Writing Mistakes to Avoid

When I first decided that I was going to be a writer, I was starry-eyed. I thought that it would be so easy to write a book, get published, and then of course, who wouldn’t want to interview me and offer my a nice juicy contract to turn my book into a movie or television series?

Ah, ignorance was bliss.

I had no idea what I was doing, what I should have been doing, and what I should have avoided. But that comes with naivety and starting out anything new. I’ve said this a million times and I will say it again: Writing is hard. It’s more than hard, it’s enraging, it makes people feel like they’re going crazy, and it can bring about the strongest feelings of despair and depression. The hardships often outweigh the successes and yet, every day another person decides that they’re going to pick up a pen and write a book. Likely, they will make the same damn mistakes that I did. To save fellow writers from my blunders, here is a handy little list on mistakes to avoid when writing.

  • Do Six Rewrites & Revisions

Nothing is perfect the first time around. Your first draft will always be messy and filled with errors. What felt like a great scene when writing it, may feel unnecessary or worse, derailing the flow of your book. Treat yourself to reviewing your work and picking out the errors.

  • Have a Beta Reader

As the author, you are blind to how the audience will react to your story. What you feel is a good heart-wrenching scene may turn out to be a bland and uninspiring paragraph of forced feelings and blase writing. A beta reader is someone who can give your book a decent once over.

  • Do An In-depth Research Review of Agents

Agents get swamped with thousands of queries each day. Due to the high volume that they receive, they will close themselves to queries. Your query will not be read and trashed. The same thing goes for if you do not adhere to their query rules. If an agent asks for three chapters, do not send them the entire book. Your query will find it’s home in the trash.

  • Workshop Your Query

Your query is the first thing that an agent will read about your book. It has to be the best query that you will ever write. It needs to capture the essence of your book, wow your dream agent, and land you the book deal that you’ve always wanted.

From mistakes, you grow as a person and as a writer. That’s important but that doesn’t meant that there are some mistakes that you have to suffer from.

Author Filibusters and Why You Should Avoid Them

When you write a book, you put a little bit of yourself into it. Your characters may embody your quirks, your fears, your sense of excitement and in the unfortunate case, your ideals. This is not always a bad thing. A lot of us have ideals that come from a good place such as standing up for ourselves, true love conquers all, and that things will get better. On the surface, these are okay ideals to have and to place into your book as long as they are the focus of your book. If they aren’t and you, the author, go on to speak about them incessantly then you are on an author filibuster.

An author filibuster is the bane of opinions. An author will shoe-horn their beliefs and attitudes via their characters and completely throw the novel off it’s pacing and plot. Sometimes, the entire book is one author filibuster. Ayn Rand’s works are filled with this and often hold the ideal that acts of kindness and selflessness are selfish or the (in)famous “This is John Galt Speaking” speech where the titular character hijacks all communication and goes on to lecture the villains and reader for the next thirty-thousand words. Michael Crichton went wildly off track in “State of Fear” where not only ignored the possibility of global warming but had his characters rant about it whenever the opportunity was possible. P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast of the “House of Night” series has their main character, Zoe Redbird, go on about how blowjobs are evil via this statement, “Those of us with functioning brains know that it is not cool to be used like that.”, despite the fact that the Zoe was saying this about another classmate who was being forced into a sexual relationship. The series also includes another filibuster on how weed is bad and how uncool and stupid it is to smoke it. This bizarrely accumulates into a plot point where Zoe tells the villain which classmates are doing pot and that’s how the villain chooses which students to feed to a horde of uncontrollable vampires. When caught, the villain blames the deaths of said students on themselves which eerily comes off as a “They deserved to die!” speech all for smoking pot.

When you pick up a book, you expect a good story, not a lecture. An author filibuster can kill a book and leave readers wondering what exactly was going through the author’s mind when they decided that they just has to include a lengthy paragraph or chapter on why X subject is bad and X subject is good when it has nothing to do with the plot.

