Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Insecurity For the Month of November #IWSG


It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group blog posting. IWSG was created by the awesome ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can find a list of all the other members of the group here
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!

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the November 5 posting of the IWSG are: LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard and SL Hennessy!

What is my insecurity for the month of November? 

This month, I’m in good company. Everyone who decides to jump on the NaNoWriMo wagon sets themselves up for stress, doubt, pressure, and yes, insecurity! Some days, the burning question is, “What in the heck was I thinking?” 

In my case, the question isn’t just burning, it’s shooting flames sky-high. See, in November of 2013, I wrote over 50K words of a novel but later decided I wasn’t ready to move in that direction. I set up my own writer’s month from mid-June to the third week of July 2014, and wrote another 50K words. During August, September, and October, I edited the first draft, wrote a second draft and edited that. Next week, beta readers will begin to attack this second draft. Left with an opening, I decided to jump into NaNoWriMo 2014. 

Unfortunately, I was also scheduled for a panel discussion, an annual reunion, and a book fair, all cutting into my writing time before I even got rolling. Now, I’m running to catch up. Hence, the insecurity.

For years, I’ve insisted I do not work well under pressure. Slightly contrary to this belief, it appears I do better when I lay the pressure on myself. Maybe it’s when someone else is calling the shots that I tend to balk. It is a good thing that, as an author, I am now my own boss! 

Tomorrow, I think I’ll ask for a raise.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? As Joey would say, "How you doing?"



Sunday, November 2, 2014

After All, It Is NANOWRIMO!

As my father once explained to me, my hometown of Two Rivers extends “Seven miles into Lake Michigan.” Two Rivers is known as “The Coolest Spot in Wisconsin” because of its unique location. We would be sitting in the backyard having a family picnic, wearing shorts and short-sleeved tops, when the wind off the lake would shift and the temperature would drop ten degrees at the snap of the fingers. Everyone carried a sweater or light jacket with them at all times.

Along the western shore of Lake Michigan 

There were other reasons my hometown was considered “The Coolest Spot in Wisconsin” also. Food, for one thing. Custard from The Custard Stand on the curve heading out toward the park; Port Sandy Bay Pizza; perch plates at Labor Hall on Friday nights; malts at the M&M near the edge of town after the dance or football game. Movies at the Rivoli or “Outdoor” theaters. Fishing on the Twin Rivers; swimming in Lake Michigan during summer; ice skating at the Washington Street rink in winter.
Our Christmas tree came from the back yard and all our vegetables came from our own or a relative’s garden. Also cool.

My childhood memories of Two Rivers may be flawed by the distance of time, but flawed in a good way, in a rose-colored glasses kind of way. I laugh about the scar on my wrist from when someone jokingly slammed my high school locker door on my hand; still cringe over the "tank" swim suits handed out for “Pool” during Phy Ed class; and will always associate the odor of lemon-scented air spray with my Science project, when I scraped a dead turtle out of its shell in Dad’s basement workshop. (Did I just reveal that deep dark secret from my past?!)
Writers are a fount of knowledge, interesting material buried deep in their subconscious waiting to be mined for a future story. So lay back, close your eyes, and let the ideas flow.

After all, it is NANOWRIMO!
When do the best ideas pop out of your head?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Know Where You're Going -or- Wait 'Til You Get there?

It's NaNoWriMo time again! Do you know where you’re going, or do you prefer to wait ‘til you get there?

Is it better to know the theme of your novel before you begin writing? Should you have a handle on the protagonist’s internal problems so you can build your writing around that issue?

For myself, I find it easier to write out the story, beginning to end, then go back and see what theme emerged from the writing. In my latest WIP (before NaNoWriMo) my third sentence emerged as the metaphor that describes the novel’s plot and subplot. It wasn’t a perfect match after the first draft but become more apparent with the second draft. During the (ongoing) editing process, I started to adjust the story to fall into line with what I saw as the defining theme of the novel.

Enlightenment is an illuminating experience!

Where do you stand on the writing process, do you want to know the facts upfront or do you prefer to watch them unfold as your story grows? Do you consider your story’s theme while you write the first draft, or mine your work later for those enlightening nuggets?