Tag Archives: Insecure Writers Support Group

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.

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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?

IWSG 33 – Why Avoid Writing Devices + Recipes

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.

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C0-Hosts: Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Joylene Buter

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Not only has being a writer changed how I read, it has changed how I judge all stories. Let’s take television.

The Good:

Story structure and its plot points stand out during television shows. The commercial breaks appear immediately after the hook and the mid-twist are set, and the final conflict begins.

The Not So Good:

Long ago a friend, rather bored, commented, “Here’s the part when the star gets a knock on the head.” Apparently she noticed it happened every week. After I paid closer attention, I had to agree. It DID happen every week.

She also told me that nothing more than a knock on the head would ever happen to the star. Why? Because there would be no show.

She opened my eyes.

Worse:

I discovered the racing to save someone device on my own and laugh aloud when the stars jump in a car to race across town. We all know this can be done in five-to-ten minutes. (Nope, don’t think so.)

So as the bomb ticks down or a person is being murdered the hero races across town. Although the actor is very good at hurrying. They make all the appropriate faces and skid around corners.

One question always pops into my head: Why don’t they call for the closest police car to save them instead?

Not All is Lost as Long as We Are Awarecolorful-1300128_1280

What I’m getting at is, storytellers need to realize readers/viewers need more than recipes and devices. Eventually, the fans see through them.

Some writers get it. As Bossman, my son, said, “That’s why I love Game of Thrones. It’s unpredictable.”

What other stories or storytellers are unpredictable? I’d love to check them out.

IWSG 32 – Writing Rules and Consequences

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.

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I wrote a book, and it was published last year about this time.

During the editing process I found out that my use of the Said or Asked Tagging Rule didn’t cut it for two reasons.

One: Following the rule made me lazy. I found that I avoided talking head syndrome by using descriptors ONLY when the conversation went on for more than a couple of sentences. Therefore, I missed opportunities of digging deeper.

Two: When following the said/asked tagging rule, I didn’t consider the overused word rule. And I was forced to address the problem when my editor got her hands on the manuscript. I could have avoided cleaning up the mess if I only thought about it.

As you know, the convention is to only use said or asked when tagging dialogue. It’s also okay to tag every third line when there are two speakers. Another alternative is to use stage direction or an emotional descriptor to show who the speaker is.

I learned this lesson well when I faced correcting my manuscript. A lesson I will not soon forget.

I’m sharing this because once I completed this particular revision, my work didn’t feel the same. I wanted my beta readers to take another look and help set things right again. Somehow the work reverted to unpolished. Not much of a problem with an editor to help—but still.

Honestly, I’m glad I’m aware of the rule. I just wish I had given it the thought it deserved before I implemented it so sloppily. Anything like this happen to you? Or as a beta reader, have you come across another rule that is not as straight forward as it seems? Please share. Once is enough for me.