Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February #IWSG: Less Is More

First Wed of Every MonthCome join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing process and post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html






Question of the month: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Before I became a writer, I read for the experience and for pure pleasure. Now, I'm a ninja on a mission, always searching for that elusive "best book ever written." To discover why some novels stand out in an overcrowded book market and why others fall short, I read all the books: the good, the bad, and everything in between. I read in my genre and out of my genre. I read MG, YA, and Adult books.

One element I keep discovering in stellar works of fiction is story subtext. I admire an author who doesn't beat you over the head with every single detail and doesn't explain everything. Readers are intelligent. If a book can pass this simple test, I know right away it's going to be an instant hit.

K.M. Weiland said it best. "Overexplaining in fiction causes flabby sentences, confused metaphors, and condescending descriptions."

Anyone else have a crazy month? Between both of my boys knee deep in their wrestling seasons, and the flu virus flourishing, and finishing edits on my latest MG mystery, I'm ready for summer or a nap.

I read with a much better eye now that I am a writer. How about you? Do you study books in order to become a better writer? K.M. Weiland has written an excellent article on Story Subtext. Go check out her amazing blog for writers!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January #IWSG: Are We There Yet?

First Wed of Every Month
Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing process and post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html


I'm going to skip the question of the month, because I can't think of any writing rule I wish didn't exist. But I'm sure all of your answers will be very interesting to read.

Nine hours in a car with three kids takes patience and caffeine and earplugs. With my current work in progress, I keep asking myself the same question: are we there yet? And I am happy to report that I am almost there! Hopefully in the next few weeks I can add the last finishing touches and send it off to beta-readers and critique partners. I've never fallen out of love (yet) with this new, shiny manuscript. 

We made it to Michigan to spend Christmas with the in-laws. I spotted this cozy barn on the side of the road. My techie son could've photo shopped the power line. Oh well. This pic makes me want to get out the laptop and the coffee and get writing. Anyone else almost there yet with your latest manuscript?



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December #IWSG: It's beginning to look a lot like a novel

First Wed of Every Month
Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing process and post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html


I'm co-hosting today (a first for me!) Check out these other amazing December co-hosts:


Co-Hosts:
Jen Chandler
Nick Wilford
Juneta Key
JH Moncrieff
Diane Burton
MJ Fifield




I'm so excited to report that I finished NaNo strong. Not 50k strong, but almost 35k strong. A new, shiny plot is under way for another MG story, and it's starting to look like a book!


DECEMBER'S QUESTION: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?





My lofty five-year plan includes, well, doing what I'm currently doing: writing middle-grade fiction. Sure, it would be nice to be on a few lofty lists, like the NY Times Best Seller List. Hey, a girl can dream. 

How will I achieve my goals? I probably won't saddle up Dusty, aka Lil' Sebastian, anytime soon. However, I plan to use a rope, a grappling hook, an energy drink and a really fast car. Sounds like the MC in my new book trying to achieve his goals. He will do anything to cure himself of something that's ruining his life and will stop at nothing to change the course of seventh-grade history. 

Hitting the target, aka the goal, is never a straight shot down easy street. Most of us usually lose the keys first, get pulled over, hit a speed bump (or two), careen off the path and plunge headfirst into an icy river. Sounds like every Bourne movie ever. But how many of us actually have it made when it comes to writing and publishing? Not many.  


I hope the new year (and what's left of this one) brings you closer to your goals! My goal will always be to enjoy writing through ever stage. Merry Christmas and happy editing, fellow NaNo-ers!  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November #IWSG: The best part of being a writer...

First Wed of Every Month
Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing process and post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html

This month's question: "What's your favorite aspect of being a writer?"

