IWSG 74: Well, I Learned Something New


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Susan Baury Rouchard | Nancy Gideon | Jennifer Lane | Jennifer Hawes | Chemist Ken  | Chrys Fey


“Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be.”

 Note: If you know, please, tell me who said this. I would like to give them credit where credit is due.


Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Honestly, I didn’t know I wrote speculative fiction until someone told me. Then I said, “Nah, I write fantasy, some sci-fi and a touch of horror. All of them with a murrrrderrrrr.”

Well, didn’t my face turn red when I looked up spec fic and discovered they nailed it and I was a silly ignoramus.

So living life, I learn a few things. It’s okay with me. I just feel a little bad about how I treat the people that teach me my lessons. Sometimes I wish I listened more, or would just “Shut it!”—if you know what I mean.

Thanks for excusing me last month and as Tobey MaGuire said in Spider-Man:

“I’m back, I’m back… Oh my back, my back.”

Now, that’s a quote. hehehe

What about you, ever learn anything from someone sharing a random thought? Where did it take you? I’d love to know. 🙂

68 responses to “IWSG 74: Well, I Learned Something New

  1. Hi Anna. I had a similar thing with my own writing and it took someone else to let me know that I always have an element of psychological thriller in my stories. I hadn’t really noticed, I was just writing what I enjoyed and what came to me at the time. I try not to think about it now when I’m writing, I don’t want to start trying too hard to achieve something and lose something in the story itself.
    I love a good quote as well. My favourite, and one I always try to get in when I spot an opportunity, is Superman’s assessment of flying: ‘You know, statistically, it’s the safest way to travel.’ I’m not sure if it’s accurate, but I certainly like saying it!
    I’m glad I found your blog today 👋😊

  2. Welcome back! I enjoyed your lively sense of humor. A writer friend told me I write slices of life. That really clicked with me. As a result, I’ve enjoyed writing short pieces about a particular incident rather than feel guilty it wasn’t a long drawn out story.
    Lynn La Vita blog: Writers Supporting Writers

  3. It wasn’t until the past couple years that I even heard the term speculative fiction, so you’re not the only one.

  4. Hi,
    I have learned a lot from many different people. I am a people watcher. So many people don’t realize that their posture or poses and especially facial mimick tells more than the words they speak at times.
    Glad you’re back and I hope all is well.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    • I’m back and I’m better. Thanks.

      Is it creepy that I love watching kids? Their actions are all about who they are and when they laugh, so do I. It’s music.

  5. I don’t think you’re alone in not realizing your story has elements of different genres than you thought. Have a great writing month!

  6. LOL, Anna! I feel you. I was such a staunch supporter of my own niche, I never listened to those who suggested writing outside it. That was twenty years and 50-some books ago. Never be a afraid to spread your wings. You’d be surprised at how high you can soar!! (This from someone who’s afraid of heights!)

  7. You know what’s funny about this? I honestly wasn’t sure what ‘speculative fiction’ meant? LOL LOL Now I do.

  8. I had the same experience. I didn’t know speculative fiction from romance and was grateful when someone gave me the heads up!

  9. All the time. I’m always learning from others. Who knew that watching a Dan Brown masterclass, of all things, would radically change my life? (Or at least this summer.)

    All it took was listening to him talk about his process. You never know where inspiration will strike.

  10. I didn’t know half the terms for fiction until I joined IWSG. I’m still confused about why some novels are listed as thrillers when they’re simply mysteries. Guess that means I’m learning new stuff all the time. Hi, Anna!

  11. It takes some time in the trenches to learn all the industry terms for what we write. I’m still struggling to name my stories in a way that won’t mislead readers. Romance writers might call what I do erotic romance, because the characters get very frisky on the page, and that friskiness is an important component of the developing story. But most readers hear erotic romance and think of BDSM, which I don’t write. No shade on the kinksters, it’s just not my cup of tea. Anyway, your spec fic books sound like fun!

  12. I know I’ve experienced the same but I can’t think of a particular instance of what that was. But ever since I married my husband (13 years now), I’ve been pretty accepting of being told something I didn’t know and not feeling any shame over getting it wrong. He’s a lot smarter than me in a lot of areas, so I’ll typically research anything he mentions. It’s just in the areas of art and writing that I have the “Shut it!” reaction.

