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 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

Creativity is Calling

Hello World!

It has been a while since I posted on my lovely blog. Life has a crazy way of throwing curveballs at you sometimes. Don’t Worry! Everything is sorted out now and I have finally let go of the self-doubt and pain that had been holding me down. It is always hard to move on from a friendship, especially if the person was someone you were supposed to co-write an amazing story with. I know, I talk about this novel a lot on here, but until recently the story and the amazing world I co-created had been haunting me. A few weeks ago my creativity called out to me and I realized that there was a way I could write about my little world. I took a new approach and changed just about everything about the old project. Unwanted characters were taken out while others were remade, the plot was completely re-worked, and I molded the world into what I wanted it to be. The story finally became mine and I am in love with the revamped novel that I am now working on.

To be honest, I love this new world I made more than my old project. There is more magic and grit along with a complex cast that is fun to write. I guess I wrote this post to show y’all that I am still here and to share how much my creativity has been flowing lately.  It is possible to move on from a failed writing partnership, it may be extremely difficult and emotionally taxing but it is possible. There are absolutely no remnants of the old story in my new world and I am actually excited to be working on this lovely adventure along with my other writing projects!

That is it for my little life update for y’all today and I am happy to be writing and creating again! Look out for some awesome new content!

Have a wonderfully literary day!

~Caitlin~

Research~

Hello there!

Research is crucial when it comes to writing a novel, especially a fantasy novel. Doing research can really help you create a more complex story. For my novel I have a dedicated Pinterest Board filled with all the article and information for language, magical creatures, and potential settings. One of my main characters is Irtish so doing research is helping me create an authentic person that can also contribute to the storyline. 

When researching, I love using Pinterest! I could easily spend hours browsing through article on there and pinning useful boards. I also love to go to the library or bookstore and get some useful books that can be useful to my novel. Research can sound scary but it is honestly not that bad. Doing research can easily help you along your literary journey so I suggest you take the plunge into the knowledge that you can find when you do your research!