This is a link to someone else being smart:
Don’t worry guys, everything isn’t a Mary Sue, by Kelly "Coelasquid" Turnbull.
Kelly is a professional animator who also does the invariably-entertaining webcomic, Manly Guys Doing Manly Things. This essay not only deconstructs the currently-hip notion that any protagonist who bears any resemblance to the author is a "Mary Sue", it also discusses at length how to use Maslow's Hierarchy as a tool to write convincing characters and conflicts.
I thought it needed sharing -- and preserving for future reference.
Cross-Posted to LiveJournal: Mary Who?