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  1. Leishua

    Leishua Member

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    Does having godlike powers = mary sue/gary stu?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Leishua, May 24, 2018.

    Title says it all,

    I hear this is something we want to avoid, a character that is too powerful and takes the fun away from everything.

    I have 2 characters that are essentially god tier and in theory could do anything they want but with mental limitations.

    These 2 characters need each other to essentially become godlike however in the story and even at the end this never happens.

    The first character basically possesses and infinite pool of power however never learns about this and always assumed she just has good luck. In spite of how much blessings she got, she is unaware and uses this powers to learn music and play in a girl band never ever training these powers or realizing what she's capable off. She is the reincarnation of a god.

    The second character is the opposite, a witch who knows all the spells and powers but does not have the pool of power needed to cast these insanely physics defying spells. And is seeking to kill the first character to become whole again but dies before that happens.

    These 2 characters are an important side arc as the main character protects the first character from the second character. The 2 characters serve a purpose to tell readers of how magic works in this universe and why no human could reach that level of power. Which is described by the second character and is demonstrated frequently by the first character.

    So yups there we have it, would it make these 2 characters inherently unfavourable to work with considering how strong either could have became but never did? I have no intention of pushing magic that far up the scale but i feel this sub arc is needed to explain it and why magic is kept to a moderate and never more.
     
  2. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    May I recommend a book I just read, which was recommended to me by a forum member? It contains 'actual' gods and people with some powers but not total powers ...and there isn't a Mary Sue /Gary Stu in sight. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's a gripping and moving tale, and clearly illustrates how 'powers' can not only be misused, but also can block an individual from what makes life itself matter. The book is Circe, by Madeline Miller. I think it will answer many of your questions.

    It's not how much magic or godlike power a person has that makes them a Mary Sue. It's what that magic does for them, and what they choose to do with their power. If they have no problems they can't easily solve by magic or doing god stuff, and everybody loves them, etc (except the bad guys) and they are happy as clams most of the time, then they are wading in a dangerously Mary Sue-ish swamp.

    If their power blocks them off from what makes life matter, though, and they can't relate in any way to people who don't have supernatural power, or if they are perpetually unhappy and bored and self-centred and feeling as if they are invincible and need to be worshipped by the powerless to cement that invincibility, or if they contemptuously rain chaos and misery on people who don't have powers—just because they CAN—well, they're not Mary Sues. Not by a long shot.

    Think carefully about what every power actually creates. Example: your character can read minds. Okay, what does that do for them? Obviously, they will know what everybody is thinking, which they can use to their advantage. But then what? Do they become unstoppable? Do they lose their sense of perspective? Do they manipulate people to get what they want? Do they manipulate people for fun? Does hearing what people actually think make them furious enough to do damage? Does it hurt their feelings to where they feel so isolated they can barely function? And what happens if/when people discover their minds are being read? Does this create an unbridgeable gulf between the mindreader and people whom he or she loves? Does somebody manage to bridge that gulf?

    Think your way through the consequences of each 'power,' and you will find your story. And you won't be in danger of creating overly wish-fulfilled Mary Sues.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  3. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    It depends on why kind of God-LIKE character you are going for! If you are going for a jewish-christian God who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent then this can be difficult to portray as an MC, you could have some interesting plots with this still but it might require some twists and back stories and a lot of work.

    However if you are going for the pantheonic type gods like the Greek/Roman/Norse Gods e.t.c who were not necessary "Omni" Then they have limitations to some degree, for example Zeus forbade his sons and daughters to meddle with the affairs of Man etc. These limitations could have interesting plots, bit like the Wrath of the titans etc.
     
  4. Privateer

    Privateer Senior Member

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    I'm a great fan of the Norse Gods, precisely because, while they are far more powerful than Man, they are not the ultimate force in the universe and must still overcome challenges from forces and beings outside of their control and occasionally even mightier than they.

    The Abrahamic conception of a personified creative impulse that can do absolutely everything is a bit bland by comparison. Even the otherwise all-powerful Gods of Egypt had an enemy and its minion (think the Nothing and the Gmork) against whom they were locked in perpetual warfare.

