Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG: #NoRegrets

Well this year flew by! It's hard to believe that this is the last meeting of the year for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Luckily, you can sign up whenever you want, because this is a year-round event that happens on the first Wednesday of every month. If you are a writer and need support or just want to mingle with like-minded writers, go HERE to sign up. 

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and his co-hosts for hosting this event every month. Today's co-hosts are: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

Here is this month's optional question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and/or failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

My answer is: No regrets and no backtracking, only moving forward. I've taken it pretty slowly the last two years, and I haven't accomplished as much as I could have. It's because I took a step back in order to regroup and move forward again. I've been studying the craft. Again. Or still. Whatever. Although I know the rules intellectually, it seems like it takes a while to really sink in. That's why writers just have to keep writing. And I found that putting too much emphasis on word count and volume and pushing ahead to publish as quickly as possible simply does not work when you're still a newbie (after 8 years, I still feel like a newbie) learning the craft. I took a good long look at my published works and decided they were lacking--and unpublished my two novels and a 3-novella series on January 1st of this year. 

My writing has improved, because I slowed down, took my time, and paid closer attention to the whole atmosphere of my work. And while I wish that time wasn't passing so quickly, this past year was totally worth it. 

How was your year?
Any regrets?
What would you change if you could?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG: Do You NaNo?

It's The Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! On the first Wednesday of every month,  writers share the ups and downs of the writing life and offer support to our comrades-in-arms. To sign up, go HERE

Thanks to our Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh and this month's support team: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

And speaking of the IWSG...I submitted a story to the IWSG short story anthology contest. When I read that this year's genre was mystery/crime/thriller with a time-based theme, I wrote a short story called, A Stitch in Crime. My insecurity? I write sweet and cozy mysteries. It's like decaf coffee in a caffeinated world, you know? But I do love the story and am happy with it. And of course, I can't wait to read the anthology when it comes out because I know it's going to be awesome!

This month's optional question is: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I haven't done NaNoWriMo--yet. But I participated in BuNoWriMo. Same thing, different month. I won, but it was touch and go. The result was like a puzzle I had to put together: the border was nice and neat, but the body of the puzzle didn't have a color scheme to go by for easy fitting. LOL. Eventually I published A Guilty Ghost Surprised. Next time I'll know to do a better job on the outline.

What about you?

Did you enter the IWSG short story anthology contest?

Have you done NaNoWriMo? How'd it go?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Let's Get Personal

Got a question about writing, publishing or editing? The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the best support group around for writers. You don't even have to be insecure--but it's okay if you are! Sign up at this LINK, then post anything writing related on the first Wednesday of every month. Not sure what to post? There is a prompt question you can answer if you don't want to post your own insecurity. 

Many thanks to our host Alex Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

This month's question is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Answer: Yes. Not on purpose though. I only realized later...

My teen character Indigo Eady was orphaned at sixteen years old. She went to live with her uncle in England, bringing with her only a trunk of her belongings, nothing more. On an intellectual level, she knew her father was dead, she didn't deny it. She just didn't talk about it. And if she didn't unpack her trunk, then his death wasn't quite permanent or as painful. So she refused to unpack the trunk. She took things out as she needed them and then put them back. Her bedroom, unlike most teenager's, was bare (or empty). Sort of a metaphor for the situation she found herself in. (Before this gets maudlin, I offset the situation with humor when the ghost of Franny, a former Victorian madam of some repute, had formed an attachment to Indigo, so she'd unpack the trunk at every turn and forced Indigo to face her reality). 

And how does this relate to me? I'm not an orphan. But I noticed that there is a correlation between my character's physical trunk and my metaphorical trunk where I keep some of my personal "things". Sometimes I pull these things out to examine them, but then tuck them back into the trunk and gently close the lid. At one time I would have said "shove" these things to the bottom of the trunk, cover that stuff up, and "slam" the lid hard. But with time comes perspective, and perspective brings healing.  

Everyone has a "trunk". It's impossible to go through life without one. Some people have more in their trunks than others. Items in the trunk change or become less significant than they once were and you don't need to slam down the lid anymore. You might even leave the lid open because you no longer care who sees what's inside.  

These behaviors are all part of the human condition. As writers we tap into it all the time. It's what connects us as human beings. When we can relate to our readers, it's why they buy our books. Because we've touched on something they can understand and relate to. 

What about you?

Do you slip personal aspects of yourself into your characters?