I will concede that giving a character strong opinions is a decent way to show off their personality and make them a more rounded person but i stand by the old adage of SHOW, DON’T TELL. If a character feels strongly enough about a X subject then show it. Have them donate to the cause or protest with like-minded people but whatever you do, don’t derail you story for the sake of getting on your own soapbox.

Despair – A Writer’s Enemy

There are a few facts of life: The earth is round, the sky is blue, you shouldn’t stare directly into the sun, and writing is hard. Whether it’s a hobby or a profession, writing remains one of the most difficult creative areas of life. From trying to find the perfect poison, to accurately describing your scenery, to picking out the perfect moments to rip your readers’ hearts to shreds, writing offers very little solace in terms of joy.

Sending out queries is fraught with rejection and critiques can often be well-meaning but cruel. In a world that ever connected, seeing the success of your peers, the agents announcements, the brand new book deals that you’ve always dreamed about, it can get demoralizing. That’s not even taking into account of reading the summaries of everyone else’s book and how amazing their novel sounds can bring a new or experienced writer thoughts of quitting.

The mindset that your novel will never be as good as the ones that you see and read on a daily basis is easy to get into and difficult to get out of. You fall into a deep hole of self-doubt, jealously, anger, and resentment at people who have worked just as hard as you have to get where they are today. In order to keep yourself out of that hole or to dig yourself out, focus on what matters the most.

  1. Every Writer Wants You to Succeed
    1. It’s not a contest of who’s better than who although I will admit that there are writing egos but at the heart of the writing community, everyone wants to see their fellow writer make it.
  2. You Can Get Published at ANY Time
    1. Every writer has dreams of making a six figured deal with a kick-ass agent but if you want to or are sick of querying, you can always self-publish. There is no shame in self-publishing and it lets you take control of your writing.

If you’re feeling low about your writing and can’t get out of the despair hole, ask for help. Reach out to your fellow writers and express your feelings about it.  

Self-Care for the Writer

The word ‘writer’ can conjure up a plethora of images to the public. From the devil-may-care social butterfly whose wit and remarks leave their audience gasping for air, to the hermit alcoholic who has long since lost their muse, and to the unkempt caffeine addict who spouts new stories and plots every day of the week. Needless to say, writers are a varied sort and while some stereotypes may or may not hold up to stuff, one thing can be certain: while we strive to create that perfect novel that will earn praise and admiration, we will undoubtedly suffer.

Whether it is research or rejection, a writer will suffer. What to do when the first or hundredth disappointment arrives in your inbox? Or when your muse has left you for another? Burnout is inevitable and anguish is expected. It can dash the high hopes of literary success of any starry-eyed novelist and leave them moody, cynical, and disgusted with the writing process entirely.

That is why in this article, I will go over why it is important for any and every writer to take care of themselves. How can one be expected to create a masterpiece if they are mentally defeated? Here are a few tips and tricks to get you back on the writing track.

Step One

  • Identify what has you frustrated. Is it Writer’s Block? Another Rejection letter? Or a negative review to your query?

Step Two

  • Write a Burn Letter. A Burn Letter is exactly what it sounds like; it is a letter that you never intend on mailing but will burn once you’ve gotten all of your rage, anguish, and despair out.

Step Three

  • Take a break from writing. Difficult, I know but it a necessary evil to when you’re recovering from burnout.

Step Four

  • Take a step back and reassess your position. When writing, it is so easily to fall into this maddening process of invisible high stakes. A rejection is another rejection and not the end of the world although it may feel that way. Take a deep breath and try to relax. You’re a writer. You knew the heartache that you were getting into when you created your first sentence.

Step Five

  • Reexamine your work. Was the criticism warranted? Did you make a faux-pas during your query letter?

Step Six

  • Write the most self indulgent piece that you have ever written. Let your self-insert go on a wild adventure, let your hero have incredible sex without the emotional baggage attached, and write whatever your heart wants to write without fear of judgement. This is not the time to be concerned with what others might think of or say to you. This is your time to write whatever it is you want to write.

