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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!

Practice Makes Perfect? (An IWSG Post)

InsecureWritersSupportGroupThe first Wednesday of every month is devoted to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where writers from all over post about their concerns and fears and receive support and encouragement in return. And vice versa. Click on the link above or on the badge to the left for more information and a complete list of participants.


In addition to being insecure here, I’m also insecure over at L.G. Smith’s blog where I talk about strong, female characters in a completely insecure way. That’s right…it’s Double Insecurity Day! Not quite as much fun as Double Coupon Day, but still maybe a little entertaining?

So, I know I haven’t mentioned this at all, but my debut novel, Effigy, has been out for a couple of weeks now. I think things have been going well, but I’m not sure. I mean, it’s not like I have anything to compare it to. All I have is this pit of constant worry where my stomach used to be. Sure, I worried before publication, but now it’s reached this whole new level, and I find it terrifying to think that there’s another level of worry. And probably one past that, too.

But still, I’m not very sure I’m very good at being a published author. If people ask about the book, I immediately become so tongue-tied that complete sentences are beyond me. That is, if I haven’t already melted under a table or a rock or whatever’s handy. Someone asked me to sign a copy of the book, and I spelled my name wrong. I was flustered, embarrassed, my hands were shaking, and the next thing I knew…wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Such a proud, proud moment.

Which is why I chose to immortalize it in this blog. And Twitter. And Facebook.

I like to think that things will get better, easier, with time, but the fact remains that I’m still me, and awkward is (apparently) in my DNA.

But at least I’ll have plenty of fodder for plenty more IWSG posts.

That’s going to do it for me today…I’m off to practice writing my name.  Just kidding—I’m off to my day job, but maybe I’ll practice on my lunch break.

Thanks for stopping by today!

It’s A Good Day (an IWSG post)

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIt’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for another edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, that super bloghop created by Alex J. Cavanaugh that offers writers worldwide a safe space in which to voice their insecurities. Click on the above link for more information and click HERE for a complete list of participants.

The last lifetime few months, I have been freaking out, and worrying, and freaking out about worrying, and worrying about freaking out. (It’s nice that I have so much diversity, don’t you think?)

But I’m not going to do that today (And there was much rejoicing…) because I am feeling strangely calm at the moment. Serene-like, even. Well, maybe not that. But there’s definitely a lack of freaking out going on, which, if I think about it long enough, will make me freak out.

So I’m not going to think about it.

Except that now that I do think about it—and of course I’m going to think about it. As soon as you say, “I’m not going to think about that,” the first thing you do is think about that. It’s like when someone tells you not to look up. You immediately look up because you’re all, “Hey, man, why can’t I look up? It’s a free country and I’ll look up if I want too!” Or, if you’re me, you’re like, “Why? Is there some kind of crazy-ass spider up there? Is Shelob’s stand-in about to make a snack out of me?”

Of course, if that were the case, I would hope that the request to not look up would be immediately followed by the advice to run like hell—

Wow. That was a long aside. Let me see if I can once again find my train of thought…

Oh yeah. It involved not thinking about how I’m not freaking out.

Which is probably a sign, a omen, a harbinger of something sinister, right? Waves get still, animals start to act funny, (name that incredibly obscure reference!) and I calm down.

But whatever the reason, however this serene state of mind came about, it’s here. And I’m going to take advantage of it, so that I might do something I never do often enough on this blog:

Thank you.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again because I truly mean it.

Thank you. You’re very kind. You’re a lovely group of people, and you continue to come back to this blog to slog through the bad attitude and the sarcasm and the chronic bad moodiness to read whatever it is that crossed my mind that day. And then you offer me advice and support. You offer me help. You make me laugh, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate it all. I use that word a lot, I know, and I should probably invest in a thesaurus or something to help me expand my vocabulary, but I mean it. I appreciate all of you, and I am honored and privileged to be a small part of this community.

And that’s something I will never not think about.

Before I head off into the sentimental sunset, I just wanted to share this picture I stumbled across on Pinterest the other day:

The Mind of a Writer

Thought it was kind of appropriate for today.

Happy writing, all. See you next time.