Insecure Writer’s Support Group: June 2018

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgePurpose: 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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can’t find you to comment back.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

June 6 question – What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?
The awesome co-hosts for the June 6 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, Tonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

 

Well, based my current WIP I’m going to say title names are harder to come up with. You see, I have named every character in my story but one and I still have no idea what the title is. The only other completed short story I’ve got didn’t actually have any character names but the title was definitely the last thing I came up with. When it comes to characters I can just pick a name that feels right for them. Maybe it tells the genre-savvy reader something about the character or maybe it just feels right. But it’s never really been difficult. That’s the great thing about character names, they don’t have to do anything.

Titles, on the other hand, have to attract an audience. They have to relate somehow to the story being told. They have to feel good, sound good, and they have to avoid being too similar to other titles. And as much as it feels like every story has already been told it feels even more like every title has already been used half a dozen times. Also, titles, with a few exceptions, can’t just be a string of syllables put together to entertain me.

I almost always wait until the story is finished before I give it a name. Partly that’s due to the difficulty but I think it also stems from my writing process. I’m not much of an outliner. I come up with a fragment of an idea and I prefer to start writing and see where it goes. One major flaw with this process is that fragments don’t always grow into terribly interesting completed stories. Or, indeed, into completed stories at all. But it also means that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to give it a name because if a name describes a story then it’s important to know what I’m trying to describe and I don’t really know until it’s completed. I do, at least, know who a character is and more or less what they want to accomplish when I add them to a story.

Even harder than coming up with a title, though? Coming up with a concept, to begin with. There is a reason I spend far more time writing critiques and general thoughts about writing than I do actually writing stories. I’m having a lot of trouble feeling motivated to work on my current WIP, lately, because I feel like it’s too generic and uninteresting. I know that this is a common feeling for a lot of writers but what if mine actually is generic and uninteresting? How will I punch it up? Anyone got any advice for me about feeling this way and what to do about it?

IWSG May 2018

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Purpose: 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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can’t find you to comment back.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional! 

May 2 question – It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 2 posting of the IWSG are E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

Is it finally spring? Are we really, really sure? Have we checked the forecast for the next 45 minutes? OK, cool.

I’m not sure whether or not this season inspires me to write more than others. For one thing, I’ve not been writing for long enough to really know which season is my best season. I will say this for spring/early summer. There are a lot of big movies coming out and I like critiquing movies, and big movies make me feel like maybe someone will read the things I write if I write them soon enough. I did a thing about Ready Player One a few weeks ago, then a listicle about my fears for Avengers: Infinity War last week, and later today I’ll have a review of that movie going up. And, in a sense, spring inspired that because spring is the season for these kinds of movies to start coming out.

So I was inspired to write that way, for sure! And I actually made some serious headway in my current short story WIP last week, too. The first draft is nearing completion which is pretty exciting. But was it because it was spring? Or was it just because I was sick and bored? Maybe spring can inspire me to write by making me feel too ill to do anything else.

I’ve never been much of an outdoors person and I’ve been fortunate to always have air-conditioning and central heating except for four memorable, miserable years in college. So seasons have rarely seemed overly important to me. I don’t even change the way I dress usually since even if I leave my home I’m just getting in my car and going somewhere else where I will also be indoors. The extra daylight hours can help me feel more productive which might lead to more writing. Or it might lead to more doing lots of other things, too.

In conclusion, spring might make me write more, or it might be something else that makes me write more, or I might not even write more. Who even knows? One thing we can say for sure is that spring is a season and I do enjoy writing during it. I hope you have found this incredibly helpful.

#IWSG Writing through the struggle

Writing is not always easy.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Purpose: 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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can’t find you to comment back.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the April 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!
Click here to view everyone in the Blog Hop.

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April 4 question – When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

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At first, I kept trying to read this question without the word “life” in it and I wondered if a lot of people struggled with writing when they had to write scenes with inclement weather or while it was wet outside. Once I finally got a handle on the actual question, however, I realized what was going on. And…I wish I had a good answer for this but I don’t think I do.

For the most part, whenever I’ve had trouble with writing I’ve walked away from it entirely. I’ve had a couple novel ideas in my life that I started and then got overwhelmed or realized I didn’t know where to go with them and so I just left them. If you consider the work I do with Let’s Plays and strategy guides on my YouTube channel to be a form of writing – and I do because the former requires the same kind of critical thinking skills and ability to form arguments that are necessary for writing reviews and analyses while the latter requires actual script writing – then I also gave that up the last time I felt out of sorts about it.

These days I mostly write here and at the baseball blog and things haven’t gotten difficult for me, either place, yet, though I’ve been contemplating putting this blog on hiatus at least during the baseball season as a sort of preemptive measure. The work I do on my YouTube channel has similarly been rebooted and not faced any hardship. I don’t know what I’ll do if I face any, this time. I hope that I’ve learned my lesson and that the real path is to reevaluate, maybe take a step back, but not to abandon. But I won’t know until I get there.

