#IWSG – Book Interrupt

My minimal presence in the writing community continues, but IWSG keeps me in touch. So, this is an attempt at my monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post – with the usual raft of flimsy excuses.

As I keep saying, the encouragement of the Ninja Captain avoids me missing a month as he’s such a stalwart follower. Without IWSG, my writing would be post-it notes. Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where you can find better answers to this month’s challenging question.

I need to remind myself the question is optional, but why not attempt an answer. 

January 6 question – Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

However, my health problems have seen me struggle to read as I once did. A physical book or a Kindle has become hard to access in my normal haunts – yes, including a guy’s retreat.

I keep trying audio, although the dogs barking makes that hard – even with the headphones my wife bought me. But I’m rereading a classic SF novel at the moment, and the dogs are quieter. Why? Maybe as it’s an amazing read – profound and engrossing.

Anyway, the question.

The most recent book I struggled with – and stopped before reading Book 2 of the trilogy -was due to repetition. Although the plot was good as was the writing, the author kept using battle scenes with structure and phrases from earlier scenes. Too copy and paste.

Poor or weird grammar will lead to me abandoning a book. Bad editing tends to be noticeable in samples meant to encourage me to buy, so I don’t – and this kind of abandonment is rare. However, if a story hooks me and I then start finding errors, these mount up and make me struggle – usually through to the end. Sometimes, an author attempts to write with inventive grammar or language, which can work but sometimes fails. Maybe I missed the point.

More often the fault is mine as I read something and want to know more. My mind creates a rabbit-hole, which can become a warren if I get tempted online to explore. A place, a person, a quote – anything can trigger me to stop reading and wonder to know more. That’s my probing mind, and not the author’s failure to provide footnotes, appendices, or obscure bits of backstory. Of course, I loved Tolkien’s Middle Earth sagas for just that.

The real question is: where are the roadblocks in my writing?

Repetition – Ragbag – Rabbit-holes – Roadblocks

**

The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue! 

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available. They are truly the best.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

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.

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 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!

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.

For more on the IWSG monthly post and links to other participants visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

#IWSG – Productivity

Apologies for my minimal presence in the writing community recently. This is an attempt at my monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post – with the usual raft of flimsy excuses.

The encouragement of the Ninja Captain avoids me missing a month as he’s such a stalwart follower. Without IWSG, my writing would be post-it notes. Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where you can find better answers to this month’s challenging question.

I need to remind myself the question is optional, but why not attempt an answer. 

December 2 question – Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

In a normal year, November has led my output as NaNoWriMo has motivated me. Otherwise, the WEP/IWSG bi-monthly Challenges have kept me writing throughout the year. And I should thank all the fans of my Welsh police detectives, Sparkle Anwyl and Kama Pillai, for keeping me ploughing on with my Snowdon Shadows tales. Book 1, Fevered Fuse, will appear one day.

However, this year has seen me struggle to be the writer I was.

NaNoWriMo: although I outlined a rough plot, I was unable to write more than a thousand words of my 2020 NaNoWriMo entry called ‘Lost Sheep’ – even with a premise linked to Sparkle Anwyl. But the plot is there as a Scrivener project, so perhaps that will be my 2021 NaNoWriMo entry.

WEP/IWSG: I started a novella with the February challenge, and ‘Custody Chain’ nears the conclusion after five chapters. Although this month’s challenge is now no longer a formal challenge, I’ve started writing the conclusion – despite my state of mind/health etc….

Distractions – Dungeons and Dogs and Depression.

How can I write when everything is falling apart? From the world to this country to my body.

In fact, I failed to read the other WEP/IWSG posts last month or finish answering comments. Well, I did hit ‘Like’ – and wrote one reply/apology for each recent post.

Okay, excuses over as I’m climbing out of the slough of despond, and writing again – well, a bit. However, January 31st looms and I must do my dreaded UK tax return – not writing in that month…except ‘writing it off’ as I do every year.

Somewhere, I must fit in getting ‘Fevered Fuse’ ready for professional editing….and I owe a beta read that’s overdue.

**

The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia,Sylvia Ney,Liesbet @ Roaming About Cathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available. They are truly the best.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

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.

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 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!

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.

For more on the IWSG monthly post and links to other participants visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

#IWSG – Distracted Writer?

September has been another of those catch-up month – sporadic fail – after I was ill in August. In short, backlog has multiplied.

Therefore, this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post crept up before I’d found the time/energy/motivation/space/whatever to visit last month’s visitors. Apologies to you all – or is that excuse getting stale?

Anyway, I can’t disappoint the Ninja Captain himself by missing a month – especially as he’s such a stalwart follower. Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where you can find better answers to this month’s challenging question.

October 7 question – When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

My image of a successful working writer is possibly Ernest Hemingway, at the end of his life an Idaho resident – like me, but I avoid the drink and guns, or the suicide ending.

