Katharine Espinosa

Katharine is a freelance writer, editor, and aspiring author. She loves coffee, chocolate, cats, and riding her horses on the weekends. She lives in rural Texas with her husband and daughter.
Katharine is a freelance writer, editor, and aspiring author. She loves coffee, chocolate, cats, and riding her horses on the weekends. She lives in rural Texas with her husband and daughter.
5 Tips to Develop Characters You Care About

5 Tips to Develop Characters You Care About

What is the most memorable part of your favorite book? Would you say it is the story itself or the characters that you latch onto for years later?
Character-driven stories are my personal preference, which means in my own writing I tend to focus heavily on personalities, backstories, and the like. I get attached to and invested in characters with rich personalities like Sam Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, or Evelyn Hugo. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is develop characters using little personality sketches, background stories, and so on.
How can one write and develop characters that are believable, loveable, and just all around amazing? Here’s five things that I keep in mind when creating new characters.

1. Consistency

If readers are going to take your characters seriously, then they need to be consistent. It doesn’t matter what personality traits or physical attributes they have, as long as they stay consistent. If you’re not the kind of person who plans everything out ahead of time, at the very least make notes while you’re writing.

The first time you mention a character’s hair color, the reader adds that to their mental image. But then, if five chapters later, their hair is suddenly blonde? That’s going to throw the reader off and probably take them out of the story a bit. And trust me, it gets even worse when it’s something more important to the plot than just the color of someone’s hair.

2. Unique is great, but in small doses

It has become more common-place to give characters some unique traits. In a way, quirky has become the new sexy, but sometimes writers take this idea a little too far. Too much uniqueness can really be a hit to the believability meter and start to make readers roll their eyes.

Finding that balance where your character comes off as cute and special without being over the top is hard though. My favorite way to ride that line is to only choose two, maybe three, quirks or traits to make my character stand out from everyone else.

For example, a character I’m working on is an extremely normal person, well-loved by everyone, works hard at her job. She also dip-dyes her hair blue, has been hung up on the same guy for twenty years, and has literally never left her tiny hometown a day in her life. She’s just different enough from the rest of the town to make her interesting to the story, but not so different as to feel like an outsider or like she doesn’t belong.

3. Perfection and flaws

Everyone says this now, but it’s true. Make your characters flawed. The main reason for this is because nobody is perfect. And readers want to see themselves in the characters they read about. I’m a people pleaser, a trait I really don’t like all that much about myself, and it’s satisfying to read a character who struggles with and maybe overcomes that same problem.

Perfect characters are annoying because, again, they’re not believable. A couple of minor flaws, maybe ones that can be bumps in the road on the way to the book’s end goal, really help the reader get into the mind of the character.

4. Internal and external development

Most of the time, we come up with plotlines for our stories. End goals where the guy gets with the girl, or the good guys win, that sort of thing. But these are usually external conflicts. Obvious outcomes.

Internal conflict though, that’s where the real story lies. In the romance novels, sure, the end goal is for the two main characters to get together, but in the process, one or both of them grow emotionally. They have internal conflict to work through before they can be with the love of their life. It’s just as important for the guy to work through his emotional struggles on his own as it is for the couple to convince a family member they’re making the right choice.

Internal conflict makes characters so much more relatable.

5. Backstory creates development

Make your character’s backstory and past count towards the story’s goal. This might be in regards to that internal conflict we were just talking about. Maybe the hero in that romance story struggles with being distant emotionally. That could be a result of his childhood and his parents, or maybe a past relationship that ended in disaster.

The past holds a lot of keys to our own personalities and current lives. Everyone has some sort of trauma in their life and it doesn’t even have to be anything crazy tragic or whatever. As long as something is a believable cause of a character’s personality trait, that’s all that matters!

If you’re looking for more tips or maybe some character questions to jumpstart the creation process, Reedsy and Masterclass both have some great ideas to use as starting points. Making sure your characters are believable and realistic is harder than it sounds like it should be, but keeping a few ideas like this in mind will make the process much easier and more straightforward.

Posted by Katharine Espinosa in Books & Writing, Creative Writing, 0 comments
The Importance Of A Daily Writing Habit, For Everyone!

The Importance Of A Daily Writing Habit, For Everyone!

Ever since making writing and editing my full-time job, I’ve made sure to include some time in my daily schedule for personal projects. This writing habit has become crucial to feeling like I’m actually good with words. I’ve dabbled in a bit of poetry, done some flash fiction, and this past week made some progress on a novel I’ve wanted to finish for years. Whatever the reason, though, I think having a daily writing habit is something that pretty much anyone could benefit from.