Writing is an arduous task that is not meant for the faint of heart but for the brave of heart. Rejection will come knocking down your door time and time again. It will be brutal, cold, and unforgiving. Should the grim specter of writer’s block haunt you or the heavy weight of the literary world bear down on your shoulders, take a moment to breathe and to relax. There is time to improve and write later. Focus on yourself in the now.

The Never Ending Quest for Originality

If you want an English murder mystery you have your pick, if you want a heart-warming story about dogs and people you won’t have to look far, if you want a kick-ass thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat then there are scores of books that will cater to your needs. Looking at every genre and how many new books come out each year, it’s easy for any writer to feel like whatever project they have has not only been done before but done to death.

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way but it’s not okay to give up.

The world is always hungry for new but it’s not always kind to new ideas. Falling back on tried and true plots is a safe and an easy way to test out your writing prowess. For example, a love story or Boy meets Girl is one of the most classic plots out there and the best ones, in my humble opinion, aren’t jammed pack with high risks or incredible violence. The best ones deal with the idea of losing or never having that special relationship with the love of your life. What could be worse than having the Main Character miss out on love in a love story?

But in all honesty, if you can add in high risks and violence that doesn’t make your audience roll their eyes, then go for it my friends. And if you don’t like romance, then there are other plots that work just as well.

Classic Plots

  • Be Yourself – The moral of the story is to be yourself and not some superficial and shallow cut-out of a popular person.
  • Becoming the Mask – The hero is usually a liar who claims to be someone they aren’t and they are forced to actually become the lie.
  • The Breakfast Club – A group of characters who have nothing in common but manage to come together
  • A Cinderella Story – It’s Cinderella. She’s abused and just wants a night off and to wear some nice clothes.
  • The Coming-Out Story – There is an audience for LGBT+ stories and they want to read about other people’s experiences. This one is more complicated than I’m making it seem but it can be done in a number of ways.
  • The Magic Comes Back – This is exactly what it says on the Tin Can. Your Main Character lives in a world where magic comes back. How does the world deal with it if they are capable of it?
  • End of An Age – Whether it’s the Wild West, The Victorian Era, or something that you’ve made up, this can be a powerful story. How do your characters deal with everything they’ve ever known changing?

These are classic plots that everyone of every age can enjoy. They’ve twisted, subverted, averted, played straight for years. There’s no shame in using them when your original ideas aren’t given the light of day. Your time in the sun will happen but until it does, play off the tropes and plots that audiences know. Take their expectations, add your mark to a story, and give them something new.

Have any questions? Need any answers? Feel free to leave a comment below.

On the Subject of Sex

At some point in your life, someone gave you “The Talk”. Your body starts to change, your hormones get kicked into high gear, and you start to notice how attractive other people are. Sex is a fairly important part of life and whether you handle it as something to be celebrated or a taboo subject, it will be a part of your life in one way or another.

This also includes your writing.

Needless to say, Erotica is a huge market. People like sex and they like to read about people having (hopefully) good sex. But there’s always an exception to the rule. Oh yes, there are bad writers out there and then there are bad erotica writers. They maim human biology, describe physical attributes as everything except what they actually are, and have the strangest sense of romance and what counts as good sex. In fact, there’s actually an award you can win for writing about bad sex. Of course, when someone sets out to write erotica, they never (hopefully) set out to write it poorly.

Bad sex should only exist in real life.

Erotica is meant to fulfill every fantasy, every desire, and make you feel as if you’re experiencing it for yourself. There’s no lack of communication or worse miscommunication on what each person needs or wants, they know exactly what to touch and how hard and fast to get a jolt out of each other, and best yet, everyone orgasms. I’ll be the first person to admit that writing good erotica is hard. This mainly stems from the fact that everyone has a different idea of what constitutes as good sex. Some people are incredibly vanilla, others are super kinky, and then you’ve got people who are turned on by the most bizarre things.