7th October 1939: American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) works at his typewriter while sitting outdoors, Idaho.
(Photo by Lloyd Arnold/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

When I started down my writing path, I took the journalist calling – like Hemingway sin estimulantes. In fact, I was interested in warcos, such as Hemingway’s 3rd wife Martha Gellhorn. But I wandered along sylvan paths following country pursuits, and my image of a writer scribbling in notepads evolved into a writer at a typewriter with a wastebin of discarded pages.

Even now I have the image of a serious working writer in their dedicated space transforming the notepad scribbles into a manuscript – albeit on a laptop. Whatever the means, that still means dedicated time -a space of regular time set aside each day to go to that space and work. Yet, J K Rowling was forced to use coffee shops and why do I see Mary Wesley writing in her garden?

There’s as many different types of writers as genre variations multiplied by sheets in a ream.

Time to answer the hardest question: what sort of writer am I?

First, a retired equestrian journalist with a notepad/recorder and a desktop PC.

Second, a writer who aspires to release another book into the world, probably set in Snowdonia.

Third, a distracted writer who too easily finds other things to do whether that’s wading through and deleting endless emails, sleeping, or attempting to beat a game.

Are role-playing games my version of Hemingway’s addictions?

Or fourth, at this time of year, I transform into a NaNoWriMo writer. Come November and I usually manage 50,000 words plus in the month. Most of my draft novels were written or revised in November – although one was written at the same breakneck speed one April.

Does that make me a hobbyist? Or a spasmodic writer? That fits the spasms in my limbs/nerves as well as the tingling tattoos of my MC, Sparkle Anwyl.

For the record, I’m prepping my 2020 NaNoWriMo entry called ‘Lost Sheep’ with a premise linked to Sparkle:

A retired Welsh farmer faces challenges to his faith when his legacy is threatened.

Clue: Grandfather.

My thanks to Debs Carey for triggering my NaNo brain with this insightful post:

https://fictioncanbefun.wordpress.com/2020/09/27/secondthoughts-older-people-in-books/

 Also thanks to Fundy Blue who encouraged me to contribute a post the IWSG Anthologies blog today:

https://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/

And a footnote: Hemingway disapproved of the 1939 Idaho photograph, saying, “I don’t work like this.”

Hemingway on Writing

*

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp,Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner! 

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available. They are truly the best.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

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.

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 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!

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 someth

#IWSG – Planned or random?

I have to confess to not being on the write page for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. OK, I’m still willing to ask where would I be without the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh who created the Insecure Writer’s Support Group?

But I must admit to pulling out of the race to create an entry for the annual Anthology Competition. Many thanks, Captain Alex, but not this time.

However, before I forget, here are the details if you want to enter the 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest. It’s a challenging theme again – Dark Matter –but I’m sure you’ll be inspired. For the contest visit:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

My mind is insecure and struggling enough with my Sparkle Anwyl cases. Plus, I’m totally snowed under with the mounting emails and outstanding blog posts to read. So, apologies and more apologies to all that may concern.

Anyway, on to the monthly question which is another challenge – and possibly a chance to digress.

August 5 question – Quote: “Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don’t write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mould into the shapes they need to be.” 
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

I rarely stray from my chosen genre, although I moved from fantasy and SF shorts as a teenager to crime/mystery novels as a retiree. With a few exceptions, although Crime has merged with my Speculative and Alternative History diversions.

The main exception was my MG short ‘Feathered Fire’ for the Voyagers: The Third Ghostanthology. That was my only attempt at writing Middle Grade or historical – although, not fantasy.

However, my intention is to remain in my current genre – Crime – even if the form fluctuates between novel and shorts/flash.

But for NaNoWriMo this November, I may consider writing a longer piece with my characters from ‘Feathered Fire’.

Unless Crime never sleeps.

*

The awesome co-hosts for the August 5 posting of the IWSG are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey! 

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

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.

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 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!

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.

#IWSG – Altered States

Another new month dawns, as does the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. Where would I be without the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh who created the Insecure Writer’s Support Group? Lost in some cultural desert as IWSG do such amazing things for writers, from the annual Anthology to friendly advice for all us vacillating writers. Many thanks, Captain Alex, for keeping me focused on my real goals. Especially at this difficult time when world news is so depressing – from Covid-19 to environmental degradation.

Before I forget, I’m attempting to stay motivated so I can write another short story – an entry for 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest. It’s a challenging theme again – Dark Matter – so my old brain is attempting to re-awaken my initial leanings. More about the contest at:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

June was a confusing month, filled with distractions from my WIP writing/editing. However, the promotion surrounding the launch of Voyagers: The Third Ghost on May 5th has continued to inspire me. Here’s one of the last posts referencing that anthology:

https://rolandclarke.com/2020/06/24/online-writing-resources-part-1/

Anyway, on to the monthly question which worried me – even when the blocks fell away – or rather the chocks were pulled aside. At least, I’ve attempted something – hopefully coherent and entertaining if not useful.

