3 Ways to Make Sure Your Character is Not a Mary Sue

We all know of these characters, the ones that barely encounter any obstacles during their journey while winning the hearts of all their potential love interests. I could name several extremely popular books that are focused on a Mary Sue or John Doe. Unfortunately it is also extremely easy to accidentally write your main characters as a Mary Sue, especially if you are in the writing groove and really cranking out that novel. Have no fear, I am here to help guide you along your literary journey and help keep you from straying off the path of a well-developed character and being sucked into the land of absolutely perfect characters that can do no wrong.
Before I can help you I must give you a in-depth guide to the mysterious Mary Sue. The Mary Sue/ John Doe character is one that can probably climb Mt. Everest on their first try with little to no issues. These characters learn fighting quickly and can do things that a normal character would not be able to do as accurately . They are also known for having no enemies, there have even been some instances where even the villain falls for them. This leads to the story becoming dull rather quickly because the main character is completely unrealistic. I know you love your characters and you want what is best for them but they need to be realistic. A reader needs a character to relate to not a character that shoot rainbows of friendship from their fingertips while gliding to the finish line.
What are some ways that I can avoid this from happening? I am glad you asked!

Here are 3 Ways to Make Sure Your Character is Not A Mary Sue:

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1. When you are developing your characters for your novel you need to create a list. For the protagonists list 3 positive traits and 1 negative trait to help balance them out.

Ex. My Protagonist:

  • Optimistic
  • Intelligent
  • Adventurous
  • Anxious

Now when you are creating your balanced antagonist you need to also create a list but this time it needs to be 3 negative traits and 1 positive trait.

Ex. My Antagonist:

  • Manipulative
  • Cold
  • Sadistic
  • Intelligent

By creating these lists you are getting to know your characters and allowing them to become more dynamic and realistic.

2. Create a realistic back story. As much as you want your character to come from a perfect home and perfect life with amazing friends and no issues pre-novel you need to understand that a back story like that is boring. No one has a perfect life and in order for you character to evolve over the course of your novel you need to give them some form of obstacle or issue in their back story that needs to be addressed during the events of the novel.

Ex. My main character has to overcome her anxiety she gained after a frightening near death experience before the events of the novel. She learns to accept her faults and how to be a stronger person so her anxiety  can no longer define her.

Having something like this allows the character to be more relatable to the reader and it is a lot more enjoyable to write these characters and really watch them grow.
3. Make sure they fail. Yes, you read that right. Failure is a part of life and so it is important that failure is present at some point during your character’s story. You can make it something as minor as losing her car keys or something as major as running from the monster instead of facing them.

Ex. My character has problems mastering her bow and ends up missing a major target during the first altercation, this causes her to have a full-blown anxiety attack.

When you are writing about failure you are allowing the hero to travel along a journey where they can evolve and face their failures head on.

Creating characters for your novel may seem like an easy process but it is important to remember to make them human while you are actually writing your novel. It is easy to get swept away and dive into your story but you need to remember that a realistic and relatable character is one that a reader will love more and it will also allow you to grow along with your character as you write their journey to adventure, success, and freedom.

Have A Wonderfully Literary Day,
Caitlin

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3 Ways to Stay Motivated After NaNoWriMo

Hello World!

The month of November flew by! Now that NaNoWriMo is over I finally have the time to sit down and update my lovely blog. This year was the first year I was actually able to conquer my writing goals for NaNoWriMo and I have to admit, it feels amazing! It took three whole years but I am happy to announce that I am actually a winner this year and I am getting closer to finishing the first draft of my novel.

I have been working hard to find different ways to stay motivated now that the pressure of writing so much during NaNoWriMo has been lifted off me. Life has a way of interfering with progress sometimes and staying motivated can be a bit tricky but it is crucial that this first draft is completed before the end of the year! If you are in the same boat then have no fear! I have managed to discover 3 tips that can help you stay motivated and crush your writing goals!

Let’s dive in!

  1. Set Weekly Goals!

Setting up mini goals for the week can be extremely helpful! Sometimes having one giant goal can be daunting and stop your creative flow in its tracks. By breaking your giant goal into smaller goals that you can accomplish every week, you are keeping yourself from becoming overwhelmed while writing your novel!

Some examples of these mini goals are:

  • Write for 30 minutes every day.
  • Plot and write a whole chapter in a week. (You can do more than one if you want to!)
  • Flesh out your main characters.

2. Reward Yourself!

Rewards are a nice way to treat yourself as you meet your writing goals. Setting up a way to reward yourself for every writing milestone is a good way to help you stay excited and hopefully avoid the severe writer’s block that can hit after meeting a major word count goal!

