Tag Archives: Insecure Writers Support Group

IWSG 86: Heart the Writing Craft


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.



 PK Hrezo | Cathrina ConstantinePJ ColandoKim Lajevardi | Sandra Cox


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.


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


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.



Pat Garcia | Victoria Marie Lees | Louise – Fundy Blue


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


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.



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


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?


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.




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.



Erika Beebe | PJ Colando | Tonja Drecker | Sadira Stone | Cathrina Constantine


Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

When I took my first on-line writing course, which seems centuries ago, I learned something about writing I didn’t expect. Within our six lessons, we were limited to a paragraph. Sometimes a page.

I had to edit my thoughts right down to the bone and chose each word carefully. It proved that words came at a cost.

As a group, we’d give feedback on each submission. I was hit with questions like: Where and when am I? Who’s talking? Or the worst: I don’t see anything.

My word choices seemed so obvious to me weren’t communicating clear images to my readers. I sensed something weird was going on, and it had nothing to do with my limited word count.

Why were my readers experiencing things that weren’t on the page, and how could I fix it?

I tried adding concrete details and letting the work rest. But as hard as I tried, they still saw something else.


No matter how much work a writer puts into a scene it will appear in a reader’s mind as something slightly different. Proofing our craft is art and each of us adds a little of themselves as we read.

What about you: Any feedback surprise you in your early days of writing? Care to share.

IWSG 82: Taking Chances


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.



PK Hrezo | Pat GarciaSE White | Lisa Buie Collard | Diane Burton


Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

Yes, my style and voice changes with each story, and I’ve been known to discuss controversial topics within my work.

That said, one of my favorite things to practice is third-person omnipotent point of view. If anyone wants to give this a try, you must read this post from Scribophile. It really puts it in perspective. 😉

When giving third-person omnipotent point of view a try, it can get pretty ugly. I don’t hold back and often paint myself into a corner. It can be a slog to revise and more than once I’ve lost interest in a piece because I landed up stomping through the paint to escape.

My only compensation for all my hard work is I keep them short, and I tell myself that what I’ve learned is in there somewhere and once assimilated; it will come out in organically—eventually.

In Other News: ProWritingAid is doing a Crime Writing Week this month. Here’s the webinar link if you’re curious: https://prowritingaid.com/crimeweekhub.

Hope to see you there.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned and tried in your writing?