., rather than the music that most people listen to?

28) Does the character do what you do for fun or profit? (This includes
having the same job you have, or would like to have when you're older, or
having a job that sounds like a lot of fun even though you know nothing about

29) Does the character insult the regulars constantly and/or show a
blatant disregard for authority?

a) Does she get away with this stuff?

30) Does everyone end up liking the character (among the regulars you like)?

a) In spite of her bad attitude?

Section 4 - All The Right Moves

The Bad Guys:

31) Is the character a Hunter?

32) Is the character one of Kronos's/Evil Methos's/the Kurgan's most "trusted" students?

33) Is the character the Immortal adopted child of Watchers/Hunters?

a) But doesn't find out about her Immortality until the middle or end of the
story, or will find out in a future story you already have planned?

34) Is the character currently being actively hunted by an OKC (original K'Immortal
Character) without knowing why she is being hunted?

The Good Guys:

35) Does the character, although she is not Immortal, have special
fighting skills anyway?

a) Skills that we never hear of until a fight scene when she mops the floor with the
bad guys, leaving MacLeod, Connor, Richie, Methos and/or Amanda nothing to do
except to stand there dumbfounded at her astonishing abilities?

36) Is she consistently referred to as a "genius" without any evidence to
back the claim?

(Lawrence Block quotes a cartoon showing a school principal
patiently telling a rebellious boy, "It's not enough to be a genius, Arnold.
You've got to be a genius *at* something.")

37) Does the character have any psionic abilities (telepathy,
telekinesis, empathy, precognition, etc.?), even if only with a sibling or

38) Does the character just "know things" for no apparent reason?

39) Is she always right about the things she "just knows"?

40) Does the character instinctively know how to fight with a sword, even
though she has never picked one up before?

41) Can the character heal with a touch and/or thought?

42) Do animals instinctively like the character? (If the character has
animal empathy, answer "Yes".)

Section 5 - Love Is In The Air

43) Does the character fall in love with and/or have sex with Duncan,
Methos, Richie, Connor, Joe, Amanda and/or Kronos? (And if anyone writes a
story with all seven "ANDs", don't send me a copy.)

a) Does the character fall in love with and/or have sex with another recurring
character from the show?

b) With whom *you* would like to fall in love and/or have sex?

c) Does the character fall in love with and/or have sex with another original character?

d) With whom *you* would like to fall in love and/or have sex?

44) Does at least one of the regulars fall madly, irrevocably, hopelessly in love
when he/she first sees your character?

45) Does the story end with the character's wedding?

46) Does the story end with the character getting pregnant, or adopting a
pre-Immortal infant?

Section 6 - Meanwhile, Back in the Real World...

47) Would you like to be friends with the character if you met in real life?

48) Do you think everyone who reads the story should automatically like
the character and want to be friends with the character?

49) If someone tells you s/he doesn't like your character, do you take it
as a personal attack on you? (C'mon, be honest.)

50) Do you ever pretend, just to yourself, that you are the character,
with the same strengths and abilities? (Role-playing games do not count;
story plotting sessions do not count; private fantasies of you being the
character in THIS reality do.)

Section 7 - The Plot Thickens

51) Do you introduce the character on the first page of the story?

a) Before any of the regulars appear?

52) Do you tell the story primarily from the character's point of view?

53) Does the character meet the members of "Clan MacLeod" in Seacouver or
Paris, and after a few tense pages of plot, become friends with them?

54) Does the character, without having any contact with the Watchers,
figure out instantly what the Immortals are?

a) Or that they're "different" from other people?

b) Without any prior knowledge of Immortality?

c) After the character either discovers or deduces the existence of Immortals,
does she also discover the existence of the Watchers?

55) Does the character manage to develop a friendship with an otherwise
villainous character, and through this friendship, reform the other character?

a) Is the villain in question Kronos/Caspian/Evil Methos/Kurgan?

b) Does the villain become evil again after the character dies, but retain some
last vestige of goodness from his/her interaction with the character, illustrated
by in one selfless action at the end of the story?

56) Does the character become an Immortal during the course of the story?

57) Does she instantly become a student of Duncan, Connor, Richie, or

58) Has the character's new teacher said earlier in this story that he
will never, ever take on another student for the rest of his life?

59) Is this an alternate reality where the character has always been part
of the regulars' lives?

60) Does she save the day and/or another character's life?

a) Through use of her superior fighting skills/firepower?

b) Through dying permanently?

c) Does everyone go into mourning?

d) Does she return miraculously from the dead by the end of the story?

(Note: This applies to Immortal characters if the other characters had good
reason to believe she had been decapitated. For mortal characters, it applies
to all forms of death in which a normal mortal would have perished, but from
which this character just walked away.)

e) Does she return miraculously from the dead in the sequel?

61) Does the character end up living in Seacouver or Paris?

a) With one of the other regulars (on the barge, in the loft, at
the apartments of Methos or Richie, etc.)?

b) On a permanent basis?

62) Do you plan on basing all your future stories around this particular

Now compare your total score to the list below:

Possible Points: 96 (assuming that a "No" to some questions eliminates

0-20----Developed character, unlikely MS.
21-35---Borderline character. Characters in this range are potential MS's,
who can go either way, depending on the author's skill. Needs work.
36-60---Mary Sue/Larry Stu. Proceed with greatest caution. Needs major work.
61-96---Reconsider your character and plot. Please.

all content © 2003 to Farquarson. || design be 1GREENEYE