    Off-topic a bit, but you can kind of identify the period when the Judeans adopted the view of their patron deity that would solidify into the Judeo-Christian-Islamic idea of God, roughly when they were re-purposing Egyptian, Sumerian and Babylonian myths and folk tales into what would later become the Old Testament during their time in Babylon. The writers seem to have got into a bit of a one-way 'my dad could beat up your dad' contest with a faction who were pushing Babylonian society toward the sole worship of Marduk- presumably on the grounds that he was the head of their pantheon and ought to be the one everyone looked to- and decided that whatever Marduk could do, their guy could do better.


    So, in answer...not necessarily. Just give your dude God-like challenges to overcome.
     
  5. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    Without going into a theological debate, completely disagree with the above. Pure and simply because the main difference between the old testament and the mythology of the ancient and extinct civilisations was because the whole of the old testament leads to something much bigger. Every single verse and chapter of the old testament leads to the coming of Christ our saviour.

    But anyway I agree with your last sentence.

     
  6. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    Sueness rests in never facing problems real, serious problems. In stories with Sues, they breeze through conflict. That's the core problem with Sues: they're boring.

    If they're side characters, they're probably not Sues. Sues have a tendency to bend the whole story world around them.
     
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  7. Privateer

    Privateer Senior Member

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    Unless you're a member of the religion who actually wrote it, of course... ;)
     
  8. OB1

    OB1 Active Member

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    huh??? :superthink:
     
  9. Leishua

    Leishua Member

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    Read all your comments, thanks for your leads guys! Yea these are side characters, one who has the potential of a god but never learns of it the other with the knowledge of a god but never has the potential to harness it. The 2 characters are a way to explain the mechanics of magic in this world without it being overly expository and to explain why there isn't anyone with a particularly broken power such as time manipulation. The main character is no where close to either of these 2 in terms of powers and a big part of the story involves him using his less than average powers to solve things creatively. Its good to know none of the characters are particularly sues/stus from what i see from the comments. They aren't universally liked even by the neutral characters and the consequences of excessive magic is also laid as well by the 2 chars.
     
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  10. Brosephus

    Brosephus New Member

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    For me, the defining trait of a Mary Sue is that they are built for the sole purpose of wish fulfillment. Everything and everyone else in the story is deliberately made to make the Sue seem like the best at everything around. They do not have a character with fallible tendencies, or earn anything that is given to them by changing their character. They learn nothing, and thus the audience experiencing the world through their eyes learns nothing.

    To avoid building a Sue, you have to ask what the theme of your story is. What does your main character have to learn-or fail to learn, in the case of a tragedy-before they can overcome the challenges set forth by the story?

    Another thing you can do is avoid having all the events of the story revolve around your character. Have the other characters do things that affect the story without the involvement of your main character.

    Godlike powers are fine, so long as the story still challenges your main character and he/she has a theme to learn.
     
  11. Lawless

    Lawless Member

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    I think this idea is excellent. I see nothing unrealistic about it.

    Besides, should it ever feel too godlike to you, your can introduce natural limitations. She can still do anything, but she gets tired when she does. The other one sometimes forgets something and has to look it up. Things like that.
     
  12. Leishua

    Leishua Member

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    Gotcha!
     
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  13. Adenosine Triphosphate

    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    Judaism.
     
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  14. Adenosine Triphosphate

    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    I like Richard K. Morgan's advice to have your MC do something shitty near the beginning of the story. The idea is to separate them from yourself on a moral/personality level, even if they contain some power fantasy elements.
     
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  15. Leishua

    Leishua Member

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    Got that covered haha. My MC starts off kicking a random guy's truck and then getting beaten by a driver in a chicken suit LOL
     
  16. SimplyUnknown

    SimplyUnknown New Member

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    Um, hi. First time on this forum at all, but I was reading this thread and it reminded me of a video I really like that helped explain Mary Sues to me.


    I hope this helps you figure things out. Good luck with your writing!
     
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  17. evenflow69

    evenflow69 Member

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    Hand of god brain of god. That would be the simplest way. One can see what the effects of an action will be but not the power to do the action. The other the power to make the action but not forsee the consequences. For instance, a person has the ability to make a storm and decides to make one for a specific purpose and instead of the storm helping it does more damage than good. The flip side another person can see exactly what needs to happen but not the ability to make it happen. Together invincable, apart a frustrated hot mess!
     
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