Tag Archives: Insecure Writers Support Group

IWSG 88: It’s How You Say It


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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

Jemima Pitt | J Lenni Dorner | Cathrina ConstantineRonel Janse van Vuuren | Mary Aalgaard

OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Personally, I draw the line at disrespecting any living thing.

Professionally, if there is such a thing for me, I draw the line at what my readers find offensive and where my truth, passion, or theme falls. Hopefully, it lands somewhere between the two.

Language

,,,can be a huge deal. Think middle grader, or young adult. I want my characters to be authentic and real to my readers. But gatekeepers and publishers are on the lookout for the inappropriate, and I don’t blame them for being careful.

I know that if the language I use is iffy, then I’d better have a good reason for it because they are not about forgiveness in the name of art. Our children are precious and grow up way too fast as it is.

Controversial topics,

…however, are for any age group.

 “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”–Winston Churchill

This train of thought is worth considering when writing anything.

The thing is that kids learn by example, and writing stories that get the kids thinking about their lives and how they want to live them is a good thing IMO.

Respect

Topics are controversial because we all have opinions, and we all have a right to a point of view. What makes some of us different from others is the level of respect we offer when we share.

 “I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.”–Voltaire

Make a stand if it’s important to you, but be warned there could be blowback.

Some publishers love hot topics, and if you’re submitting, consider the submission pages of your favorite publishers to discover where they stand.

My Question to You

It takes all kinds to make up the world we live in. Do you have any tips on how to approach a controversial subject in fiction?

Gleaned from:

IWSG 87: Capturing Truth


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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

Rebecca DouglassT. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman | Natalie AguirreKaren Lynn | C. Lee McKenzie

OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:

How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Successful Writers…

I don’t think any of us woke up one morning and said, “Writing is easy money. I think I’ll do if for a living.”

However, many of us have woken up bursting with inspiration and crafted something meaningful—possibly beautiful. Something that had to come out. Not to share. Not to become a star. It was simple, sharp, and so personal that tears glimmered, and throats ached.

At that moment, a truth of raw humanity was written down.

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.”—Unknown

As a youngster, I captured my truths in poetry. It was dark, dripping with loss and attempting to reach through the barrier between the living and the dead. The spirits that haunted me were beyond my reach. Familiar and comforting wasn’t what followed my readers home and hid under their beds.

I still am an acquired taste.

Successful writers have the ability to reach in and find the truth. Beyond that, they express it in poems, songs, short stories, novels, plays—screen and stage, and through freelancing.

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”—Walt Disney

Successful Work…

Making money is about the work. If your work is successful, you’ll find an agent or publisher. Your work breaks into the industry, and you go from writer to promoter.

Then swing back to writer until your next work is ready to be published or preformed.

 “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”—Albert Schweitzer

Whichever road you take, there are degrees of success.

Are you holding a copy of your printed work? Who wouldn’t be thrilled! Congrats.

Are you out promoting your work? Yay! You’ve adjusted to the spotlight and are moving forward with your marketing plan.

Are people lined up to enjoy your work? You’ve found your fans! I can’t think of anything sweeter.

Personal versus Professional…

Success is in the beholder’s eye. Celebrate all your achievements and remember, you’re one in a million.

What does your eye behold?

IWSG 86: Heart the Writing Craft


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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

 PK Hrezo | Cathrina ConstantinePJ ColandoKim Lajevardi | Sandra Cox

OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:

What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something, or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

This question has opened a can of worms. I’ve read over forty… maybe, fifty, or more books on how to write. I’ve even read books that had nothing to do with my genre and still learned something new.

Honestly, every how-to-write manual has something worth discovering.

I started, probably like you did, and read On Writing by Stephen King. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s an easy and inspirational read by a writing legend.

Which led to more questions and more books.

A course in itself

Writing Fiction: a Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway

For the writer that has limited access to writing courses and wants a deep dive into writing fiction, this book is for you.

It touches on all the basics, with in-depth examples and detailed explanations on each facet of fiction writing.

I learned so much and landed up adding to my reading list from her recommendations in Appendix B.

EMOTIONAL DEPTH AND BOOK PACING

It’s an older book called: Techniques of the $elling Writer by Dwight V. Swain

Like Burroway’s, Swain’s book covers the basics. He also dives into the Motive-Reaction Unit and offers a deep explanation of Scene-Sequel Pattern that controls the story’s pace.

Characterization and POV became easier once I learned about the MRU.  It took practice, but now I automatically choose one or all of these reactions: immediate instinct, first thought, physical response, dialogue.

Each character gets a turn, and it makes the characters come alive. The drama reads as organic, and I love how it plays on the page.

Pacing in a project can be challenging. No drama, drama, drama or yawn, yawn, yawn. Using the scene – sequel pattern comes naturally to me now. It made my work less exhausting for my readers.

You’ve heard that each scene needs a protagonist with a goal which is blocked by the antagonist, creating conflict. When the protagonist doesn’t achieve their goal, the scene ends in disaster.

The sequel portion of the pattern is where the protagonist takes a moment to process their reaction, consider their dilemma, and decide what they’ll do next. This, of course, gives them a new goal which leads to another scene.

Building blocks

The internet was a great place to find grammar and punctuation advice. I have a few go-to sites like: uToronto, Purdue OWL.

I had all the grammar, punctuation, and fiction writing facets covered. What I needed after that was a way to express myself as a writer. To build expressive paragraphs, everyone needs to create beautiful, descriptive, sentences.

