The personality and actions of a character are what make a character a Mary Sue. So no, your character's appearance does not make them a Sue. However, your character's appearance seems slightly generic for a fallen angel. It reminds me of a lot of anime characters. However, it's not necessarily a big deal, as long as his appearance isn't a major focus. Overall, his story is what's supposed to make him unique.
Since everyone here is posting drawings their characters I'll do the same. Her appearance has changed slightly though... just haven't had enough time to post anything new :/
I'm fortunate enough in the fact that my playthings come with clothes already. I sometimes think that the clothes they wear is an extension of their personality. There are few that just appear to me. I cannot see the color of their hair or skin. I do not know what they like or don't like. I suppose they expect me to clothe them.
Appearance doesn't necessarily make a character a Mary Sue. Character does. And if you have any doubts as to whether your character is a Mary Sue/Gary Stu or not, there are a few litmus tests out there you can take (some of them are kind of 'meh', but there are some that aren't bad).
As for my lead character, here's what he looks like:
my OC is a 11 yearold boy with pale skin, black hair, bright blue eyes and an inocent smile. he hates dressing in red, since in the simbolism of my story red simbolizes death and my OC dies at the end. he likes wearing green shirts because green reminds him of nature.
I don't think that he's mary sue-ish but I don't know his personality or motivation. I think that is what makes the difference
I've got an OC which looks oddly similar to yours: Samael is the child of an angel and a demon what makes him a greyblood he has long black hair and light blue eyes like a snake. He something like the guardian of the earth
YTcyberpunkFeatured By OwnerNov 16, 2012Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"Mary Sue" is a relative term. The same thing that makes someone a Mary Sue in one fictitious world may be totally normal in another. Example: there's a literary character named Mara Jade. She's an orphan, has powers almost equal to the hero, falls in love with him, and turned from evil to good. The twist? She's Mara Jade, a character in the "Star Wars" universe, where virtually all of the main good guys are orphans, have "special" powers, and make important switches from bad to good (or vis versa).
You say that your OC inhabits a world full of unique-looking people, so I don't think he sounds like a Mary Sue. Even if he is rather unusual looking, that alone doesn't make someone a Mary Sue.
Do a unique design on your OC's clothing. Yah, it would make your OC a bit mary sue-ish, but sometimes it can't be helped without sacrificing the concept behind the OC. I think appearance-wise, besides the color schemes, design has a huge impact on the appeal of an OC.
My OCs are all in the fantasy genre....so...they look like fantasy OCs..... They are all humanoids cuz my imagination is that limited
DevilKid-chanFeatured By OwnerNov 16, 2012Hobbyist General Artist
Perhaps slightly Mary-Sue-ish, yes, but if you give him a personality that can distract from that then I'm sure you can get away from it. Think about other things when designing the character's appearance, as they are overlooked ridiculously often and are much less commonly viewed as cliches: things such as the way he stands when he's waiting for a bus, things like whether or not he fiddles with anything when he's bored, things like the speed he walks at and whether or not he walks with his head up or down. Things like whether he has any piercings anywhere or any weird touches to his speech; these outwardly visible touches to his general appearance will all help define your character's personality without directly saying a thing about it. For example, if he stands with his legs a rough shoulder-width apart and his hands at his sides when he's waiting for a bus, it might suggest someone who's studied martial arts before (I've noticed that that's a common way for people to stand without even realising when they do or have done such practices). Also, if you know anyone with black hair or a leather jacket, you can always sneakily study it when they aren't looking; perhaps assess its condition, think of what it reminds you of, etc. This way your descriptions will be less cliched, making the character seem a little more real and less Mary-Sue.
I would answer the second half of your question, only I've typed so much already... you must be really bored But I hope this helps you!
DevilKid-chanFeatured By OwnerNov 16, 2012Hobbyist General Artist
Well, that perhaps depends on whether the story is written from his perspective or not. If it was another character meeting him, then it might be a description of their view on him, regarding what they can gather about his personality from the way he acts. However, you may be right; it would be odd if the story was introducing him based on his thoughts and he happened to be thinking about the way he was standing. It is a good idea to keep in mind the way a character thinks and feels though, because from whatever perspective, the way his mind works will be reflected - slightly - in his posture and/or speech patterns, meaning these things have to be relevant to his feelings. All I'm saying is that these things say more about a character than simply describing hair colour, eye colour and clothing.
I find myself less inclined to read stories where the characters are wearing clichéd or Mary Sue-ish clothing, simply because the imagery I receive from reading about them is rather off-putting. However, this is just a personal preference. I commend writers for producing characters that are truly unusual and stand out, both in appearance and personality. Still, I think giving the reader little information about the characters is refreshing, as fully describing your characters can be dull to read, and allowing the reader to have their own image of the character means they have their own attachment to them, I guess you could say. It's like movies: the director's interpretation and portrayal of the character is given, which may be totally different to your own, therefore you might not like the movie because the character you imagined is completely different to the actor.
I have loads of OCs, and it's very hard to make them all different. One of my newest ones is utterly insane but sly and seductive. She has immense power and has the tendency to abuse it on petty things.