Supposedly– the question is optional! 

So?

July 1 question – There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

I may be a plotter but not when it comes to the distant goal of publishing even my current WIP. That strategy is as flexible as my decreasing writing budget. A few months ago, I had the money for an editor, but it’s been frittered away on other non-essentials.

Which? Too many to mention. Or am I being too vague – or evasive? Let’s just call some escapism and some household.

Well, not exactly all unrelated to my writing. There was the graphic image for my WIP:

https://rolandclarke.com/2020/06/17/wep-iwsg-june-challenge-urban-nightmare/

Graphics by Jonathan Temples – 
http://jonathantemples.co.uk/

…and that was based on future publishing potential. Graphic novels do seem to appeal to fit with a generation of shorter-attention span, minimal-readers. Also, we are becoming visual consumers so why not. Or it could be adapted into cover art if the traditional route survives.

And I sense the traditional will thrive in some guise, whether it’s e-books, audio-books, or page-turned paper touchables. OK, there may be a more visual offshoot related to Virtual Reality technology, but like graphic novels, words and stories will be crucial elements.

Genres will be as fluid as they seem to be whenever I glance at Amazon or Book Bub. I don’t suspect my genre – crime/mysteries – will diminish since it’s endured for decades, nor other genres I tend to read like historical fiction and fantasy.

However, I’m wary of predicting or planning for anything. I write what inspires me, not what seems marketable. If the industry changes, my manuscripts will gather dust and become my legacy – or scraps to be recycled. Anyway, my minimally-selling debut created no precedence – even in waste of space or dust-gathering.

One prediction though: the IWSG Anthology will continue for the near future as it’s a worthwhile exercise. So, I remind you again to check out the details of the next IWSG Anthology competition here:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

Stay sensible, safe, and inspired, please

***

The awesome co-hosts for the July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor,Beth Camp, Liesbet,Tyrean Martinson, andSandra Cox!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

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.

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 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!

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.

#IWSG – My Buried Secrets

After a busy month, it’s time for my IWSG monthly blog post. I’ll admit I’m not the usual Insecure though, distracted as I am with all the promotion surrounding the launch of Voyagers: The Third Ghost on May 5th. If you’ve missed that visit my post back on that day:

https://rolandclarke.com/2020/05/05/celebrate-voyagers-release-day/

A huge thank you to the Ninja Captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh who created the Insecure Writer’s Support Group as they do such amazing things for writers, from the annual Anthology to friendly advice for all us vacillating writers. Many thanks, Captain Alex, for keeping me inspired to keep scribbling. Even at this difficult time.

Before I forget, I’m staying motivated and attempting to write another short story – an entry for 2020 IWSG Anthology Contest. It’s a challenging theme again – Dark Matter – so my old brain is attempting to re-awaken my SF leanings. More about the contest at:

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/the-2019-annual-iwsg-anthology-contest.html

Anyway, on to the monthly question which stumped me at first. Then the blocks fell away – or rather the chocks were pulled away.

June 3 question – Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Too many to mention. Or am I too overt? If my fiction is taken in isolation then two at least are secrets – and I’m not an alcoholic, even if I was a journalist.

But there’s my Gaming addiction. That’s a secret, invisible in my fiction, yes. As is my disability no thanks to a non-gaming MonSter. However, a sharp reader only has to visit this website and those secrets are trumpeted facts. I never hide those aspects of my life on here – nor my curious approach to writings.

My writing techniques are weird and somewhat capricious, but not secret.

However, a reader would need to dig much deeper for secrets that might contradict my ‘official’ image.

So, who suspects this retired equestrian journalist, whose debut was set against the horse world, is useless on a horse? Unlike my characters who are talented horse people in Spiral of Hooves – well, the main ones. Okay, I’ve ridden and like horses, but as a kid I kept falling off and as I grew up my ability on a horse hardly progressed. I feel safer on the ground.

Is that why I hate flying? Again, I’ve improved with age – although I took a few long-haul flights across the Atlantic when I was at college in Canada. But even though I know what all the scary noises are – like air brakes – I’m still irrational. Is that believable from someone who wrote a short story in the IWSG Anthology featuring one of the brave Soviet airwomen of World War II? Well, those women are one of my research obsessions – like other Women Heroes of that period.

However, there is a clue in Feathered Fire – the MC is afraid of flying.

Stay sensible, safe, and inspired, please

*

The awesome co-hosts  for the June 3 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia,J.Q. Rose,andNatalie Aguirre!

How can I be repetitive asking you to agree these guys are the best? Especially as they all have concerns, fears, and insecurities. But they struggle on, so ticker-tape applause for all of them – plus toasts with the best brew available.

Purpose of IWSG: 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!

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.

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 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!

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.