  • A Good example of this is what I did for NaNoWriMo! I saved up throughout the month so that once I met my goals I was able to buy a beautiful owl purse that I had been wanting for awhile!

3.Take a Break!

This tip may sound a little odd! Trust me, taking a moment to breathe is absolutely crucial to staying motivated. Pushing yourself too hard can lead you to being burnt out and you can unfortunately lose the motivation to write. Taking a short break allows you to clear your mind and have a mini vacation from your novel. You can revisit your work after your break and be able to crush that word count goal!

I hope y’all enjoyed my post and I also hope that these tips help you along your writing journey!

I hope y’all have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin

3 Nifty NaNoWriMo Prep Ideas

Hello World!

NaNoWriMo is almost here and I am excited because I am actually going to be ready for it this year! I have been prepping and working on my novel for the past few months and I am excited to smash my word count goals this year. For those of you that don’t know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) occurs every November and serves as a way for writers to crank out 50,000 words in one month. You can participate in local write ins and other nifty events while trying to accomplish your goals and it is honestly a blast. If you want to learn more about this amazing event click here!

One of my favorite things to do for this epic event is prepping so that I can be ready to tackle the word count in November. There are several creative ways that you can approach this task and I am here to share 3 of my favorite prepping ideas!

  1. Create a Pinterest Board for your Novel ProjectCreating a Pinterest board allows all of your inspiration and reference photos to be in one place. You can even pin some interesting writing worksheets that can help you along your NaNoWriMo prep journey! If you want to see the Pinterest board I created for my NaNo project click here!
  2. Fill in a Workbook!I discovered a really nifty writing workbook last year that really helped me shape my literary world. The workbook was actually created by the team at NaNoWriMo and it is Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook ! This workbook helps you with shaping your ideas, fleshing out characters, and even developing your plot. This nifty workbook can be found on the NaNoWriMo website along with some of their other prepping books! You can also find this lovely book on Amazon!
  3. Create a Bullet Journal dedicated to NaNoWriMo!Bullet Journaling is a nifty way to keep all of your ideas and goals organized in one notebook. Starting a bullet journal can be intimidating but there are several bloggers that have created useful posts on starting  a NaNoWriMo journal. My personal favorite is the very informative guide written by Boho Berry! Click here if you want to go read through her post!

Those were 3 of my favorite prepping ideas for NaNoWriMo! Feel free to try any of these wonderfdul ideas and leave a comment below if you want to share some of your Preptober ideas!

Have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin

3 Tips That Will Help You Recover From A Failed Writing Partnership

Hello World!

When you have a falling out with your writing partner that is also your friend it can honestly feel like the world is ending. At least that is how I felt. It didn’t help that the friendship I was in crashed and burned as well, so there will never be any form of reconciliation. Knowing that the project that you and the other person were working on will be on a permanent hiatus can be heartbreaking.

That is why I decided to share a few of the things that helped me recover from the pain and move on. Hopefully you can use these 3 tips and be able to successfully get over that creative break up and move on to other creative projects!

Now, lets dive in!

1.  The first tip is to take a breath and grieve. The one thing I wished I knew earlier was that it is okay to be upset. Taking some time to really grasp the situation can  help you accept what happened and allow you to let go of the negative emotions that you may be feeling. After you have taken this time to grieve you can move on to the next step of your creative recovery.

2. The next step is to decide if the project the two of you were working on was something you were passionate about. Depending on how  you feel about the project you can decide if you want to put the extra effort into making the project your own.

3. This step can be extremely time-consuming but it is crucial that you change every aspect of the story. You have to get rid of everything that you and your old writing partner worked on so that they can’t come after you legally. By doing this you also make the story your own and rework everything into something that you can be proud of. This step also helps you cleanse your creative brain of the old story and allow you to devote yourself to a new project.

     Here are a few things that you should remember to change when you are at  this step:

~ Any plot developments you developed together

~ Character personalities, appearances, and back stories

 ~ Anything created while you were world building

Those were 3 tips that helped me along my creativity recovery. I still can’t believe that it has taken me so long to finally move on from what happened but I guess that is how life works. Friendships end and you can be left picking up the pieces but everything happens for a reason. Sure, that project could have been awesome but now you have the opportunity to create a story that you are passionate about and allow your creativity to blossom.

I wrote this post because, in all honesty, I wished I had something like this when my creative break-up was fresh. The pain that accompanies any break is hard but you will survive.

Here is a quote to close out this post:

“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”

Ernie Harwell

I hope y’all found this post helpful and I hope y’all have a wonderfully literary day

~Caitlin

  5 Tips for Conquering Your Word Count Goals!

Hello World!

