IWSG: If Wishes Came True

April 3 question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

It’s IWSG Day and that means time to share another milepost along the writing journey. What part of my book would I like to be able to write via magic wish?

Is all of it an option? In all seriousness, it’s always amazed me how often my ideas sound so good in my head but not in writing. If I had a magic genie and were going to use just one wish, I’d say something like – please Genie just write the First Chapter for me. After that, I can do the rest.

Now I’m wondering, does it count as plagiarism if you steal from magic writing? I’m picturing an awkward conversation with Copyscape about this. Like, dear Copyscape I think my genie has been helping multiple writers, because that should be all original.

Here’s a life hack I picked up from the well-written opening scene of Dead Witch Watching, one of my favorite urban fantasy novels. If you’re going to make magic wishes, your first wish should always be … to not get caught. Think it through!

Happy April!

IWSG: Heroes & Villains

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group time!

Optional March 6 question – Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

This is a really good question for me this month. I’ve been working on back story for an epic fantasy novel. I’ve been meeting an interesting range of characters, thinking about who interests me and why.

I like the kind of heroes who I probably wouldn’t want to live next door to because they have some serious attitude problems and/or they attract chaos like a magnet. And I like the kind of villains where – after a while – you think, what they’re doing is wrong, but they have a point.

In that sense, I guess the boundaries aren’t all that clear. For example, the main antagonist in the novel may not actually be the main antagonist – and she might have good reasons for doing the evil, definitely destructive things she does. Then again, maybe not. Regardless, beating her may not be the end of my protagonist’s problems after all.

I like writing both in different ways. I love writing (and reading!) vicariously, crazy stories about good and bad guys who would do things I would never dream of doing – well maybe *dream* but never do.

What about you? What kind of characters do you like to read – and write about?

IWSG: Health Concerns

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means IWSG Day and I missed last month because I was really sick at the time, like serious chest cold sick.

Speaking of chest cold, I always get fall/winter allergies, but this past winter has been killer for me, in large part because of the up and down weather we’re having here in the Northeastern U.S. I’ve definitely been feeling down and like I Can’t Do Anything Right!! But at the same time I know myself and my body and health well enough to know – of course that isn’t actually true.

Just wondering, if anyone else has ever dealt with seasonal/long-term not feeling well ness, how it impacts your writing – or doesn’t, and what you’ve learned to do to cope? I try to remember to take allergy meds, and actually putting a reminder might help because that’s usually where my downward spiral starts. Forget to take meds, start to notice I’m coughing and congested a lot, wonder why that is while plowing through what I’m doing, and so on.

I keep hoping the weather will sort of settle down to cold or hot or whatever, but it just doesn’t. Today it’s warm like spring out and I will enjoy some brisk outdoor walking time, but it’ll go back to being winter in a couple of days. This yo-yo weather!

Anyway, hope all my fellow writers are having a good 2019 so far, better than me anyway. 🙂 I just want the congestion to stop, and it would be really great if my stories could finish and edit themselves too. And a pony. Or a unicorn. While I’m wishing for things.

IWSG: Constructive Writing

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2It’s once again the first Wednesday of the month, and that means IWSG Day in the Spookiest Month of All – October!  Every first Wednesday, members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group get together to discuss our fear, hopes, and accomplishments.

This month I’m taking on the (optional) question of the month: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Short answer: yes! Of course it has. Longer answer: Here are three kinds of writing I use to help deal with serious situations and how they’re different.

1. Journaling (aka aimless ranting). The first way that I use writing to move past something major, whether for good or ill, is to journal about it. I’ve found journaling is a great way for me to get that excess energy out and maybe eventually turn all of that stuff in my head into something that I might want to share with someone else someday.

2. Outlining/Pro-con lists. Another way I use writing is to outline a problem or question.  For example, when deciding to buy a house, I used a side-by-side list for the two locations I had in mind, so I could really weigh the pros and cons of each. Outlining like this is really good practice for streamlining my writing, too.

3. Narrative Fiction. Last but not least, for big problems I often use narrative fiction to  roleplay. What if this or that were true? What would that look like? In fiction, I can write about being someone or something (say a unicorn or a dragon) that I’m not. I can also let seriously messed-up hypothetical situations play out without anyone actually being hurt. What if I  went crazy and said all the things I wanted to say? Nothing good, which is terrible for real life but excellent for drama.

Those are the three kinds of writing I write in response to major life events. What about you? Has writing ever helped you through something? If so, how?

IWSG: September Is Here!

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So it’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means IWSG Day and I completely forgot due to … I really don’t have a good excuse, except I’ve been busy. Writing-wise, I’ve been doing a lot of editing and backstory. Among other hopefully more productive things, I dug the first novel I ever wrote out of the trashbin of history and have been giving it a look over.

One of the things that strikes me is that when I first started writing I had much less skill but a lot more energy. I spent a lot of time working on details and a lot of energy taking chances, writing the kind of story I know better(?) than to take on now. It’s been an interesting experience.

So that’s what I have to say this month. Have you ever dug an old piece of writing out of the past? Has it ever made you see how you’ve grown (or at least changed…) as a writer?

Hope everyone has a great September!

IWSG: Stories Are Great!

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Due to a family emergency, this past month has been kind of crazy. While we were out at lunch at a place I normally don’t go to, after leaving the hospital – again – me and my family member both got cute story cubes as part of our Kid’s Meals.

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Then, an adorable little girl came up to us and explained how it works in this way kids have of wanting to make sure everyone in the world gets to share their fun. Basically, you roll the cube and whatever side lands up, you make up a story based on the picture. Then another person (or yourself if you’re alone!) rolls and adds to the story.

So we took turns and built a really lame, really funny story.

It made me think about all of these inspiration games I sometimes play as a writer – like using prompts for inspiration. It isn’t just writers either, apparently. People love telling stories. Stories are awesome. They can bring some light into a dark time, and they can bring people together. And that’s all I have to say right now. Emotionally and in all ways I’m totally wrung out, but I do want to say that Stories Are Great!

What do you think?

IWSG: Titles Are Hard

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means <drum roll> IWSG Day!

This month’s optional question is: which is harder to come up with, a book title or the name of a character? To me, the obvious answer is

Title of course.

Don’t get me wrong. Character names can be tricky. I once changed a character name to be more authentic, despite feeling as if “she” wanted to be called another name. I firmly believe in accepting what my characters say to me, except when I don’t.

Titles on the other hand…. Yikes. One thing I learned from non-fiction copywriting: sometimes you need to start at the end. Sometimes, it’s best to put off the title or intro paragraph until you know what the story is “really all about.” I don’t always know what I’m going to say until I’m done saying it.

Titles are tricky. Characters can change, and characters don’t always have to match their names. But titles are forever.

What do you think, fellow writers? Which is harder to write? Do names just come naturally to you? I wish they just came naturally for me!