Tag Archives: Insecure Writers Support Group

IWSG 38: Clarity in Writing

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.

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Co-Hosts:

Tamara Narayan | Pat Hatt
Patricia Lynne | Juneta Key | Doreen McGettigan|

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OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned  since you started writing?

My nightmare could be summed up with these simple words: “I know what you wrote, but what do you mean?”

Clarity seems simple:

But when I was younger, and I heard this phrase, I would become incensed. How could someone—anyone—not understand what I mean? I wrote poetry and to me it was the simplest of art forms. I couldn’t paint, act, play a musical instrument, or sing. But I could put a few words down and the person would feel something.

We’d connect.

So when I wrote longer works, how did I lose my clarity?

Struggling for Eloquence:

I knew what I thought and what I wanted to say, but there were many times when I didn’t use the right word.

Over time and with the help of a few kind and patient soles, I learned how to select the right words. It wasn’t easy, and it took a fair amount of stubbornness on my part.

It turns out I’m a minimalist too:

It goes against my instincts to write so much down. What I’ve learned is first sentence is a topic sentence and there is no harm in expanding a thought with more detail.

Another thing is to let my work rest long enough for the internal movie to disappear. Then when I re-read my work I see the glaring gaps and choppy sections for myself.

I know my flaws and what to look for when doing my read through. My readers get what I mean now. Some think my writing isn’t too bad, but I still ask for help.

Beta Readers:

Sometimes I still don’t see my mistakes and my beta readers are such a blessing. It isn’t their job to guess at what I mean.

What lengths do you go to for clarify your work?

Any shortcuts you’d like to share?

 

IWSG 37: WRITING IS A LIFELINE

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.

~~~oOo~~~

Co-Hosts:

JH Moncrieff | Madeline Mora-Summonte | Jen Chandler | Megan Morgan | Heather Gardner

Monthly Question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

We all have stories about when we began writing. Some of us started with poems and others wrote short stories in grade school. In that way, we’re all similar. We had a voice, and it needed to be used.

As a teen, my only vent was my writing. I faced death at a young age and it made me more than morbid. I didn’t dress in all black and sleep in a coffin, but I would have given a choice.

I wrote poems about death and the everlasting soul and spent hours over books about the occult and eventually inherited a set of tarot cards from a friend of a friend who saw The Exorcist in the theater. She completely misunderstood what I was doing, but that’s okay I still have the cards.

I believed in non-violence and was repeatedly heat broken by the death of my peers from drinking and driving accidents. My poems seemed to catch what we all felt—shock and profound sadness. And a deep hope that the soul lived on free of suffering.

During this time of trouble, my writing saved my life. It allowed me to blow up without hurting anyone, or question life without having someone else’s solutions pushed upon me. I could ask questions of the universe and work out some answers that made sense—maybe only to me.

While I was doing all this I felt lost, but something outstanding came of it. I found my writing voice

I’ll never quit writing and my breaks are usually short because those feelings still come out of nowhere and when they do I pick up a pen.

Ever use your writing as a form of therapy or simply to vent? I highly recommend it.

IWSG 36: Caves Around British Columbia

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.

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What is the weirdest/coolest thing I ever had to research for a story?

My answer: The caves in BC.

I did quite a bit of research for a little piece called: Mirrors of Ash.

The world building:

There wasn’t too much world building. The majority of the setting was either underground or following a road that leaves my hometown and loops back after several miles. I took the liberty of creating a mountainside called Swallow’s Cliff that could be seen from that loopy road.

Underground:

I’ve never been underground. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve been in a basement, the SkyTrain when it traveled into downtown Vancouver, the lower floors of a store or mall. But I’d never gone into a mine, or followed a cave into a mountain.

Luna Farris, my hero, not only goes deep underground, she goes back to her old childhood playground–the caves of Swallow’s Cliff. However this round she goes deeper than ever before to face a family nemisis.

Since I’ve never felt the need or curiosity to do this, I had some research to do. I found YouTube posts on the local caves around my neck of the woods. I’d watch one in the dark to get into the right state of mind.

Skaha Caves/Fissure in Pentiction.

Cody Caves Provincial Park

Not for me

I actually felt claustrophobic as my character worked her way through the gaps; and not being as thin as she was, I knew I wasn’t as physically fit either.

Luna used earbuds and listened to music as she move within mountain but I listened sounds of a cave. It bumped up my imagination as Luna squeezed into places that I wouldn’t dare go.

Sounds of a Cave

Other tidbits of research

  • I looked up some detail about shotguns
  • That the name Faris meant Knight (I was torn between Faris and St George.)
  • Swallow banks (Just because they looked cool and I wanted labyrinth of sorts that my hero needed to work through to find her prey.

FYI:

Still like listening to the sounds of caves as I work. It helps me focus on the story and not be distracted by all the going-ons within the house. Lucky discovery that.

Checking out all the posts

I’m looking forward to the other posts this month. So curious on what all of you discovered. No doubt, I’ll be taking notes are more than one subject. Thanks in advance.

IWSG 35: Passing On The A to Z Challenge

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.

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April IWSG Day Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Co-Hosts:
Christopher D. Votey Madeline Mora-Summonte
Fundy Blue Chrys Fey

To be honest when I look at different ways to promote my stomach clenches. So I will probably never participate in the A to Z Challenge. Although, I’ve thought of different things I might try.

Telling a story in 26 pieces is the one that appeals most.

But here’s the thing, I’m too insecure to post a story without an editor going through it.

The only thing I’ve put out there without the professional touch is my blog and no doubt there have been glaring errors I’ve missed that my readers did not.

So what’s a girl to do? I have a rep to consider.

I’m nervous enough when a trained professional has given it their approval. Even then I still feel like I’m running around naked. Trust me. No one deserves that.

What about you? Would you publish anything (besides a blog) without professional help?

IWSG 34: Novice Enthusiasm vs Crafting Rules

New IWSG BadgeThis 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.

~~~oOo~~~

 

Co-Hosts:
Tamara Narayan | Patsy Collins | M.J. Fifield | Nicohle Christopherson

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Some writers visit old fairy tales. Others do fan fiction when the muse hits. I look back at old works of mine and wonder if it’s worth tackling.

I’ve dabbled in middle grade and adult fiction in fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. Sometimes I’ve surprised myself at the skill of my old work. It has passion and life that is all instinct, but it’s also full of clumsy mistakes.

By studying the craft, I’ve learned the mechanics of story structure, testing the outline for holes and increasing tension as it progresses. I can do this before I write a word.

Then there is the execution.

That all natural passion that was full of wide-eyed instinct seems to be harder and harder to find. I’ve lost it and to be honest, I’ve been struggling to get it back.

Then there is the flip side.

The first chapter of my middle grade mystery is off. Some feedback was too many characters introduced at the same time. As I’m choosing who has to go something else niggles in my bones.

All the enthusiasm in the world doesn’t hide the fact nothing is happening. All my hero does is sit at the counter of a pizza joint drinking pop and drowning his woes. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

vintage-1849411_1280So there it is. I need to find the balance between what I can do when I let loose emotionally and following writing rules to create work someone will actually want to read.

What would you do? Should it go back in the drawer?