A Daily Routine

One way I manage to write every day is by using apps and websites like Daily Prompt, or Reedsy Prompts. Sometimes focusing on the same project for days on end can feel monotonous, and sources like these help change things up just enough to be exciting while still holding onto the daily aspect of my writing habit.
Although I don’t always write at the same exact time every day (usually first thing when I get into the office, but sometimes at the end of my work hours), making it a non-negotiable part of my daily routine is incredibly helpful for me. This was a lot harder when I was also navigating the water of stay-at-home parenting because routines and toddlers are very hard to mesh together well. So with changing our home life recently, my writing habit has become easier to maintain, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible with a more chaotic schedule.

Practical Benefits of a Daily Writing Habit

Keeping those writing muscles in shape

Most famous writers say that keeping up a daily habit is key to their success. Other people say that practice makes perfect. Whoever you talk to, the general consensus is that your writing ability is just like a muscle, and working your muscles on a regular basis is important to keeping them in shape. A daily writing habit is a really great way to do it. My habit is just to choose a direction, set a 15-minute timer, and go for it.

The end of writer’s block

Writer’s block is the absolute worst. I think everyone can agree on that. Something about just having a simple writing habit helps keep the writer’s block at bay though, at least for me. Especially by allowing myself freedom not to work on the same project for days on end and instead, jumping on whatever prompt or idea strikes my fancy helps keeps things interesting. Some days are harder than others, sure, but if the goal is just to get some words down on a page every day, keeping my options open on topics is the least I can do, right?

Endless source of inspiration

Not only does a daily writing habit help keep my notorious writer’s block from becoming a writing rut, but it also gives me an endless source of inspiration. Because I keep my goal as simple as putting words on the page, it means I have a huge stack of possibilities for bigger projects. The other day I read a prompt and got an idea for a character. In my 15-minute writing session, I wrote a detailed character sketch that could easily be the jumping-off point for a short story or even a novel. Not every day brings a fantastic bit of writing with it, but it definitely happens more often than it would have if I didn’t write at all.

Important for Everyone?

One of the less practical and more emotional benefits of my daily writing habit is that it fights back against imposter syndrome. I’m a freelancer and contract worker. Some days I don’t do an awful lot, if any, writing for work purposes. But when writing is always going to be included in my workdays, I can actually feel some pride and legitimacy in saying “I’m a writer!”

I write fiction every day because that’s what I’m passionate about. But writing in a journal, talking into a notes app, freewriting, doodling, and even singing, are all alternatives. It all boils down to making your daily habit into whatever you need it to be. And I think everyone should have something that they make into a daily habit.
My writing habit has quickly become a non-negotiable part of my day. One of these days I’ll write more about how I do it, but if you want to try it out, Self Publishing School has some great tips. I’m not going to sit here and say that 15 minutes a day will change your life, but it makes a big difference in mine.

Posted by Katharine Espinosa in Life of a Writer, Lifestyle, 0 comments
Changes At Home: Jobs, Life, And Dreams Coming True

Changes At Home: Jobs, Life, And Dreams Coming True

Happy Friday, my dear beautiful souls! I’m not someone who likes change. A little spontaneity sometimes? Sure. But changes happening all the time? Not really. It stresses me out. I like to know what’s coming so I can mentally prepare. But as our job situations have changed at home recently, I’ve been adjusting to a very different home and family life. It’s not particularly easy, but it’s definitely worth every little struggle.

I’m less than a month into a new job, one that finally allowed my husband to leave the job he’d been stuck in for too long. Because of the fabulous office we built in our backyard last year, I get to spend my days working from home (and, tbh, popping in for toddler love and snacks all the time) and making my career dreams come true. I’m working two part-time jobs now, both as editorial assistants and honestly, as far as new jobs go, I could not be happier. Both of the teams I work with are supportive, enthusiastic, and just incredible.

Of course, the jobs are fabulous, but so is the new dynamic we have in our home and family life. My amazing husband gets to stay home now, which means he’s the primary parent during the day and gets to follow his dreams too! As a family, I think we’re all much happier and definitely more relaxed. It was a pretty drastic change at first, being around each other so much more often than we were used to, but the Tiny Princess loves having us both around more. That and having so much more flexibility in our schedule are both huge perks. As far as changes go at home, it doesn’t get better than this!