Besides hoarding ideas, spying on people, and eavesdropping, I would have to say my favorite aspect of being a writer is writing. Duh. And with the second day of NaNo underway, it's the perfect time to get going.
My daily inspiration

Each year I begin crafting new stories in October. (Yes, I cheat and start early.) The season sets the tone and offers inspiration for cranking out a ton of words on these colorful, cool days. Scratch that. It's been in the 80s every single day for the past month. Boo! But even hot weather in the middle of fall can't stop me. Nothing can stop me--except for my screen dying on my laptop last week. My fingers were on fire. (Almost 20k on my new WIP.) So, I've been writing "old school" or long-hand for the past week and loving it. Besides writing, I also enjoy editing and the fabulous writing community.




Which is your favorite writing season? Do you have a favorite writing spot that inspires you?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October IWSG: To the Editing Cave!

First Wed of Every Month
Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing process and post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html


This month's question: When do you know your story is ready?

Definitely not December 1st--the day after NaNo. Let the rough draft breathe and then dive into editing, oh, say for the next six months or so. When do I think my story is ready? I'm glad you asked. When I type THE END and start talking to myself with phrases like the following: this is it, I can relax now, time for a break, then I'm certain it's not ready. Pull back. Retreat! Get those editing goggles back on. Grab those CPs and beta readers for another walk through.

Whenever you are positive your story is ready, trust me, it's not. Those tiny plot holes will haunt you in your sleep, keeping you awake until you fix them. Just like with construction projects, always add another month or two or three before declaring your story complete. Then you might be ready. Unfortunately, I've learned this the hard way.

To the editing cave! But remember to fill this cup first.


P.S. Feeling pretty good this month after my ghostly middle-grade mystery placed third in the AUTHORS.me diversity writing contest. My MC is a boy in a back brace, but I can't tell you how he got that way or what happens because it's an integral part of the story. Cue the happy dance!

Do you disappear into a hideout, aka the Batcave, when writing? Any good news this past month? Working on a new story? Gearing up for NaNo?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September #IWSG: Are You Ready for Some Football--er, Writing?

First Wed of Every Month
Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing process and post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html


The big question for the group this month is "How do you find the time to write in your busy day?"

After driving the mom taxi and embarrassing my kids at their football and soccer games (I can cheer pretty loudly), I hit the hay pretty early. My writing time happens first thing in the morning. Then after breakfast and after my boys drive off into the sunrise, I write (as much as possible)  until around noon. But if I don't take the time to read, I will never find the inspiration to write. I am always reading. If you fail to read, you will never know what works and what flunks or what makes a story great or lame. This is key for getting unstuck and curing writer's block. READ. WRITE. READ some more.


The important thing to remember is to write everyday. Don't forget your family, but, hey, they probably won't let you, so no worries. How do you find the time to write in a busy world?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August #IWSG: "Let's Do This."

First Wed of Every Month
Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing process and post the first Wednesday of every month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html

The Big Question on the IWSG post for this month is (drum roll, please) Was your first piece of writing ever published?

Yes and no. My middle school scribblings bent on mystery and mayhem were sadly rejected by no one and never published. My first serious attempt at writing did land a publishing contract. But I've developed as a writer since that time nearly two years ago and am anxious to publish more. That sums up the answer to today's question!

Are you stuck in a writer's block rut gathering inspiration for your next novel? During the summer months I let my ideas simmer. Writing a new manuscript for me always starts in the fall. When the kids are back in school. The most wonderful time of the year. So where in the world do I get my kick in the seat of my pants to keep writing? Glad you asked. You know the creepy cornfield I pass everyday and the quirky neighbor two doors down and the really annoying teenager who lives in my house, eating all of my food? Well, I won't name any names, but it's often the eerily close and unexpected things hidden in plain sight that inspire me. 



This group is all about sharing our insecurities and our ups and downs. My confidence soared last month. After making it into Query Kombat in June, I decided to enter "pg70pit" contest hosted by Lara Willard last month. My MG mystery was one of the fourteen MG winners!

While I'm still waiting on agents, I'm still getting inspired for other stories and still pulling my hair out on this journey. The big orange bucket I spotted at a mini golf course this summer would have made a nice addition to my writing desk. 

Don't lose heart wherever you are in your writing career. We all have things to learn and we are in this together! Let's do this.