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? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: Pet Peeves and Procrastination

It's hard to believe we're more than halfway through this year's Insecure Writer's Support Group posts. If you want to join, go HERE. Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts, Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

This month's optional question is: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I really don't have writing/editing pet peeves--unless it's frustration with the stupid mistakes I make. I guess that's to be expected though. It comes with the territory and is part of the process and I'm still figuring it all out. Because apparently just because I've written a few books doesn't mean I'm past all that.

But when I'm reading a book for pleasure (i.e., not editing or proofreading for someone else), I do get irritated with typos and misspellings. In fact, I will stop reading a book if I come across more than one or two in the first couple of chapters. To me, it means the book isn't ready to be read yet.

This month's insecurity is:

I'm nearly done (only about 4 chapters to go!) with the first draft of my current WiP and I've sort of lost my way. After letting it sit for three months (or should I call it procrastinating?), I'm having difficulty finding my way back. I do enjoy looking at the word meter up in the right hand corner of the blog to see how far I've come with it, though.

I know it needs some major editing and rewriting, and I guess right now the task seems daunting. Could that be what's holding me back from finishing the last few chapters?

What is your reading/writing/editing pet peeve?

Any other insecurities this month?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: Implementing Technique

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! The first Wednesday of every month is when insecure writers (or just people who want to keep in contact with writer buddies!) gather for a blog hop to talk about our insecurities as writers and other writerly awesomeness. If you want to join, click on the link.

Many thanks to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his co-hosts this month:  JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

This month's question is:

Did you ever say “I quit”?
If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

I have never said "I quit". I spent years wanting to write and putting it off because I didn't have time. Once I made the serious effort necessary to move forward, I couldn't stop. Although the effort was serious, the result wasn't great. It was "okay" writing, just lacking experience. I wrote and self published two YA novels and a 3-novella YA series. I received some good reviews, mostly from friends, but the books didn't sell. When I go back and read them now, the newbie writing mistakes glare out at me. 

I didn't quit, but I started over.

Yep, I unpublished my books. It was tough stepping back (okay, more like several huge leaps back) after all my effort. But I started over. I'm working on a new novel armed with more experience and knowledge of how it's done. Even though I know the rules and tricks of the trade intellectually, technique isn't always easy to implement and perfect in the seamless way necessary to hold a reader's attention. 

But I have high hopes my new book will be better!

What about you? Did you ever quit writing?
Do you find it difficult to implement technique?