Asked and Answered (An IWSG Post)

Hello, everyone!

Happy New Year!

It’s the first Wednesday of the month (and the year), which means it’s time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I am assuming everyone coming to this blog already knows what that means, but if you would like more information or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month’s awesome co-hosts are Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

This month’s (optional) question asks, “What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?”

I feel a ramble coming on…

Here’s the thing. My social anxiety is at such a level that I pretty much live in fear of anyone asking me anything because I always end up feeling like Cletus the Slack-jawed Yokel when I attempt to answer. Only not nearly as eloquent. Then the person who asked the question is probably standing there, looking at me, and wondering if someone who can’t speak in complete sentences could possibly have written a book that could possibly be worth reading.

(But I try. I know that jerk Yoda is all, “there is no try,” but there is, Yoda, and I’m doing it. Trying, I mean. So there.)

In this regard, every question is my least favorite question. Because if someone takes the time to ask me some writing-related something, then I really do want to be able to answer them, but it’s just so damn terrifying and I am so damn awkward.

But there is one question

My Least Favorite Question


“Have you considered breaking up your novel into three shorter novels?”

So, there’s a little backstory that goes along with this question. There’s an author I know who asks me this every single time we see each other. And every single time he asks me this, I answer as follows:

“Yes, I have considered that. Effigy clocks in at something like 580 pages. Second Nature is considerably longer. So a while back, before they were published, I did consider breaking up each book into three shorter books but found I didn’t like it, so I decided to keep it the way it is.”

Other authors/readers have asked me this, nodded at my explanation, and we go about our day. But this one author…I don’t know. Maybe he forgets that we’ve talked about this many, many times before. Maybe he doesn’t care. Whatever the reason, it wears on me.

(Bottom line: If someone doesn’t want to read my books because they’re too long, I fully respect that decision. I occasionally decide not to buy a book because I think it’s too short. Goes both ways.)

My Favorite Question


“Why do you have to be so mean to your characters?”

This question has come in various forms and is occasionally just accusations of cruelty from my critique partners when they point out the tear stains they left on the page. However it’s asked or presented, or however awkward I may be on the outside, this is usually what I’m doing on the inside:

Because if I’m getting that question/reaction, then I’m doing my job.

All right. That’s going to be it for me today. I’m on a sort of mini vacation this week, as I have many friends visiting from away and I’m trying (TAKE THAT, YODA!) to pack in as much time as possible with all of them before they leave. Which means I may be slow to respond to comments and visit other blogs, but I will get there eventually.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2019, all!

2 Comments  to  Asked and Answered (An IWSG Post)

  1. I understand the anxiety issues. When people ask me anything about writing, my job, or life in general, I sound like I’m trying to meditate: “Ummm…ummm”. I’m terrible at speaking words, but writing comes a bit more smoothly. I’m sure your novel will be fine just the way you’re doing it. Personally, I like long books.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I think I usually end up looking like a (stammering) deer in headlights. 🙂

      Though I certainly wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it’s always nice to know I’m not alone in my anxiety. <3

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