Help! I have a Mary Sue!Help! I have a Mary Sue! in Writing More Like This
You know that you have a Mary Sue when she upsets the monochromatic color scheme of my Writer's Guides.
Mouse over blue text to see a note.
Internet communities often lash out at writers who create Mary Sues. Declaring the writing to be below their standards, they proceed to punish the creators. They mock the characters, verbally abuse the writers, and write hyperbolically about how much they wish the characters would die.
Bullying writers (who may be very young) is only going to make them afraid to write—and therefore improve—or share their work. Not only that, but it discourages other writers from speaking for fear of public mockery, and it may silence the voices that could someday become great.
If you've directly or indirectly suffered from the abuse of such individuals, let me first apologize on their behalf. I don't care if your story stinks so much that it can be smelled from fifty miles away; mocking you
Exercise: Your Character's Distinct VoiceExercise: Your Character's Distinct Voice in Writing More Like This
The purpose of this exercise is to see how much you've differentiated each of your main characters' voices from each other.
How to Use
Pick a few major characters in your story. (I recommend using between 3 and 6.) For each of the numbered prompts below, choose what each character would say in that circumstance. You may want to write a few sentences of dialogue from that character or a quick internal monologue.
These lines are meant to generate short pieces of dialogue (about 1-5 sentences), as it's easiest to compare lines to each other that way. If you start writing long paragraphs or another character's reply to your character, then stop. Copy and paste the text. Then place it in a Sta.sh Writer or other document and continue the scene there. If you like it, post it (and credit me for the prompt, if you please!). When you finish that and return to this exercise, write about 1-5 sentences for that character and c
What Is a Mary Sue?Hover over blue text for elaboration.What Is a Mary Sue? in Writing More Like This
Mary Sues are a common phenomenon in stories: a character who gets special treatment. The definition of a Mary Sue is subjective, so it isn't always easy to tell whether a character is or isn't a Sue.
A male Mary Sue might also be called a Gary Stu, Marty Stu, or Marty Sue. Male characters are less often accused of being Mary Sues than females are.
Mary Sues are a natural part of learning to write, and while the writing community often lashes out at writers for creating them, their existence does not indicate a lack of writing ability. Mary Sues can be analyzed, improved, and outgrown over time, and they're common starting places for many writers.
Mary Sues are created when the author becomes too invested in a character (or that character's success) for the story's own good. This can manifest
Finding MotivationFinding Motivation in Writing More Like This
This article focuses on novels, but its advice can be applied to any long-term project.
Do you tell yourself that you're going to write and never do it? Do you keep talking about your book but leave it sitting at chapter 2 for five months straight? Is it difficult for you to sit down and actually write something?
Most people don't write because there are so many easier ways to spend their time. Their favorite show is on at eight. Oh, look, their friend just posted a bunch of photos online. Then they feel like baking cookies. And suddenly, a day that was supposed to be productive has been spent on TV, the internet, and food.
When I tell adults that I want to be a writer, around ten percent of them say, "Oh, I've always wanted to be a writer, too, but I simply haven't found the time to write that novel." And chances are, they haven't even drafted an outline. Why not? Something more pressing or interesting always seems to pop up.
Unless you make time for writing, you will be
Character QuestionnaireCharacter Questionnaire in Writing More Like This
Convenient location for consolidating facts (986 mg)
Useful reminders (310 mg)
Advice (127 mg)
This is a questionnaire meant for recording important information in a convenient place to facilitate consistency.
Copy and paste text into a Sta.sh Writer, .txt, or Microsoft Word document. Highlight information after the colons and type over it. When writing, record facts about your character here to keep track of them.
The questionnaire is not a substitute for proper character development.
Do not use if you have not written any scenes with this character.
Stop and ask a doctor if you find yourself uncertain about what the answers to many of these questions are.
Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away, and purchase a new computer.
Your Stats and your... Artist's Description?Your Stats and your... Artist's Description? in Other More Like This
Brought to you by Super Editor
Note: This is not a "Writer's Guide" because it is intended for writers and artists.
Do the words "4 comments" frequently haunt your deviations? Is it difficult to find an audience for your artwork or writing? Do you yearn for detailed critique on your artistic technique and receive comments such as "nice" and "cute girl?"
Low stats result from a number of things. Maybe you don't comment much on other people's works. (You get what you give.) Perhaps you haven't joined any groups, or you haven't submitted to them yet. Maybe you are doing these things, but you're just new to the site.
I can't give you automatic popularity. I may, however, be able to provide the information to give you a little boost.
Your attitude can actually affect what people think about your work. Think about it: a message delivered with a smile will be receive
I Have Writer's Block!Don't panic. Don't bang your head against the wall. (All you get is a headache... trust me on that.) Writer's block requires a thoughtful, logical approach, so hating yourself will go nowhere.I Have Writer's Block! in Writing More Like This
The first thing we tend to do when we have writer's block is to leave the book. We close the file or notebook and say we'll get to it later. Well, sometimes that works, but sometimes we still haven't touched it a week later. Or a month later. At that point things get a little worrisome. That's why I've compiled this list.
1. Try taking a walk or bike ride. Sometimes you just need the time to yourself. I know you've probably heard this before, but that's because it works. Let your mind drift to your characters, and an idea may arrive.
2. Think about your book before you go to sleep. Sometimes you dream about it, which can provide ideas. Sometimes you figure out the answer to your writer's block before you fall asleep. (If you're like me, you'll grab the nearest Post-it, scribble down your ideas, a