My biggest fear in this regard, right now, is actually a short story I’m working on. Some friends and I get together every Halloween for a party which includes, because many of them were or are English majors even though I was not, a short story contest. I want to enter this story in the contest but I also want to convert it into a prologue or first chapter for a novella or novel. However, I’m not even halfway through the short story version and I’m already getting intimidated by its length. I don’t feel like I’m going to give up on it, but I’m also not doing a terrific job of carving out time to actually work on it, right now, either. I never add to it more than once a week and even that has been a rarity so far.

I spend a lot of time wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew but when I ask myself what it is I want to give up the answer is always none of it. In fact, I keep coming up with ideas for new things I also want to do even as I try to remember when the last time I worked on the short story was or how I’m ever going to find time to hit all my weekly goals this time. I’ve tried making schedules to ensure I get things done but I usually grossly underestimate how long things will take or have tiny little things pop up that interrupt me. So far I’ve been able to recover by, again, not actually working on my short story, and eliminating the “free” time I try to schedule in my week to do something less structured. Anybody got any tips?

#IWSG: Rewarding Writing

I get very emotional when I finish a story.

So this is going to be a bit of a different kind of post for me. Normally I’m critiquing someone else’s writing but one of my friends convinced me to join the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. My understanding is that participating in this group means writing a post about the art of writing on the first Wednesday of every month. So that’s what you can expect here for a while. Hopefully, this will give you a bit more insight into me and my writing processes as we go through it and, of course, you should check out the other blogs on the blog hop and see what else is out there that strikes your fancy!

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Purpose: 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!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can’t find you to comment back.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the March 7 posting of the IWSG are Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!

Click here to view everyone in the Blog Hop.

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March 7 question – How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

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Unfortunately, I couldn’t really do much with this particular question. I don’t celebrate when I achieve a writing goal (usually that means completing a blog post since most of my writing is done here and at Royals Review) or when I finish a story. I just… move on to the next thing on my list. But it did get me thinking about how I react to the endings of stories when I consume them.

I have two basic reactions with varying levels of intensity based on a couple of factors. If the story stops without being completed or has a bad ending I usually get pretty upset. I refused to seriously consider purchasing Mass Effect: Andromeda after the travesty that was the ending of Mass Effect 3 despite being a huge fan of BioWare, the development company, and the Mass Effect series in general. I’ll also never forget my summer break between Freshman and Sophomore years at college when my sister suggested I binge watch the Dark Angel TV series starring Jessica Alba. She loaned me her DVDs – this was before the days of streaming TV – and I quickly watched the first two seasons of the series. I eagerly returned her discs and asked to borrow the next season. That’s when I discovered that Dark Angel, whose second season ended on a massive cliffhanger, did not have a third season. The show had been canceled. I didn’t speak to my sister for the rest of the summer and it was the very first time I can recall seriously considering that I might want to write something creative; I really wanted to know the ending of that story, even if I had to write it myself.

But when a story actually finishes my reaction is almost universally that of sadness. The amount of sadness depends on how much I enjoyed it. When I finished Final Fantasy Type-0, for example, I was still pretty sad even though if you followed along with my videos and handful of blog posts I pretty clearly hadn’t enjoyed the game very much. On the other hand, when I finished Titan A.E. the second time – when I was old enough to better appreciate it – I was devastated. In both cases I followed my regular pattern for dealing with the loss of a story: I started googling the name of the story all over the place looking for supplementary material. That is one of the reasons I can appreciate Japanese media (primarily video games and anime) so much; there’s always tons of supplementary material.

Seriously. Google an anime, some time, if you never have. They’re almost always based on a manga which will have similar and additional stories since the anime frequently primarily serve as advertisements for them. Frequently there are light novel adaptations, as well. There will be wikis with extra info, sequel movies, prequel movies, spin-off anime, and Original Video Animations, also known as OVAs. Brandon Sanderson is my favorite author for similar reasons. I was sad at the end of the original Mistborn trilogy. Good news! There’s a sequel trilogy – which has now expanded to five books – and author Brandon Sanderson sets most of his books in a shared universe known as The Cosmere so even if there aren’t direct sequels there’s a fair chance I’ll see some of my favorite characters making cameos in other series.

That instinct to find more even when the story is complete also contributes to my writing, here. What better way to keep the thing I love alive than to write my own thoughts, praise, and criticism regarding it? I suppose I could write fan-fictions but ever since an ill-fated attempt to write a Star Trek fanfic when I was 13 I’ve mostly avoided such endeavors.

So now I’m going to do something I don’t usually do. I dislike leaving call-outs for comments too often because I think it can come across really needy. But I’m curious, what do some of you feel and do when you finish a story? Are you happy, sad, or indifferent? Do you obsess over it for weeks or months? Insist all your friends give it a try? Let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.