It’s for that reason alone that I don’t write erotica. It’s too subjective a topic to write a scene or more that will make everyone horny and happy. What may be dark kinky sex for one person will be the most juvenile thing ever for another. For example, when Fifty Shades of Grey came out, it was touted as the kinkiest sex novel to be written for this century. It was a public BDSM that got great acclaim and yet if you’ve ever bothered with a Google for the BDSM community then you would know that many of examples of BDSM portrayed in the book are not only wildly inaccurate but doesn’t exactly make for a healthy or a romantic relationship. If anything Fifty Shades of Grey reads more like a semi-rape fantasy where the main character gets an upgraded lifestyle and lives happily ever after.

Now, I take the stance that there’s nothing wrong with a little fantasy but my main issue comes from marketing something as a BDSM fantasy when it’s really a rape fantasy. Whatever kink you have is your own personal business and I’m not one to judge but I will judge and harshly judge if the writing is crap which Fifty Shades of Grey is. The sex is boring, the main characters are stale and feel more like cardboard cut-outs of actual people, and the author is an idiot who wouldn’t know what the BDSM community was like if she was bound and gagged. As the BDSM community already gets maimed by mainstream media, it’s hard to find a good erotic novel that not only shows off the community in a good light but has wonderfully written sex scenes.

Again, writing erotica is hard. It’s really fucking hard to write and it can be harder to enjoy if it’s written poorly. I encourage any writer who wants to delve into the dirty to thoroughly research the kink that they’re writing about. It’s not hard and at the bare minimum takes one google search. Here are some tips on writing erotica.

Tip One

  • Figure out which kink you’re writing about and do the necessary research needed in order to faithfully show off the kink and the community.

Tip Two

  • Decide if it’s humanly possible for the sex scene to actually happen. There are plenty of instances where human biology goes right out the window in favor of sex but honestly reading about how the male protagonist can cum again and again and again, doesn’t do anything for me. It makes me think that he should go to a hospital.

Tip Three

  • Tone down on the animal metaphors. Sweet Jesus, this one comes up a lot and not in a good way. I’ve heard of people fucking like rabbits but in some bad novels, people are going at it like snakes, tigers, birds, whales, horses. dogs…etc. You get the picture. Again, I don’t judge on what kink you’ve got but damn I would like a little warning if I was getting into bestiality.

Seven Basic Plots – Part Two

This article will take a in-depth look at Overcoming the Monster and what this plot entails. Overcoming the Monster is one of the most classic and used plots that humankind has invented. What does this plot mean? To be frank, there’s a monster and it is our hero’s job to kill it, defeat it, or imprison it. The actual monster itself can be real, personal, imaginary or the hero itself but for the sake of expediency, we’ll focus on an actual monster.

When people think of monsters, they can come in all shapes and sizes with every power imaginable. If the monster is animal, they usually have human attributes. In this case, they will be vicious on a human level and they will know of taunting and torture and kill not to eat but because they can. If the monster is human, they usually have animal attributes. In that case, they will lose their mind and for some, they will lose their humanity. There is a third kind of monster called like humanoid. Imagine Grendel and his mother from Beowulf. We’re never told exactly what kind of monster they is but he’s big enough to kill men easily and eat anyone who pisses him off and she’s big enough to need to live in a cave and has a sword crafted from giants hanging above her door.

They are definitely other in the case of monsters.

They feel no remorse in killing others (if anything, they feel justified), they are larger than the average person, live in strange places, and they can’t be killed by ordinary means. I would argue that Grendel and his dear old mother are archetypal monsters.

Monsters who follow the Overcoming the Monster style, have but three features. They either are either Predators, Guards, or Avengers. They can be a combination of the two or all three but par the course, they normally only take up one feature. In the case of Grendel, he’s a Predator. He attacks the kingdom because he can and that they constant celebrations annoy him. For his mother, she is an Avenger. Angered that Beowulf has killed her son, she thirsts for vengeance. The dragon on top of the hoard fulfills the second type of monster. He’s fairly lazy compared to previous monsters but it deadly all the same.

So, we’ve got our monsters, now we need our hero!

