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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Resolutions, Goals, and Dreaming of 2018

The end of 2017 is approaching and now is the time to set resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. Surprisingly, 2017 has been incredible to me. I have written more than ever and I have completely turned my mental and physical health around. I am determined to continue making progress in 2018 and I hope that all of you do the same! I discuss my 2017 more in my post here~

2017

Now that my year in review is out of the way it is now time to plan for 2018. I am an optimist so I can’t help but have a ton of resolutions, goals, and dreams for the upcoming year. Setting resolutions is one thing but keeping up with them is a battle and I determined to actually stick to them while crushing my goals for 2018! I am not to going to lie, picking  resolutions for the next year was actually kind of difficult. I had to sit down and really think about what I planned to accomplish next year and how these resolutions will help me meet my goals and hopefully achieve my dreams.

2018 REsolutions

My 2018 Resolutions help make me continue my journey to becoming healthier and also try to keep me from becoming a hermit. I also decided to actually try to go on more adventures and make some amazing memories in 2018. I am positive that I can stick to my resolutions and crush my goals!

2018 Goals

Goals, goals, goals! I can’t wait to crush my goals and achieve my dreams. I decided to buckle down and work hard to achieve my dreams of publishing, traveling, and living a more creative life.

2018 Goals-3

Dreams are a lot harder to reach but I am determined to achieve at least one of my dreams in 2018!

Publishing a novel has been my dream for as long as I can remember. After crushing my 2017 word count goals, I am more determined than ever to publish one if not both of my novels by the end of 2018. It is quite the mouthful but I can handle it and I can’t wait to finally share my literary worlds with everyone.
Ireland is one of the places that I have always wanted to visit. My family’s ancestors are from there and I am in love with the mythology and fairy tales that are woven into the rich history of the country. I want to visit Ireland so I can appreciate where I came from and also visit one of the towns that I am writing about in my novel.
I have been wanting to see the Grand Canyon and since I live in Texas, the drive would be excruciatingly long. Going on an epic road trip has always been on my bucket list so I want to finally cross it off by going on a journey to the Grand Canyon.

I hope ya’ll enjoyed learning more about me and that you also decide to make 2018 your year. Chase those dreams, make those important lifestyle changes, and crush all of the obstacles that stand in your way. 2018 is the year for the dreamers and I can’t wait to see what the year has in store.

Have a wonderfully literary day and I will see all of you in the new year!

~Caitlin~

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

Time to Celebrate!

Hello World!

Today is a day to celebrate! I finally bought my domain name and changed it from My Magical Writing Adventure to The Curious Novelist.  I decided to change my blog’s name because, honestly,  it is a lot shorter than my original name and it flows really well. I also took this opportunity to give my blog a bit of a face lift and I am in love with its new appearance!

Another thing to celebrate is that my dad and I adopted two puppies yesterday from the shelter. The story behind these fur babies is that the local animal shelter found an abandoned box of puppies left in an alley last week. After being held by the shelter for five days and being cleared by a vet, the puppies were available of adoption yesterday.

Rosie and Jolly Mon
Rosie on the left and Jolly Mon on the right

My father adopted the boy and named him after his favorite Jimmy Buffett song, Jolly Mon. I fell in love with a little girl puppy with black markings and named her Rosie. That name is important to me because one of the best characters I have ever created was a pirate named Rose. Rose was a part of this beautiful writing project that I had with another person that had to be cancelled after I cut that person out of my life. All that work and love I put in Rose and her fantastic world had to be thrown away and it honestly broke my heart. In the novel, Rose was a fearless pirate captain that had a sense of adventure and never backed down. When I saw this little brave puppy run around and explore the world I knew that the name Rosie fit her like a glove.

That is all for this little life update! I am off to write now and I hope you enjoyed my little update!

Have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin~

Cuties
Jolly and Rosie are such cuties!

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~