June 2021 IWSG

June 2 question – For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

I try to go at least 3 months after finishing before diving back in. Sometimes, I actually make it. Most of the time, I make it about a month to 6 weeks and then I HAVE TO GO BACK AND LOOK AT IT OR I WILL DIE.

And that’s the only answer I have to that.

So…I have a question for everyone else out there. With the end of social distancing upon us, there is a lot of talk lately about “reinventing” oneself. About looking at the last 15 months and having an honest discussion with yourself about what you liked, didn’t like, and what you want to lose, permanently, comparing pre-pandemic and pandemic lockdown experiences.

Is this something you’re going to do? Have you already started? Are you baby-stepping your planned changes or just diving in?

Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or their latest roast platypus recipes.

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They forgot Mother’s Day.

The kids I can let slide, because I couldn’t remember when Thanksgiving and Christmas were until I was in college, so it’s kinda hard to point fingers at 12 year olds.

But the husband…

I asked if he’d made any plans for today. Just like that. I didn’t ask “What are the plans for Mother’s Day today?” I asked “Did you plan anything today?” I actually wasn’t trying to bait him. I was trying to plan my own day. Are they making a dinner that I need to be home for? Is there some mid-day excursion for which I should dress appropriately? Hiking? Going to a Trampoline Park? A movie? Perusing a garden store so I can choose my yearly sacrificial victim outdoor decorative plant?

“Just keep working on bringing the new server online,” he said.

“Is your Mom still getting up before 9am?” I ask. My goal for this question is, in part, spiteful. The other part is more about convenience. I don’t want to hear about how “it would’ve been nice if the kids had called me for Mother’s Day,” *hint, nudge*.

It’s 930am.

“Yeah, why?”

“Well that means I can dial her up for the kids,” I say, as I pull the number up on my phone. In my daughter’s room, I hand off the phone to her and say, “talk to Grandma. It’s Mother’s Day. When you’re done, hand it off to your brother.”

Again, this was not an entirely spiteful move. Brant’s family expects phone calls for every holiday and birthday that they hold dear if we can’t be all together for it. If Brant isn’t going to do it, that means I need to get it done or face the consequences. (My family is almost a complete 180. If I get a text saying “BTW your Dad is getting surgery tomorrow” I feel not only like they were thoughtful enough to include me, but that I only need to acknowledge the coming event, ask if they need anything, and assume that if I don’t hear anything further, then the surgery was a success.)

I go to take a shower and send a text to a single friend to call his mom, and another text to a mom friend of mine asking if she has any plans for the day (her family has an odd schedule, so it’s always possible that holidays get celebrated on other days in order to accomodate little things like work and what-not).

I finish my shower and get out to see Brant talking to his mom on my phone and one of the cards out of the card box that I have for birthdays and holidays and such. This is more about avoiding the card aisle for a 30-45 minute task as we involve the kids in picking out appropriate/humorous cards for various occasions.

Somehow, that cheeses me off even more.

I’m actually glad I didn’t get another “breakfast in bed” scenario. I always appreciate the effort, I always say “thank you,” but honestly? Cold, overcooked, unseasoned eggs is not exactly something I look forward to. But at least the effort was put forth for the occasion.

I know what you’re thinking: “Katty, seriously? It’s a shallow holiday that was hijacked by Hallmark. Even the inventor of the United States Mother’s Day went on the record to regret it. Get over it.”

There are so many reasons to get over it.

There is a very serious reason for why I don’t.

But we’re not going into that reason right now. Right now, the only thing you, dear reader, need to know is that vengeance will be mine. Not by “forgetting” Father’s Day (I scheduled and paid for it back in March, and it cost quite a bit, so even if Brant doesn’t want to do it, I’m doing it, so there.). No.

In writing.

Let this be a warning to you all: Do not forget important dates to someone WHO IS A WRITER. Forgetting it means you may be immortalized, badly, in a story.