The hero doesn’t need to be very impressive or strong like Beowulf. Really, the hero just needs to be up to the task. After all, they are dealing the Monster – a creature that kills without fear and so far hasn’t been injured by anyone else. Introducing the hero and the monster can be done in a few ways. You can show the hero as a young child who is a wide-eyed idealist, unaware of the dangers that the world has or you can have them a little more experienced but have them disbelieve in the notion of monsters.

Personally, I like the wide-eyed idealist the most. A character that’s already experienced isn’t as fun and it’s most important to show the character’s growth. Adding onto the fact that a wide-eyed idealist having the star dust knocked out of their eyes can make for a great coming of age novel is just a plus. Of course, that’s just my humble opinion and as always you should write the novel that works for you and that you’re passionate about. Anyways, onward to the plot.

As the plot is Overcoming the Monster, the most important aspect of the plot is the monster and how fearsome he, she, it, they are. If the monster doesn’t send people running for the hills then what is the point and why does it need to be overcome? You’ve got your pick of the type of monster you can have. You can combine, mix and match, and best part describe the monster you want. Is it a traditional fire-breathing dragon? Is it a serial killer? Or is it the hero?

Once you’ve decided on the type of monster and the hero you want, think of the story in stages. Your hero is setting out, life is good, and nothing bad has happened yet. This is the prime time to do some world building. Set everything up for the audience but try not to bog down the story in favor of details. There’s time for that later. Right now, focus on your main character and the world that they live in. Are monsters something that are common? Or Otherwordly? Basically, is this more a Jaws situation or is this more Terminator? Both are monsters but one is from the future and the other is more “natural” but just as deadly.

So, you’ve introduced the monster to your story and now someone has to kill it. If your Main Character is young then any chance of them helping out gets pushed to the side by the hopefully wiser adults who don’t think kids should go out killing creatures even if they are killing people. There are a few ways to remedy that and I’ll give my opinion on each method during a later post. Right now, we need to focus on why it’s the Main Character going after the monster instead of say the police or whatever group there is to protect people from things that go bump in the night. The best way to get your Main Character involved is to make it personal.

Why else would they care about a monster terrorizing the land or killing people unless it directly effects them?

The Main Character’s peaceful world is shaken by the intrusion of the monster and life as they know it will never be the same. Then comes the plan to capture or kill the monster. I’ve seen this stage play out in different ways and I’ve got to say I’m partial to the method that allows the Main Character to see the monster up close and personal. It’s a good way to set up the stakes and to show off the power imbalance between the two. Remember, the villain is a monster and the main character is (usually) a normal person. It’s not like they’ve got a missile hanging out in their garage to take down the guy.

At this point, the Main Character should be feeling way out of their capabilities. The monster is everything that they aren’t. The monster is big, bad, powerful and the Main Character is small, good, but weak. It’s a classic set-up. The Main Character may feel frustrated that the Monster is so powerful and that no one believe them when they try and alert the authorities that there is a monster out there killing people. Whatever the case, the Main Character resolves to defeat the monster and save the day because who else is going to do it but them? The next scenes prepare the Main Character for dealing with the monster by any means necessary or gathering up supplies that they believe will help them on their mission.

The Main Character will then set out to fight the monster. Again, I feel the need to point out that the fight doesn’t have to be purely physical. It can be emotional, spiritual, or mental. The battle is fought, the monster is killed either through the hero’s wits and skills or physical prowess, and the day is saved.

Depending on how you’ve handled the story so far, the Main Character can be celebrated for their heroics or outright ignored. If they’re celebrated, the Main Character will get treasure, a kingdom to rule, and the standard hero reward: the princess. Of course, with modern stories and a modern setting, treasure and kingdoms aren’t standard anymore and the idea of getting the gal or guy of your dreams goes away. They may get some minor recognition from those who know better but for the most part they’ll return to their normal lives forever changed but knowing better and more than they did previously.

Men Suck at Writing Women

This might feel like a call out post but I swear it isn’t. From what I’ve read and seen, men just suck at writing women. But how can this be? There are a lot of writers out there who are men! You mean to say that they are all incapable of writing female characters?!

