From self-inserts to imagines, how young women write themselves into the narrative
Let’s start with the woman in question. She isn’t usually called Mary Sue — she has a less plausible, more fanciful name. Similarly, she has less plausible, more fanciful physical features than your average girl: purple eyes, or really extraordinary hair. You don’t know her, but you know the characters that surround her — she’s a new student at Hogwarts, an important ally you meet in Rivendell, the person on whom Holmes and Watson will rely to crack the case. She is notably smarter, stronger, and/or more beautiful than her peers. She’s going to save the day — and maybe a character you know will fall in love with her, too. She’s a wholly original character, though she might resemble an idealized version of the author. She’s a super-girl, bending beloved stories around her, heroism in a world mostly made up of heroes.