Tag Archives: Insecure Writers Support Group

IWSG 42: Past NaNo Lessons I’ve Learned

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:

Tonja Drecker | Diane Burton | MJ Fifield | Rebecca Douglass

 

October IWSG Day Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’d like to say yes. I finished them all. I’ve had all my work published even without submitting it. The problem is, I don’t want to lie. All I want to do is be supportive of the NaNo17 participants.

Please, Accept my good wishes because that’s where my heart is.

But the truth is, no. I finished all my first drafts. I didn’t bother polishing or submitting. None of them ever were published.

The closest story to submission was called “Rags to Bitches”. I can’t tell you how much time I spent trying to bring it to life. I even took a writing course on revision hoping that would help me cut away what didn’t work and build up what did.

Nothing worked and I can’t explain it.

So I may have won, but my stories didn’t.

Rags to Bitches lives in a drawer.

Winning NaNo taught me some important lessons:

  • Plan out what the story was about
  • Each chapter should have a prompt
  • Write everyday

What NaNo didn’t let me do was stop when I needed to and let my subconscious work on new ideas. Sometimes letting things rest can lead to twists, back flips,  and crazy new directions. I love that. But that means quitting before I reach my word count.

I hate to say this, but I think I’ve outgrown NaNo.

I’m working on a sci-fi mystery called Symbiotic Slip and I’m having so much fun. I’m being brave and going where I’ve never gone before. Every day is full of surprise and joy.

Who knew I’d ever get here.

What about you? Any NaNo stories you’d like to share.

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IWSG 41: Truth In My Fiction

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:

Olga Godim | Chemist Ken | Jennifer Hawes | Tamara Narayan

OPTIONAL Question:  Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I add personal information all the time. Not personal history. Not family secrets. Not even how I see the world. What I share in my work are my feelings.

I want to tell share truths.

I want to relate to my readers.

We all feel things. I don’t need to say this. We all know this to be true. Sharing my raw emotions is a form of reaching out. What I feel others have felt. I’m not special.

What I do with these feelings is chain them to my character’s life experience. They face a moment of loneliness and I look back at a time I faced being alone. No doubt it has been romanticized and it may be ballooned. I don’t think about that during my first draft and would never suggest or capture the real events that led to my loneliness. That would involve too many people—me included. But I run parallels in my imagination and take advantage of my rollercoaster past as much as possible.

But the one thing I will suggest is if a character goes through an event that brings about a visceral reaction you’ve had—dig deep and get it out. Don’t hold back.

Holding back is not what the reader is looking for. And the feelings aren’t the actual experience.

For example: Someone leaves your life and you know you’d never trade a moment of your time together. There is the loss, the adapting, healing, and the memories. What would you use?

Your main character’s situation will be entirely different.

It’s the moment the MC walks away into the sunset. The moment someone dies in the MC’s arms. The moment they turn down a wedding proposal. Or the MC leaves against their parents’ wishes; they see their sibling watching them go. What emotional road do they land up following? What are the consequences?

The list is endless.

What do you do to make your story real?

IWSG 40: The words began with me…

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~~~

 

Monthly Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? 

Co-Hosts:

Tyrean Martinson | Tara Tyler | Raimey GallantBeverly Stowe McClure

 This is hard because I sound full of myself.

The biggest and best surprise was seeing the final product. Was that really me? How did I put it all together well enough to be entertaining?

I blame the editors. If you trust them, they will bring out the best in a work.

Sure, it’s hard to rewrite sections, or remove them. To change a word choice for something that seems wrong at the time (and turns out to be exactly what the story needed). Or to expand a thought. Or to hear the truth and know there’s a load of work ahead.

The learning process can be exhausting—emotionally and mentally. A good editor is worth more than I can explain here. So I say trust them. Not with just what happens above but with sharing your vision. Team up.

It’s all right to tell them how you feel. Especially if it’s important to you. Remember to pick your battles and always with respect.

After my experience, I understand all stories are team effort. Yet I still get a little thrill when I look back at the process. It is the one time (hopefully of many) that proves someone loves and believes in your work.

It’s okay to be excited. And I was!

My genre of choice is the mystery. I’ve incorporated it in fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, and cozy so far. I’ve had fun building the story and even more fun executing it.

Care to read something of mine. Well,  try this short freebie: Dragon Eye

What about you? When does your fun begin?

IWSG 39: How Do You Remember It All?

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:

| Christine Rains | Dolarah @ Book Lover | Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor |

| Yvonne Ventresca | LG Keltner |

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What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

When I read a book on how to write, I’m re-reading something I’ve already learned. My pet peeve: why can’t I remember all the information all the time?

I’ve read how-to books until my eyes ached. I spent hours seeking new methods, or inspiring myself by reading Top Ten First Lines, or Best First Lines or….

Not immediately recalling what I need to know seems like such a waste of time. But I’ll remind myself as necessary, because under all the non-creative parts of writing are the reasons I began to write in the first place.

Whether I remember all the mechanics of writing or not, it’s something I force myself to do. I want to be the best storyteller possible—for me at least. Doing less would just embarrass me later.

What about you, do you remember everything? How you do you keep all the facets where you need them?

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.

~~~oOo~~~

Co-Hosts:

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

~~~oOo~~~

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?