IWSG: All of This Has Happened Before and It Will Happen Again

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March is here and I feel like it is going to be an interesting March. This is my post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where once a month we come together to inspire and be inspired, to vent and share our trials too. Once again, this month’s post is my first time checking in on WordPress. I’m just getting to be terrible with social media.

This month, I’m going to go with the (optional) question of the month again

March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I keep thinking of the Battlestar Galactica quote: All of This Has Happened Before and It Will Happen Again. If we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it.

Has anyone else ever heard this advice: Don’t try to unearth and edit things you wrote before. Start over. You’ve changed too much, and it’s too frustrating.

The first story I sold in recent times was, “Do You Believe in Ghosts?” – a short story with a funny history as something I originally wrote as pure contemporary fiction, shortly after graduating with a B.A. in English with a prof who (I’ve mentioned this before) told me to stop writing fantasy. Years later, I came back to it and rewrote the story as paranormal romance mostly just because.

The short answer is yes, I have. The longer answer is something along the lines of – and why not? I think of famous authors (like Tolkien) who spent years off-and-on working on their projects. Maybe I’ll never get there, but I do have projects that I’ve been working on for years and sometimes it feels like – okay, I really need to let this one go, but … someday I’ll be able to do it justice. And those projects are the ones that captivate me most.

What about you? What do you think?

IWSG: A Writer’s Many Hats

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Hard to believe that February is here. This year the first falls on a Wednesday, which means IWSG Day is here super early! True confessions, I was planning to skip this month due to working several personal deadlines and being busy and stressed. Then I saw this month’s question and thought I can write something real quick on that which also speaks to what’s taking up a lot of my time. Namely, reading. Lots of reading.

This month’s question is “How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?”

As a writer, I read a lot. I read to discover different genres, to see what is going on with my chosen genres, to research. I read books about writing,  including a fascinating little treatise called Letters to a Young Novelist, where writing is called a parasitic infection.

We’re like people walking around with this bug inside us, feeding on our life experiences. For example, I know this is true, I can be across the world in a gorgeous, once-in-a-lifetime historical locale. And I’ll basically think okay here’s why I’m really here: how could I use this in a story? And after a heated, door-slamming argument, I’ll be telling myself well, that’s food for writing drama.

When I read, no matter what I read, but especially works in my chosen genre, there is always a part of me that’s thinking things like – hm, interesting stylistic device, that could help me with that problem I was having. Occasionally, I feel like  I’m actually reading as a reader would – but then again wait – I’m thinking *like a writer* that I’m actually reading as a reader. And how meta is that?

Okay, enough of that.

What about you? If you’re a writer, does this affect your reading? What do you think about the analogy between writing and a parasitic infection? Does it “bug”  you? 😉

Friday Fictioneers: Egg Game

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

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The Egg Game

Which came first? As a young child, Doug had this talent for obsessing over such questions. Once, he spent an entire month pestering his parents about spiders and insects and why we need them

His latest obsession was the question: which came first the chicken or the egg.

Finally, his mother announced that they were going to play a game called the egg game, wherein he would climb into this cardboard “egg” for “scientific purposes.”

Finally, some peace and quiet. And now, Doug knew the truth. Obviously, the chicken came first because moms always come first.

Friday Fictioneers: The Bridge Builder

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

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They said there was no way you would ever get along. Too different. Too much war and fighting. Maybe they were right.

As I write these words, I plan to give you each fragments, half to one and half the other. I don’t know who poisoned me or why. It does not matter. I forgive you. I forgive them.

I forgive. And so must you. They call me dreamer, deluded, but if you ever read these words, if you ever assemble these two halves into their single whole, then call me something else. Call me the bridge builder.

Friday Fictioneers: Support

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

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“I will stand by you no matter what.”

He first said those words years ago, never imagining that they could become so literal, while he leans on his wife for support.

Waves crash and recede in bubbling whispers around their bare feet, well, three feet, one plaster cast with a heel.

“Next time you say ‘don’t walk there, it’s icy,’ I promise I’ll listen.”

“You shouldn’t make promises you don’t intend to keep.”

“Never. Not once.” Then, he laughs.

“What?”

“I love you. That’s all.”

“Yes. That is funny. I love you too.”

“Hilarious.” They stumble on, together.

WPS: The Leaf

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This is my first time doing this, so I hope it works. This picture is taken from a Google Maps street view of Edinburgh, as part of What Pegman Saw.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

The Leaf

Red-veined, golden, the leaf makes its way from past to present, catching a ride on a river on its way from rain to ocean. Once upon a time, they say a tree grew from seed to sapling. Knights danced with swords and leather. Castles rose. Castles fell. Leaves came and went and came again. Soon the leaf will crumble into dust. Soon.

So a child has heard and so a child believes as she bends down quick as a snake to snatch the leaf from the current, to twirl it in a curious hand.

“What is that?” Child’s mother.

“Nothing.” A lie.

“Put it back.”

A sigh.

“But-”

“Now.”

“Fine.” Another lie, a fake throw. The leaf does not fall again. Instead, it catches a new ride, from a girl’s pocket to leather-bound pages of memory. From there, perhaps, to fight another day.

IWSG: Advice Is a Form of Nostalgia

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First of all, Happy New Year! And Happy IWSG Day!

Yes, 2017 is upon us. Maybe that’s why this month’s question of the month is making me think of nostalgia and the (in)famous quote that “advice is form of nostalgia.” Then again, maybe “bad advice” is a form of nostalgia.

The question of the month is “What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?”

My answer is none, or none I can remember. I mean, it’s all part of the learning experience. When I think of memorably bad advice I’ve gotten, it all comes down to stories. And, I love stories.

Like the time I was told to self-publish now and not later, by someone who’d done the same and then proceeded to hawk his book to friends and family. This guy was in charge of the local writer’s group and a real character. I’m never going to do that again, but I’ll never forget the kick in the pants he gave us.

Then there’s the writing prof in college who basically told me not to bother with fantasy, because it doesn’t sell, which is more or less true. But, she did push me to think out of the fantasy box, and she did convince me I was a good writer, deep down, maybe.

A third story, I remember talking to someone I know about bad writing advice I’d gotten, which I honestly don’t even remember, because it was bad. My friend was saying how art groups are just failed artists exchanging the same bad advice, and it can be like that, but I still think it’s better to have people you can talk to. On a related note, last I heard, years later, this person is still waiting for “inspiration”.

Long story short, in my opinion, it’s better to make mistakes than to be frozen in place waiting for the stars to align so you can get to work. Maybe the only truly bad advice is the advice not to write at all, to wait for inspiration, to wait until I “feel like it.” And yes, there are people who actually tell me things like that – because to them it’s just a hobby.

What about you? What’s one piece of writing advice you wish you never heard?