  13. “All of them with a murrrrderrrrr” LOL. That’s the fun part, anyway. Happy IWSG day!

  14. I was writing a young adult fantasy story .. and found out I was writing steampunk 🙂 I’ll have to get back to that story one day – it had lots of potential!

  15. I think the stories that mix several genres work best, like your fantasy and sci-fi and “all of them with a murrrrderrrrr.”
    After several fantasy novels, I thought I was a fantasy writer myself… until I wrote my first sci-fi short story. Then another. And another. Now, I call myself a speculative fiction writer, like you.

  16. I think we all need to listen more and zip it. ❤

  17. You’re not the only one who didn’t know what the hell speculative fiction was! Ha ha. I learn random stuff from my clients all the time, and that’s one reason I love my job!

  18. Random thoughts have helped me create many times. I think they challenge my comfort zone. Happy IWSG Day Anna.

  19. Welcome back. I’m always random. Either in my thinking or my actions so I’m forever learning as things hit me. As for my writing, my current books aren’t as much of a mystery genre as my first one. I still don’t quite know how to box it, but one day hopefully it’ll click.

  20. I’m glad you’re back! I’m not sure I understand what spec fiction all covers.

    • Some call it the ‘what if’ genre where the writer speculates on pretty much everything.

      This is what I found on Wikipedia:

      Speculative fiction is a broad category of fiction encompassing genres with certain elements that do not exist in the real world, often in the context of supernatural, futuristic or other imaginative themes.

      These include, but are not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, horror, superhero fiction, alternate history, utopian and dystopian fiction, and supernatural fiction, as well as combinations thereof (e.g. science fantasy).

      And there you have it. hehehe

  21. Hi Anna! I hope you’re better now and back to normal. Well, you’re kind of normal. See, I blurt things out as well. 🙂

    Timely topic. I just got my memoir back from the editor and she told me that I was mixing up two styles, memoir and travelogue. Huh? I just wrote the darn thing, without any creative writing training… Hopefully this doesn’t mean lots of rewrites!

  22. Nice to have you back! I learn a lot every single day. But I decided long ago I would be open to teachings and then decide after weighing all my options. Best wishes to you!

    • You’re right. Sometimes I think after I learn something new. Like you, I consider if it is wise to incorporate this new idea into my life. Weird that. hehehe

  23. There are so many different terms and genres, I can’t keep them all straight. I’ve always thought of speculative fiction as more science fiction, but I guess it does encompass more than that. I’m always happy to learn new things.

  24. When I first got back into writing I started writing a story based on a dream I had. At first I thought it was a simple fantasy but when I started reading up the fantasy genre and sub-genre, it came to my attention I might be writing a sword and sorcery.

  25. I’m glad you’re back, Anna! I missed you. I’m with you, I’m usually the last to know these things. 🙂

  26. Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne

    Nah, I write fantasy, some sci-fi and a touch of horror. All of them with a murrrrderrrrr. <<< That's a more fun way to describe speculative fiction. LOL

  27. Learning new things is so much fun…or embarrassing. lol I never heard of speculative fiction until I listened to a friend describe her work.

  28. I’m still learning so much about writing. We’ve all had those embarrassing moments when we thought we knew the answer and then proven wrong. I don’t even know what speculative fiction is so how bad is that. I’ll have to look it up. 😀

  29. At least you found your genre that really matches what you write. I’m still trying to figure out the difference between romantic suspense and thriller or even mystery! And thank you for wondering where that quote came from. I looked (googled) everywhere I could think and found nothing! Ah well, I’m glad you’re back too. Have a truly good month!

    • I’m pretty sure, I read that mysteries don’t let you know who the antagonist is until the end, and a thriller lets the reader follow the antics of the antagonist throughout the work, foiling the protag off and on until the climax. Now romantic suspense is basically a romantic mystery/thriller where the hero saves the heroine and then the day.

      I wish I could remember my source but I read so many how-to writing manuals I can’t be sure.

      Good luck with your writing adventure. 🙂

  30. Like you, the first time I heard about speculative fiction, I didn’t understand what it was. The term sounds so highbrow, you know? Meanwhile, I just write Sci-Fi.

  31. When it comes to genre, there are soooo many sub-divisions that I lose track.
    As for speculative fiction, the first time I heard the word, I was really confused. Every genre can have speculative aspects. It still boggles my brain.

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