Today I am going to share some of my tips for staying on track and slaying word count goals. Setting a word count goal is easy but staying on track and actually meeting that goal is a whole different ball game. There have been several times where I panicked because writing a full length fantasy novel means conquering a monster sized word count goal. Don’t fret though! I am about to share some of my favorite things that have helped me along my personal writing journey! Hopefully these tactics will help you smash your word count and finish that novel!

                              Let’s Dive In!

  • First thing you should do if you are feeling overwhelmed is breathe. It is okay to step away for a bit and refocus so that you can approach your writing with a clear head.
  • Instead of thinking of the word count as one giant goal you can break it down. Create mini goals so that you don’t feel the  pressure of meeting the massive goal. This tip is extremely helpful and it will boost your confidence whenever you smash your mini goals and realize you also beat the massive word count.
  • Accept the fact you are human! It is okay to not meet a huge word count in a short amount of time. Writing is an art form and requires a lot time and energy. Life also has tendency to pull you away from your work and it is ok to push the deadline so that you don’t freak yourself out.
  • Be positive! Being negative about not being on track to meet the word count is not going to help anyone. You can do this! There are ways to catch up so don’t let falling behind bring you down.
  • Schedule a writing day! Bust out your calender and pick a day that will be dedicated to writing! You can catch up a bit during this day and you will feel amazing afterwards.

That concludes my list of tips! Hopefully y’all can apply these tips to your life and realize that you can do this! Remember that you are already doing something incredible and you should not let your word count goal keep you from finishing that novel!

I hope y’all have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin~

Ideas

Hello World!

Today I am going to talk to you about book ideas! Recently, I have been in somewhat of a writing slump. But today I woke up full to the brim with ideas and inspiration. Ideas can be powerful when it comes to writing. They are elusive but when they manage to peek out from their hiding spot, they can really rock your world. I honestly felt lost  without my writing inspiration. After spending the last few days reading, sewing, and doing other creative activities it finally hit me! My creativity and beautiful bookish ideas have returned and I feel elated. The best feeling you can have is the feeling of being inspired, it breathes life into you and can honestly make you feel like a superhero. When inspiration strikes and an idea appears you need to grab it and run! Pull out your notebook and write as much as you can down so you can explore it more and possibly develop it into a fantastic novel!

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to ideas:

  1. Carry around a little notebook to contain all of your idea acorns! You bust this little notebook out once an idea appears and scribble it down so it doesn’t float away~
  2. You don’t have to use all of your idea acorns at once! It is perfectly fine to put some ideas on the back burner for future projects if you want to focus on one idea in particular ~
  3. Keep a dream journal! I have had some pretty interesting dreams that could become potential books. Keeping your dreams written down helps you remember them so you can possibly turn them into novels (and  laugh at how strange  dreams can be)~
  4. Be ready to go with the idea flow.  Once an idea demands your attention you should ride it out to see where that little acorn takes you~
  5. Be curious! The world can be quite the mystical place sometimes. Inspiration can be found in nature, history, mythology, and so much more~
  6.  Exploring can do so much for your idea acorns! Just a simple walk in the park can make some interesting ideas  flourish~

Book ideas can be somewhat intense, they will linger in your mind and beg for you to become curious and explore the world that is blossoming in your head. Never fear! You can handle these amazing ideas and hopefully one day you will publish a book full of your wonderful ideas and inspire other future writers~
That is all for today’s post! I hope this  helps you with your ideas  a little bit! 

Happy Writing and Have a Wonderfully Literary Day! 

~Caitlin~

Fantastic Friday!

Hello World!

This week has been amazing for me and I wanted to update y’all on my writing progress! I was stuck in this post college graduation funk that also gave me a hard-core case of writer’s block. Writer’s block is the absolute worst but I was able to fight it off and get about three chapters written this week. Writing is something that helps me relax so being able to write has really helped me accept the absence of structure that was provided by having to study for classes.

I have a special playlist that I jam out to when I get hit by writer’s block. This playlist is a playlist that contains songs that I can sing along and dance awkwardly to (because I have no dance skills whatsoever)!Here is my playlist for you to put in your writing toolbox just in case you need to have a jam session to help destroy the writing block monster:

Jam Out Playlist

I am excited that my writer’s block is no longer bothering me. Getting all of this writing done has me feeling fantastic and I can’t wait to share more progress with y’all! Now, I am off to write another post! I have been on a thriller kick lately so maybe I will create my favorite thrillers that I have read this past month!

 

I hope y’all have an amazing day!

~Caitlin

Writing Life: Computer Vs. Notebook

Hello World!