Yes. I can be petty.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I have to call my Mom, now.

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IWSG May 2021

May 5 question – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

It surprised me when my husband read the first chapter of my first romance book (first person POV, hero’s perspective) and declared “It sounds like Bruce Campbell talking.”

Now I can’t read that book from the hero’s perspective without hearing Bruce Campbell’s voice narrating it.

It surprised me when I thought the BIG DRAMATIC DEATH SCENE OF A LONGTIME NPC in my fantasy novel would yank on my reader’s heartstrings, but the one scene all of them commented on, male and female, was “The part in the garden, when it was nighttime, and…um….they um…”

“The boy must die?” I offer.

“Yeah. That part.”

None of them EVER commented on the death scene.

It surprised me when my entire critique group (I’m not part of one now, in part because of this) told me I was too descriptive in my writing. “Show, don’t tell. Reduce your descriptive words by half.”

I edited accordingly, and submitted the first chapter of the edited version to a BIG NAME FANTASY EDITOR (for a fee) to be discussed privately with me at a Writer’s Conference. He informed me that I was not descriptive enough. “You need to double your descriptions. At least,” he said. “There just isn’t enough there for me to get a good idea of what your world is like.”

It surprised me when my husband, reading a different romance novel, told me “There’s too much cursing. You need to edit out all of your character’s cursing. It’s tacky.”

This man reads military fiction novels in which the word “fuck” is used like a comma, and giggles every time he comes across some creative profanity, which happens about every other paragraph in the books he likes to read.

Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or their latest roast platypus recipes.

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IWSG April 2021

It’s April.

Where did March go?

I guess time really does fly when you don’t know what’s going on.

No, writing things did not get done last month. It’s hard to write when you’re always tired, always hurting, have nowhere convenient to write and a dirty house with housemates that don’t seem to mind the potential hazmat opportunities.

Of course, it’s hard to write anyway, but we all know that.

So this month’s question: Do I take risks when when writing? Like weird mash-ups or controversial topics or what not.

I think my answer is:

I guess so?

I’ve written a few lightweight romance stories, though I’ve never read the genre. (Every time I’ve tried, I’ve had the uncontrollable desire to toss the book into the donate bin. Even the library books.) So I guess that’s taking a risk–writing something you know damn near nothing about.

I’ve lightly touched on a few controversial topics, but not with the vehemence of a protester outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. More like “yeah, this here is an issue in this world, and it might come up later or it might not, it kinda depends on where I need the story to go.” Some other topics are major issues that swirl about in the story to forward the plot, but I imagine that anyone reading it doesn’t think of it as a lecture or a stance or whatever. It’s a common human issue that is present in my fantasy realm. Tah-dah.

However, I would argue that anyone who writes, especially fiction, takes a risk, regardless of controversy or fashion or POV or whatever.

It takes a lot of time and effort and raw willpower, mixed with a large dose of blood, sweat and tears, to finish a fiction writing project. Then, OMG, you’re supposed to let OTHER PEOPLE READ IT and THEY MIGHT NOT LIKE YOUR MOST FABULOUS WORK OF BEAUTEOUS ART. HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE MY BABY!!!!????!!!!!

Putting yourself out there (even if you’re still getting ready to put yourself out there, *ahem*), is risky. It’s bruising to your ego. It can cause worry and heartache and stomach upset leading to a whole system catastrophe followed by DEATH!

Okay, maybe that’s a seriously worst case scenario for 99.9% of the population. But it doesn’t mean that isn’t how it feels. There are some comments I’ve received over the years that make me want to curl up and hide in a cave for the rest of my life, while I wish for death. (Yes, those comments were THAT harsh. They still hurt when I think about them to this day.)

So, yeah. I think writing is inherently risky. Maybe not as physically risky as being an astronaut, but still risky.

Now, if I can just get over my other issues, I might actually start writing again.

Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or their latest risque photos.

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