I have honestly never heard these terms before I signed onto this forum. I’ve seen them mentioned in many, many threads as though they should be avoided at all costs, on pain of death or ridicule, and I still don’t really see why. There doesn’t even seem to be an agreed-upon definition of these terms. Cogito insists that a Mary Sue is an author insert, a vehicle through which the author can live out her fantasy. Others say that a Mary Sue is a character who is too perfect, too smart, beautiful, or powerful to be believable. Superman is the ultimate Gary Stu, I guess. Not only is he almost infinitely powerful, but he’s so pure and good that he embarrasses the most dedicated Boy Scout who ever lived. But that doesn’t mean people hate him. Rather, they’ve spent billions of dollars over the years buying Superman comic books, movie tickets, TV shows, toys, and so on and so forth. Everybody on this forum, however, seems to have a knee-jerk reaction against Mary Sues and Gary Stus. Nobody wants to write a character who could be considered a Mary Sue or Gary Stu. Why is this? Are these characters really so bad? Ian Fleming said that when he wrote James Bond, he was trying to write the ultimate male fantasy – a man with incredible skills and daring, who can back those up with a license to kill and an unlimited expense account, who can seduce any woman he wants, etc. etc. A deliberate Gary Stu, then. And Bond is a multi-billion dollar industry. So my question in this: Are the concepts of Mary Sue and Gary Stu useful at all to writers? I don’t think so. I think we obsess over them far too much and we’d all be much better off if we just forgot about them completely. Just write your characters the way you want to without worrying about Marygary Suestu – ness. Life is too short to worry about Mary Sue and Gary Stu.