No…not exactly. They’re able to write female…somethings but not characters. The people that they write about are less human and more like satire. Don’t believe me? Check out the examples below.

  1. Ernest Hemingway – “She was thinking about him hard and then Jim came out. His eyes were shining his hair was a little rumpled. She looked down at her book. Jim came over behind her chair and put his arms around her. Her breasts felt plump and firm and the nipples were erect under his hands.”
  2. Paul Auster – “Marina was on duty that day, looking terrific in a pair of tight-fitting jeans and an orange blouse. It was a delectable combination, since it gave me something to study and admire when she came towards us (the front view of her ample poignant breasts) and also when she walked away (the back view of her rounded, somewhat bulky rear end)
  3. John Updike – “But she was, for the bathroom door didn’t altogether close, due to the old frame of the house settling over the centuries, and she had to sit on the toilet some minutes waiting for the pee to come. Men, they were able to conjure it up immediately, that was one of their powers, that thunderous splashing as they stood lordly above the bowl. Everything about them was more direct, their insides weren’t the maze women’s were, for the pee to find it’s way through.”

There’s a lot to unpack with that nonsense and frankly, I don’t have the time or the brain cells to waste doing it. So, I’ll cut to the chase: NO WOMAN, DEAD OR ALIVE, FOCUSES ON THEIR BODILY FUNCTIONS THAT FUCKING MUCH.

Do women have breasts? Yes.

Do they sometimes think about them? Also yes but not in the way that you think. Breasts are weights on their chest and if you have large breasts then it’s back pain, not pleasure that they’re thinking of but I digress. Let’s say you have the same aim as every author out there right now. You want to become a published author and be able to make some money off your living. That won’t happen if you alienate about half of the population. So, here are some tips to write female characters!

Tip 1

  • Do NOT Write about breasts. This might seem strange and maybe even hurtful but trust me on this one. Women do not think or write about their breasts the same way a guy does. If you put all of your focus into how “sexy” your female character is, you’re going to lose your audience. Why? Because she becomes less of a character and more of a blow-up doll. You’re a better writer than that.

Tip 2

  • When writing a female character describe what she looks like i.e. does she have brown eyes? Does she have brown hair? Does she have scars and tattoos? These are important things that people notice. They rarely pay attention to the legs, arms, and stomach that a person has. To make it clear, unless it comes up again later in the story and in a very important way, I wouldn’t recommend putting it in when we are describing looks.

Tip 3

  • Tip 3 is a complete cheat and one that I recommend any writer struggling with female characters to take advantage of. Here’s what you do: Write out the entire story as is without using a single she or her. Then when you finish, change the pronouns.

Now, you’re probably wondering ‘What if I like the way that I describe my female characters like the example above? There’s nothing wrong with doing that and it is MY story so I could write them any way I wanted to”.

Let me just say that you are right. You can write female characters any way you want to and as good or as bad as you want to but do you really want to go for the lowest description possible? Women readers will be paying attention to what you write. If you dare to remind them that men at large only see them as a piece of ass or a set of breasts, you will not earn their admiration but their damnation.

Pop Culture References Kill Your Work

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“One does not simply walk into Mordor.”

“Luke, I am your father.”

“You’re a wizard, Harry.”

The sentences are short but they are memorable. They come from some of the greatest books and movies of all time and have withstood the test of time. People remember “The Wizard of Oz”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “Star Wars”, and “Harry Potter”. They are classics that are quoted endlessly. They are Pop Culture Icons.

But what is Pop Culture?

Pop Culture defined is “…cultural activities or commercial products reflecting, suited to, or aimed at the tastes of the general masses of the people.” Put plainly, pop culture are moments in history that the people remember, that they’ll be inspired by, and will mimic and discuss for years to come. The examples listed above are classics and Pop Culture Icons. The examples listed below are simply Pop Culture moments.