I tend to associate lavish description of clothing with "Mary Sue" characters more than any particular choice of clothing. That is to say, if a writer chooses to begin a story by telling us what the main character is wearing, I begin to wonder if they're more interested in creating an awesome self-fulfilment character than they are in telling a good story. In any case, who the character is should be far more important than what they wear (though you can illustrate one by describing the other).
That said, I may be a little biased as I don't like to spend a lot of time describing characters. Instead, I try to drop in a few significant details that help build up an overall impression. The protagonist of my "main" novel has thumbs instead of fingers and a fairly conspicuous surgical scar running down from behind her left ear. Her clothes are practical, but pretty shabby. She's quite short.
As others have said, there are many other more important traits to consider than appearance. That said, the appearance alone does strike me as a bit on the cliche side. That may not necessarily be a bad thing, since the reader will experience more than just the description you gave. There's no need to make every single aspect stand out as unique on its own.
I think where you may start getting into trouble is if you use all to familiar imagery to get your character across, instead of your own original ideas. A fallen angel is certainly nothing new - but your own twists on the type of character could make for very interesting reading.
I think what is going to make this character, or break it, are the reasons you mentioned. If you're worried about the character, I think a more effective way to get good advice would be to find someone to critique the writing itself, not your own description.
Since you asked, here are the descriptions of a couple of my characters. There are illustrations if you're curious - but I'll leave them as links instead of thumbs so you can picture them in your mind
1. Nobody was scared of Marcus. He did not stand very tall. He was scrawny. He had short, black straight hair that showed his ears - the sorts of ears one would be more inclined to twiddle than to believe heard great beasts. And, of course, he spent all his time in the tower. [link]
2. Her reflection in the rippling water caught her by surprise. Her long black hair appeared as a very dark blue against the water. She reached into the water and ran her finger through it, watching the ripples distort her image. Her dark blue eyes so perfectly matched the shade of the water that it appeared as though it were moving through her. [link]
I don't think it's Mary Sue-ish. His clothing's simple, it could be part of his personality. Even then, there's always the additional apparel, such as belts and gloves etc. that make the character a more unique character. My characters started out with bland, super simple clothing, but I've been updating their outfits as I study clothing and such. =3
As for my OC...I have too many to count. Lol. But, my favorite OC has to be Bell Dimora! ^^ [link]
My boyfriend's main is similar, only blue eyes. He has an entirely black uniform with gold trim (robe/ tunic style). The colours and logo on it are all symbolic and have meaning. Character wise he just doesn't give a damn about aesthetics, and will prefer things over what works compared to what looks good. It still doesn't stop critiques from the anime world who say his appearance is too boring or plain. What am I supposed to do to make him more visually interesting if that's just the way he is. I don't want to put him in a fur coat and slick hair do if it breaks his character.
Why are clothes so important for your character? Is he vain? Does he wear them because he thinks that he more likely will be accepted in a certain social group? Is it kind of an uniform?
Why do you want to know what our characters wear? Why don't you ask for their personalities? Well, as you ask, this is closest to how I imagine his looks: [link] , even though this [link] picture tells much more about his personality.
*Rovanna is right. The Mary Sue thing is getting old.
But I will say that appearance is never intrinsically "Mary Sue-ish" only a potential indicator of a Mary Sue. I know that seems confusing, but it makes more sense if you know what a Mary Sue is. That is, a Mary Sue is an OC lacking substantial flaws, or whose flaws don't register to the other characters. She's always smarter, nicer, prettier than the other characters, but always too modest to admit it. There is no obstacle she can't easily overcome. She's basically wish fulfillment for the author, rarely a complex, well-developed character who is realistically flawed/imperfect. What she's wearing isn't going to tell you that.
I will go as far to say, however, that if your main concern is this character's appearance, you're focusing on the wrong thing. It's not that appearance doesn't matter, but your understanding of the character's motivations and overall personality are going to have a lot more impact on the story itself. The main tricks with appearance is to make it all relate to the whole. Don't throw in certain elements just to make him distinct. Throw them in because they say something about his personality and add interest/depth to the overall story.
As *Rovanna said, it's not that his appearance necessarily makes him a "Mary Sue", but that his looks are rather generic for his type. Of course there are reasons why he looks as he does -- but they're all your invention, aren't they?
Forget about Mary Sue. The term is getting old and it irritates me. However, it's very common for 'dark' characters to dress that way and have that sort of vampiric complexion. So you may think about whether he looks distinctive enough, because you don't want him to come out generic.
I think the way your character dresses should reflect the way he would realistically choose to dress and how much money/access to clothes shops he has, but try to steer clear of cliches. So if it makes sense for him, then go to town. (Like why does he want to stand out? And do most other people wear colours, then? Because when I wear black jeans and a leather jacket in winter, I don't stand out because everyone seems to wear black here in winter.)
Also, in terms of appearance, if you want to describe it in your story, try and go beyond hair colour, eye colour, clothes. Think about how they stand, move, what they do with their hands, expression etc. (Some people don't find appearance and clothes important and don't describe it, but to me it is important)
My main characters look like this since you asked [link]
In my world, the characters are half angels or half demons. This character (Milo) is a fallen angel. He's not quite accepted by the half demon group so he acts as a mercenary/hired gun. He's intellectual and clever, but suffers from major depressive episodes.