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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Best Left Unsaid - IWSG October 2021

 

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for the October’s IWSG: Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

This month’s optional question: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Sometimes, I imagine myself as a ninety-nine-year-old woman reading my writing of today. I suspect these earlier renditions of me may come across as simplistic, maybe even na├»ve. Perhaps I’ll chuckle at the dated nature of the content, but I know I won’t find anything controversial. For me, it’s easy to draw a line. Anything I write and publish today may last far beyond me and when I’m bearing down on 100, what will I have left if not a good reputation?

For the most part, I write what I like to read, which means no blood, gore or graphic sex. I can’t write horror because it scares me.  Perhaps this inclination to keep things on the clean and neat side is because I read for pleasure, not angst, and wish to create that experience for others. 

But maybe, it’s something more. My daughter rolls her eyes at how old fashioned I am, but I was a sensitive creature growing up and some lessons stuck. We were so drilled not to discuss those taboo topics of religion, money or politics in polite company, to the point that even at this late age I can’t find pleasure in writing about them. You can pretty much guarantee a happy ending in my fiction, or at least an ending in which happiness is imaginable. The suspense, or conflict comes from wondering how the characters will find their way around roadblocks to get there. As for non-fiction, well, what you see here is what you get. I pretty much write from the heart.

Of course, I’m nowhere near perfect. Words that would have had me locked in my room as a kid are sadly a part of my regular vocabulary. I can’t pretend not to have discussed (or railed about) politics lately, although only with people sympathetic to my way of thinking. But as much as I may slip in my personal life, you’re not going to find much evidence of it written down. With the exception of fiction where I have to create conflict, I have no interest in promoting anxiety, animosity, or discomfort. To my way of thinking, it’s a hard, and angry world out there. It’s no help to anyone if I contribute to it.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Defining Success - IWSG September 2021

 

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for the September’s IWSG: Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie.

September 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?

Last week I wrote a personal essay. I’ve sent it out and, if it gets published, I’ll call that success. If I evvvvver get one of my books published, that will be a whopping success. But there’s more to writing then achieving publication. I started this blog, as a means to claw myself out of the unexpected hole into which life had dropped me. At the time, my goal was to improve my writing skills while figuring out how to re-engineer my career. A reread of some of my early blog posts bears witness to my progress. These days I’m a far better writer, and, as it happens, the exercise led me to the position I hold now. So, success, right?

For me success is about degrees—hammering out novel revisions suggested by my writing group even though it feels like an impossible task. Sometimes it’s as simple as forcing myself to send a query letter. A long time ago, I stopped working on my first-ever novel because the draft was so awful, I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Over the past year, I’ve gone back to that attempt and turned it into a cohesive story. To me, that’s a huge win. All of this gives me confidence. I am successful.

That said, sometimes success is as simple as getting an IWSG post written on a day I’m struggling, which I confess is what’s happening today.

 How do you define success as a writer?

 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Best Book? On Writing! IWSG August 2021

 


It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to the August co-hosts: PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox.

This month’s optional 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?

I am not a horror girl. I avoid anything delivering nightmare potential. In high school, friends dragged me to the movies to see Stephen King’s Carrie, which I watched mostly through my fingers. When a friend badgered me to pick up King's Salem’s Lot the summer after my sophomore year of college, I put up a good fight. Sadly, she was relentless, so to get her off my back I began the book, becoming unnerved enough to throw it across the room unfinished. It lay there in the corner for a long time.

In light of that, it doesn’t seem likely that my favorite book on writing would be King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft, but it is. Second place definitely goes to Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott and I've learned tons from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Pen on Fire, by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. With that said, though, I turn to On Writing for inspiration, a quote, or simply a jump start when I’m feeling stalled. The book is so approachable, so entertaining, with voice and clarity and simplicity. Reading it is like taking a class from your favorite teacher, the one who so loves his subject matter his enthusiasm bleeds right through you.  

I’m still not a horror girl. But after blathering on to my dear husband some years back about how much I loved On Writing, he enticed me to read King’s (non-horror) 11/22/63.  Boy, howdy. Not only can Stephen King teach about writing. Man, oh man, can he write!  

If, like me, you hate horror but want good reading, try this link for non-horror stories by Stephen King.  I'm happy to say there are several I've missed. Yahoo! Looks like I've got more books to read.

For other good other books on craft, click here for a post on Book Riot, where you’ll find a list of 100.

What’s your favorite book on writing?