  1. Gangam Style
  2. Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress
  3. Pepsi’s idiotic move to cash in on protesting and civil unrest
  4. Call Me Maybe

People remember these moments but they aren’t at the forefront of their mind. Why? Because Pop Culture moments are a flash in the pan. They come as quickly as they go. What may be memorable for a short time, a week or so, is gone as soon as it loses it’s buzz. I’ll use memes to prove my point. In the early 2010s, the Trollface meme was all the rage. Now? They are an outdated meme and memes and every aspect of social media change quickly. Take a look at the chart below.

Image result for memes by month

In a little over a year, these memes are still in use but no means as often as they were. That’s the way Pop Culture works. I’ve noticed a trend that for some authors, in order to show that they’re hip and cool and whatever cliched word comes to mind, use an excesses of movie, book, and music references to fully set the time and date of their novel. This doesn’t work out. Let’s say that it takes you a year to finish writing your novel with all of your references, and then let’s say that it takes two years to get an agent followed by another year of cleaning up your book and getting it ready to publish. By the time your novel comes out, it’s already out of date.

Instead of forcing pop culture and other buzz worthy references into your work, stick to what people will be interested in the most: THE STORY. If you want to stick references and pop culture in, make it up. You’ve already created your own universe, how hard can it be to make a your own inside jokes, your own celebrities, and scandals?

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Inside every person, there is a story.

That story is inspired by what they’ve gone through, what they hope to achieve, and what they wish to tell the world….there’s also a host of psychological issues, desires, and ideals. They bubble up and seeped through into your writing. This is not an inherently bad thing nor a good thing but it is something that every writer should be aware of. For example, when “Twilight” hit the shelves and became a pop culture icon for a short time, more than a few eagle-eyed readers were able to find a few similarities between Bella Swan, the series’ Main Character, and Stephenie Myer the series’ creator despite the fact that Mrs. Myer has gone record stating that Bella is meant to be blank as a character so that readers may slip themselves into the fantasy better.

But while Mrs. Myer holds onto that claim, it doesn’t quite ring true. In an interview, she gave a detailed description of what Bella looks like – “In my head, Bella is very fair-skinned, with long, straight, dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. Her face is heart-shaped—a wide forehead with a widow’s peak, large, wide-spaced eyes, prominent cheekbones, and then a thin nose and a narrow jaw with a pointed chin. Her lips are a little out of proportion, a bit too full for her jaw line. Her eyebrows are darker than her hair and more straight than they are arched. She’s five foot four inches tall, slender but not at all muscular, and weighs about 115 pounds. She has stubby fingernails because she has a nervous habit of biting them.”

Bella has the same physical (granted ideal) version as Mrs. Myer and certain parts of the book are based on her real life move to college after high school. It’s one thing to write about your own personal experiences (which many writers do) but when you combine that with an ideal physical appearance and lifestyle, then you have created what is called a Mary Sue but more on that later. What can be said now is that Bella Swan is little more than a self-insert for Stephenie Myer.

The Twilight Series is based on Bella’s perspective on the events or lack thereof that happen to her. Since a reasonable claim could be made that Bella is essentially Mrs. Myer, the events in the book take a darker turn. To cut to the chase, Bella isn’t a good or even a nice person. She degrades, lies, mocks, uses, and manipulates people to achieve her own ends and consequences be damned. If Bella was a character who wasn’t based off of her creator, then her actions could be deemed acceptable and even heroic if she was using them to achieve her goals that were aligned to her own morality and ethics.

But they weren’t.

Instead, readers, movie-goers, and fans got insight to Mrs. Myer’s mind. It’s not pretty and it paints an awful image for her. There are others who put themselves into their own novels. Stephen King shows up in “Dark Towers“, J.K. Rowling has often said that Hermione was based off of how she was in school when she was younger, and Oscar Wilde has himself as not one but three characters in his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray“. He once said,
“Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be — in other ages, perhaps.”

Inserting yourself, even a small part of yourself, into your story is common and having an Author Avatar in story can be fun but it can also create a funny story with a unique twist on things. But when you show the world your deepest personal thoughts for anyone and everyone to see, there’s going to be some backlash, criticism, and a host of people analyzing you. So, before you put down that racy sentence or that scandals love affair, take a minute to think how deep it resonates with you.