It is a beautiful day today and I have been chugging through Camp NaNoWriMo! Worlds Apart is coming together and it feels so good to get so much work done on a novel that I love so much. Today’s post is a little writing life post that will be dedicated to the age old battle of writing in a notebook vs. writing on a computer! Cue the battle music! Something that I have noticed this Nano is that I have been writing so much more than I did in November and I honestly feel like it is because I decided to hand write my first draft instead of typing it out. I will go and type what I have written down  closer to the end so I can add more details and have an accurate word count. One of the reasons that I decided to ditch the computer until the end is that I found the computer to be distracting. While trying to type I would get distracted by the internet while writing in a notebook has caused me to really focus on it and not be distracted .

Here we go! I will write about the pros and cons of using a notebook and a computer and you can decide which one will be the best for your writing goals!

Writing in a Notebook

The first one I will be talking about is writing in a notebook! This is what my friends and I deem the “classic” approach. You break out your pen or pencil and write down the first draft of your beautiful story in a notebook. Even though this is an excellent way to really connect to the world you are creating there are some cons that  come with this approach. I have compiled a list of pros and cons for you below!

Pros:

  • Lower chances of getting distracted while writing.
  • Writing can feel so good when you do it by hand.
  • You can use beautiful pens.
  • You would be able to say that you wrote it the same way the great authors of old did. (wow that sounds dorky haha I really need to lay off the fantasy novels)

Cons:

  • Hand cramps! Writing for a long period of time can lead to them and they are AWFUL.
  • Depending on how long your first draft will be you will probably have to buy multiple notebooks which can be a pain.
  • If you are writing in pen and you make a mistake you will have to break out the white out or strike it through. This can be a hassle when you are in the writing groove.
  • Finally, the major con is typing what you have written. It is a blessing and a curse because you can add more details as you enter it in the computer but this step can be a bit time consuming.

Writing on a ComputerNow it is on to our next contestant, the computer! Writing on a computer can be easier since everything you need is in one place. There are a few cons that come with using the computer for writing so check out my pros and cons list below!

Pros:

  • Everything is in one place! Your research, playlists, and writing are all on your computer which makes it extremely easy to keep up with.
  • Less to carry around! You can pack your laptop, world bible, and a charger and be ready to write anywhere you want.
  • Computers can store all of your writing so you don’t have to worry about running out of space for your novel.
  • Spell check is a blessing. You would be surprised with how many words you misspell while writing your draft and this tool is so useful.

Cons: 

  • The internet can be so tempting when you are trying to write a project.
  • Computers can be hacked and some rude person can steal your manuscript.
  • Your computer can crash and you can lose everything. (This is why you always back up your work on to a flash-drive)
  • That battery life can dictate how much work you can get done  if you forget your charger.

Now that you have read the pros and cons of using a notebook or a computer hopefully you can now choose one that will help you along your literary journey! I hope you enjoyed this post!

Have an adventurous day!

~Caitlin

Camp NaNoWriMo Plans!

Hello World!

I am officially announcing that I will be participating in this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo that starts in 10 days! Camp NaNoWrimo is hosted by the same team that hosts the National Novel Writing Month every November, the only difference is that Camp NaNoWriMo is hosted in April! The goal of participating in these fun events is to write as much as you can and hopefully finish your book!  I plan on finishing up Worlds Apart during this session and I am extremely excited!

Prep done so far:

  • Created a cool motivational playlist!
  • Updated my world bible
  • Bought a giant notebook so I can have something to write in when I am away from my computer

I really haven’t had to do much prep since Worlds Apart is something that I am currently working on. I am excited to conquer this draft so I can start editing this beautiful novel. If you are interested in learning more about this fun event then you can click here!

 

 

Well  I must end this post here because I am writing it in between classes on campus! I will probably post some more posts on here once I get home.

Happy Reading!

~Caitlin

A Writing Update

Hello World!

I am happy to be back! I thought I would share a little update on my two writing projects that I had been working on before I went on my little hiatus in December.

Worlds Apart: I actually finished a good portion of this novel! I also entered the first nine pages into a manuscript excerpt contest. If I win, then I get to take my  manuscript to a literary agent so they can talk about it with me. This novel is on its way to being finished and my little magical world is thriving.

Lady of The Dawn: This project was picked back up after I reconciled with my close friend/ writing partner on this one. It felt so good to start working on this project again and I can’t  wait to work on it more and share more about it with y’all!

Well, I know this post was rather short but I just wanted to share the progress made on my little writing projects! I will share more about these two projects as I continue to work on them~

 

Happy Reading,

~Caitlin