Things that make you say hmmm…

I was talking to my son, complaining ng about his father’s commentary on some of my manuscripts. Brandon says that when I use curse words in my text, it’s crass and vulgar, and yet, Everytime he comes across a new twist of foul language by another author, he cackles with glee.

I feel this to be distinctly unfair.

My son agrees, and then says “you should go all out with one of your stories.”

Which got me thinking–can I write a story in which every single line has at least one (1) profanity?

Well, I imagine I could, but…


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IWSG October 2021

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Well, in real life I use the word “fuck” like it’s a comma.

I’m actually not that bad, but as my children have gotten older, my use of profanity has slowly scaled up. There are days where I manage to use my replacement words (sugarsticks, mother-pus-bucket, and so on) and there are days I’m pretty certain I’ve at least singed somebody’s ears.

As for writing, it really depends on the material. Some stories everyone uses euphemisms with an occasional profanity for emphasis. In others, my characters defy such niceties and spew words that I’m shocked at, at age 45.

Topics follow much the same pattern, though with more thought to the story than how the character wants to talk about it. Does the character have an opinion about abortion, or gender-change operations, or religion or whatever? Maybe.

But the more important question in regards to writing about a topic that may or may not be controversial is: does it forward the plot? If it does, how much do I need to write about it? Is it enough to show there’s opinion and just leave it, or is it a huge plot point in which there is conflict I want to explore in a reasonable number of pages? Better yet, does my resolution of said conflict follow through to a plausible end?

Not the end my reader may have an opinion on, an end that makes sense to the story and to me. Which may or may not be a sign of good writing, since it very well could piss off my reader and make me lose a fan/customer for life.

Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or how to question all of your life choices at 2:23am while researching hummingbirds.

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IWSG September 2021

It would appear that I totally spaced this month’s posting. A lot has been stewing about in my brain in August, and it bloomed into a full on mental crisis, which is always fun.

Sooooo….. Since I missed September’s prompt,I shall promptly come up with something else.

Ummm…..Okay, this is going to sound really corny, but I read my horoscope through Co-Star. Not because I deeply believe in planetary alignments and all that, but because sometimes the little tidbits offered as advice, while wildly unspecific, can be thought provoking.

One Co-Star tidbit from August has stuck with me for the last few weeks of mental chaos: “Consider the possibilities of an honest mess.”

Honest messes happen. You notice room X is totally unusable because it’s totally thrashed. There are UFO’s in there from the 1980’s that you’ve forgotten about. It’s almost a Superfund site at this point.

This is an excellent moment to take a deep breath and look at the pile of doom, not as an unwelcome chore or a guilt trip to the moon and back, but as a chance to sit down and evaluate each individual piece.

Yeah, that distressed denim long jacket idea really fired you up at the time, but are you still invested in tearing up that entire pile of old jeans you collected to make it? That pile of yarn you have because you feel bad about throwing out half a skein after you’ve finished some crochet thing and thought you’d collect enough remnants to make a stash buster blanket—are you really thinking about doing it anytime in the near future?

Can you donate this to a thrift store? Maybe a friend would be interested in these items over here. Can you freecycle this thingy, or just straight up throw that away? What can I do to make this section more useful? Shelves? A desk?

Editing one’s writing can be looked at in much the same way. Yes, it’s the chore that no one wants to do, but if you just look at each piece individually instead of the whole pile of word barf as one big inseparable mass of goo, and consider it while asking yourself those kinds of questions, it might become less of a chore.

Does this scene really work in this place in the story? Does it work at all in this story? I really don’t want to just delete it, but I can make a file of deleted scenes that I can rummage through and possibly recycle for another story. Yeah, I thought the dog was a cute addition to the story, but really I don’t use him for anything. Can I re-home him somehow? Ooooooo……that must’ve come from that time I was intensely interested in hummingbirds. Do hummingbirds even fit in the story anymore?

Okay, it’s a stretch, I’m stressed out right now, but quite frankly, I have been spending a great deal of time this past month considering my mess as a whole and what I can do to reduce it.

Taking the time to consider an honest mess can lead to some very liberating moments.

Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or how to construct a whole new identity and career so you can abandon your current life and wash up in a new country for the next ten years as a form of self care.

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IWSG August 2021

What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time your read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

Oooo…..Somewhat dangerous territory. Everyone has their own favorite: Storytelling for Pantsers, Writing into the Dark, Chicago Manual of Style, Take Off Your Pants…

Out of all of the ones I’ve read. I would have to say my personal favorite is Robert’s Rules Of Writing: 101 Unconventional Lessons Every Writer Needs to Know

It’s been since updated to 111 Rules, but whatever. I don’t want to read the 111 version, because 101 was just awesome, and I’ll be heartbroken if 111 doesn’t at least live up to the previous version. Each Rule comes with an explanation that is both fun and makes a point:

Rule 31 – Reduce Clutter

Rule 94 – Keep Your Prose Clean

Rule 88 – Pass The Scalpel.

It’s been a while since I read it, and I really should again. Each rule makes good points, I never once wanted to throw it across the room, and it made me smile throughout while thinking “Yeah, okay, maybe I should consider ‘Take the Prozac.'”

And there’s my all time personal favorite Rule:

Rule 102 – Break The Rules.

Check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group to see more writers dish about their concerns, their solutions to various problems, or how that experiment with the medieval recipe “Cat As It is Meant To Be Served” went (It’s a Spanish recipe, I’ve done enough research to know that if you would like to try, but aren’t so cagey on the cat part, you can substitute rabbit, because they taste similar. Also, don’t bury it in the ground. And you’ll want to use Spanish Garlic that was available at the time/location of the writing:  “A llium sativum ophioscorodon” –  you can buy seeds online).

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