The dynamic within myself has been a little harder to adjust to, but I’m getting there a little bit more every day. Right now, of course, I’m still heavily in the phase of taking in an incredible amount of information daily as I learn the new job, so I’m mentally exhausted at the end of the day. That will get better with time for sure. Other changes bother me on and off at times, like the mom guilt especially.

It is so hard to accept that I’m actually a better parent now that I’m working, but it is the truth. I’m able to relax and enjoy things more now instead of being on edge so often. That guilt just stems from a cultural belief that as a mom, I am best suited for being the primary parent. In reality, each parent is differently equipped to deal with their child, and I really struggled with being emotionally available all the time. Now that things are split more evenly, I’m able to meet her needs much better.

All of that to say, dreams really do come true! We had been talking about this life for so long that sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’re actually doing this! The changes that have occurred over the last month are incredible and I couldn’t be happier with our situation now. I only hope everyone can find their dream too.

Posted by Katharine Espinosa in life updates, 3 comments

2022 Hello Again!

Happy Friday, my dear lovely humans,
It’s been far too long since I wrote regularly on here, so today, let’s get back into the swing of things with a re-introduction post!

Hi there, I’m Katharine! I generally go by Katharine Marie as my pen name, but you’ll also see me around the internet as Katharine Espinosa, depending on the platform. I’m on the upper end of my 20s, uncomfortably close to 30 at this point, and I’m a lifelong writer and bookworm. I live in rural Texas with my husband, daughter, two cats, and my horse. I love chocolate ice cream, all things nature, and played piano for twenty years.

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Posted by Katharine Espinosa, 0 comments

The Holidays are Coming…

Hello my darlings,

It’s been two months, almost to the day, since my last post. Life has been up and down in that time, with a lot of sideways thrown in for good measure. Right now it feels like the holiday season is barreling down at us with no sign of slowing down. Everyone told me that time goes by faster as you get older, but did you know they were right?! It’s terrifying. And the emotions and stress that come with the holidays don’t actually ease up either, so it becomes one stressful, scrambling race for time.

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Posted by Katharine Espinosa in Blog Writing, Life in 2021, Life of a Writer, Lifestyle, 0 comments

Equinox

Hello beautiful souls,

As much as I want to keep the blog current all the time, things are going to be sporadic for quite some time yet. I’m doing so many things that I love, but this season is so ridiculously hard. Adaline just turned two last week and apparently this development stage comes with a lot of tantrums. She’s doing her best though, and so am I, and that’s what matters… I think. Continue reading →

Posted by Katharine Espinosa in life updates, 0 comments

Revamp 2.0

Hello stardust beings,

I’m drowning in the insanity that is making a website. I had some issues go down with my hosting services and lost some of my backups, so I’m redoing a lot of things from scratch. Which is… fine… since I needed to add/change some things around the website anyways, but still quite frustrating. Right now I’m archiving a lot of past posts, which is why there is very little content to look at, but things will be back up and normal soon.

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Posted by Katharine Espinosa in life updates, 0 comments

July Thoughts

Hello lovelies,

I haven’t written much lately, mainly because I’ve been drowning a bit in writing-intensive classes and I’m still finding my balance between work and fun writing time. But I wanted to hop online this week so that at least I don’t let the month go by without posting something. This might be a bit disconnected, but that’s kind of the way my brain is working right now, so that’s what you get. Continue reading →

Posted by Katharine Espinosa in life updates, 0 comments

Parenting Processes

Hello everyone, all you fanciful dreamers!

Everyone talks about how you just figure it out as you go when it comes to parenting. Everyone has advice to give and everyone has their own process and I find the whole thing quite fascinating, to be honest. Being pregnant, I very much had no idea what was going on and certainly no inkling of what I was getting myself into. I was prepared for parenthood to be difficult, but nothing prepares you for the real thing. As we all do, I had visions of how I was going to act, what I was going to do, etc., etc. I’ll just tell you right now, I am in no way the mom that I saw myself as when I was pregnant! Continue reading →

Posted by Katharine Espinosa in mom life, 0 comments

Currently

Hi everyone! 

I’ve missed writing for the blog over the last month. I was doing so much work behind the scenes and the house-buying process went absolutely haywire. In trying to deal with all that, I also fell behind on schoolwork, which is why I’m not 100% back to normal yet. Also, what’s normal? Continue reading →

Posted by Katharine Espinosa in life updates, 0 comments