Artful Sentence: Syntax as Style by Virginia Tufte was how I learned to leave the simple to-be sentence behind and embrace the complex.

This book was not an easy read for me. The vocabulary had me looking up word after word. Inside, you’ll learn about every type of modifier, and their placement.  This book is the how-to in building the complex sentence.

It turned me into an artist in my own mind. Yes, I’m making fun of myself.

Seriously, I feel so much more comfortable getting my words down now that I dug into her book.

Have you guested my secret?

I’m obsessive!

Most of my non-fiction books are how-to-write manuals. Yes, like you, I have a bookcase full of them. They inspire me. I’ve never gotten through a chapter without jotting down an idea or thinking through some new angle.

What about you… What makes you obsessive? You don’t have to stick to writing on this one. Is it gardening? Your kids? Pets? Yeah, I want to know.

Additional Note: For each comment left, I visited your blog. However, my comments were sometimes blocked by security. Sorry about that.

IWSG 85: Reasons To Keep Writing


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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

Pat Garcia | Victoria Marie Lees | Louise – Fundy Blue

OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:

What would make you quit writing?

Let’s break this down as a spectrum. On one end, what would stop me from finishing a project; on the other end, what would stop me from ever writing again.

What would stop me from finishing a project?

Painted myself into a corner. Preventable if I’d outline first.

Lack of story structure. Most likely, it would need a complete rewrite. Or a dissection, rearrange, and rebuild using a new outline or general plan to increase tension until the climax.

Lack of connection with characters/story not compelling: Revisit characters and their ability to connect with readers. Ask questions like: are my characters interesting, flawed, vulnerable, proactive?

It comes down to one thing: unless there is a fundamental flaw (think broken foundation) within the project, most stories can be fixed. It completely depends on how much effort you want to put into your project.

Now you understand why so many say you’ve got to love the project. You’ve got to be excited about it to the point of no return. Because this is just the beginning.

After signing a contract, you’ve got to go through rounds and rounds of edits and polishing. Attitude is everything. You’ll want them to be thrilled to work with you again.

What would stop me from trying to sell a project?

Rejections. Rejection. Rejection.

Nope, that’s not it.

Form Rejections can mean you need to revise your query, synopsis, and pages. Unfortunately, editors/agents have too many reasons to stop reading submissions. This equals a form rejection, or worse, crickets.

Rejection with feedback is another animal. It means the query was successful. Take it to heart that any advice that is offered can possibility get you published with that sole agent/editor, however, you need to decide if what they ask for compromises what you’ve envisioned. Then it’s up to you, and it will be a hard decision.

Rejection based sales is a hard fact. Agent/editor says: That the market is too saturated. No one can categorize the work’s genre, so where do you sell it? Another example and it’s a huge one is a broken foundation.  What if you wrote a ChicLit, but your readers found it offense to women.

If you get more than fifty rejections or more, ask yourself: Is this story great? Brilliant? Outstanding? Does it fit in with all the other published bestsellers? Can it be fixed? If the answer is no, it might be wise to move on and write a better, more brilliant book and try again.

What would make me stop writing for good?

This is very personal. Nothing would stop me from writing—evah! Is there a possibility I’ll quit submitting? That’s a maybe.

Honestly, each time I submit, it takes longer and longer to build myself up and get to it. One day, I suspect, I won’t be able to.

But I’ll always write. Like you, it’s in my blood.

Why to writers fail?

They get tired. We all know this industry is hard on the ego. Frustrations with the constant upping of ability, and the hard fact that if we do master the craft, there is a long road of rejection in front of us.

Some get energized by counting their rejections. My suggestion is be one of them. At least they are happy knowing that they are one step closer to success.

Why I haven’t quit yet?

“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.”

Quote from George M. Moore, Jr.

Each time I submit, it takes longer and longer to try again. I tell myself I’m still in the game as long as I keep trying. I don’t know if it’s a big honking lie, but it gets me through my day.

What about you… What do you tell yourself to keep going?

Gleaned from:

IWSG 84: A Change is as Good as a Rest


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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

J Lenni Dorner | Sarah FosterNatalie Aguirre | Lee Lowery | Rachna Chhabria

OPTIONAL IWSG DAY QUESTION:

For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Answer to question one: It depends.

I have a few questions too: What if finishing your story amps you up? What do you do then?Well, I suggest writing something new to help you break free from your old story. Make it a short one.

I love writing shorts. I can revise over a weekend. There is so much freedom with something you can read in an afternoon. Feedback is easier to get too.

Once you finish it, you’ll be more than ready for your revisions.

Answer to question two: Experience allows me to see my writing growth. I get a little better.

Some more wisdom is that we should remind ourselves that we succeeded. Accomplished something only a few of the 7.9 billion humans on Earth are capable of doing.

Revising will be harder than getting our first draft down. No one likes the truth when it hurts. If you land up just rephrasing what you already have then, it’s done.

Or, and this sucks, it’s time to drop it in a drawer and forget about it.

Let your beta readers tell you where it stands and move on to the next masterpiece waiting to be captured.

What about you? Do you start something new right away or do you distract yourself with another hobby?

ADDITIONAL NOTE:

On several occasions I tried to return the comment and was rejected. I don’t know why, but I’d like you to know I return all comments when I can. Sorry if I missed you.