IWSG Oct 6: Where Do You Draw The Line?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are: Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

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

ANSWER: I’ve managed La Cruz Writers’ Group (LCWG) since 2012. Before Covid, members gathered in an air conditioned room each Saturday morning. As a marina tenant, I’m afforded free access. This was a treasured perk because we live in the topics and every afternoon we wilt in the hot humid weather.

Anyone interested in writing was welcome. I facilitated rather than a dictated. I believed in freedom of speech. I was tested.

One long time member reserved time to read. Typically, he’s written delightful observations of our local Mexican town. He stood at the podium and read. I gasped as the microphone amplified his speech. The main thrust was derogatory references to women’s body parts.

Two weeks later he read a new story with similar tone and subject matter. One mom brought her two daughters, ages 10 and 12. To his credit, he did suggest they leave the room as his piece was adult subject matter. 

Several women were offended. After our gathering they expressed their discomfort. One said, “He sounded like an angry gay man that resents women.” For the first time in my life, I recognized my line. I didn’t care a fig he was gay, I did care what he wrote about female anatomy.

I spoke to him and we discussed the reaction of some of the members. His explained he wanted to use our group to test his stand up entertainment material. Unfortunately, his material was better tested in a late night bar serving adult beverages.

My “Freedom of Speech” belief was challenged. I was naive. The result of my tolerance resulted in some women never returning. Youngsters with a budding interest in writing were banished from the room. Complaints to management could threaten access to our cool meeting space.

Folk as trusted me to use good judgment and schedule topics appropriate for all ages. I discovered I have a line and will take action when crossed.

This writer choose not to return to our writers’ group. He is talented and creative. I hope he was able to find the outlet that works for him and his audience.  

 

 

 

IWSG Sept 1: Success as a Writer

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are: Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

QUESTION: How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

ANSWER: My definition of success: when I am satisfied. I feel my characters’ emotions and scenes transport me to new places. Criticism taught me this lesson.

During a creative workshop, our leader started the writing assignment with a brief guided meditation. I slipped into an altered reality filled with images, color, sound, smells, and emotions.

For the first time in my life I was the story and words emerged on the page.

When time was up, I remained innocent and vulnerable.

I read my piece aloud. As a group, we sat there connected through our imagination. Except one. Her cold rebuke cut deep.

I shut down, curled up and pulled my protective shield around me. The fragrance of fresh coffee turned stale and the birds stopped mid song

Someday, I’ll return. However, next time I will not expose my words until better prepared.

This experience reinforced my belief: if I pin my success on the acts of others, I will not thrive.

I recognize most of us have experienced rejection. If so, how did you recover?

IWSG Aug 4: Favorite Writing Craft Book?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are: PK Hrezo,  Cathrina Constantine,  PJ Colando,  Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

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

ANSWER: I have a collection of popular writing craft books gathering dust in my library. I lean on thesaurus to transform boring into catchy words and phrases. Autocrit performs the role of grammar tutor.

I’m look forward to learning what works for you. Thanks for visiting.

 

IWSG July 7: Quit Writing?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are: Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, Chemist Ken, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

QUESTION: What would make you quit writing?

ANSWER: For the first time I’m stuck. As a member of IWSG since Jan 6, 2015, I’ve always been able to answer the question. As long as I have a pencil, piece of paper, and a brain I will write.

Thank you for visiting. I’m curious to read your answer.

IWSG June 2: Do You Shelve Your First Draft?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the June 2 posting of the IWSG are: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie AguirreLee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

QUESTION: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

ANSWER: As a blogger, I have a tendency to write, ignore a few days, rewrite, and repeat. I’ve  been known to tweak after the post is published. (gasp)

Have you ever read your piece so many times it became boring? Then edited it again. Only later to realize you lost the essence of the piece? If so, what did you do?

Thank you for visiting. I look forward to reading you post, too.

IWSG 5 May Surprise Response

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are:

Erika Beebe, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!

Wishing my family and friends on both sides of the border, happy Cinco de Mayo day. May we use this day to celebrate our Mexican-American culture.

QUESTION: Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

ANSWER: I can’t say anyone reading my writing surprised me with their response.

I can say, I read a piece I wrote in 2018 and was shocked at how poorly it was written. It’s taking a bit of courage, but I’m going to share this piece with my writers’ group as an example of “before” and “after” it was edited by a pro. I hope to prove writers improve with the support of good editors and practice.

Have you ever deliberately exposed your working draft to others?

IWSG 7 April Risk Taker?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are:
 
QUESTION: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?
 
ANSWER: I thought I was a risk taker. Then I had to choose.
I was going to tell you about the real life story of murder that happened in my friends kitchen. I wrote the first draft. Of course I disguised the details. My internal sense of right and wrong told me what I had written could put put me and my husband in danger along with our friend.  The details are that unique.  Of course the details are what makes it a terrific story. 
 
If you are a crime writer, what do you do to protect the innocent? Especially, if the unique facts could threaten the innocent? In this case the person’s mental disability is part of the story?
 
For those of you that know/or wonder if there is a power beyond our understanding, I’ll leave you with this. Yesterday, an acquaintance tried to fix broken links in this blog site. He was well meaning,  but he made a mess. I couldn’t sign in and you couldn’t find this post.
 
Seeking help, I called Ballistic, my hosting company. They kept me on hold for two hours waiting for advanced support. Then another 1.5 hours with the technician. After careful examination, he declared I have a real mess. By now, it is 9pm.
 
Ballistic recommended a full restore to a time when things were working; a four plus process.
 
After a restless night, I woke up at 4:45am realizing rather than try to masquerade  the facts about the murder, I’d simply ask questions. I fixed a cup of coffee and fired up my computer. The bad news: the link to my blog has changed. Good news: I’m able to share this post (I hope).
 
I’m grateful to those that were able to find me. At the end of each reply to your IWSG post, I added my temporary new link. I have no clue what this change is necessary.
Lynn La Vita @: http://la-vita.us/write/ (lower “w” instead of the original capital “W”).
 
The comment link doesn’t work. If you have any suggestions, please send me an email:  sv.lavita@gmail.com
 
If anyone can refer me to a WordPress developer, I’m very interested and highly motivated.
 
Thank you for visiting. I’m looking forward to reading your posts, too.

IWSG March 3, 2021: Favorite Genre?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the March 3 posting of the IWSG are:

QUESTION: – Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

ANSWER: Crime, Fiction, Mystery and an occasional thriller and SiFi.

While researching lists of authors and genres, I visited Wikipedia and discovered, James Patterson (disambiguation).”

Well, I’d never heard the word “disambiguation” so I consulted professor Google and read several definitions. Here’s what Cambridge had to say:

Cambridge Dictionary definition – the fact of showing the differences between two or more meanings clearly: No age differences were found in children’s disambiguation of novel words.

Isn’t that special? I’m still confused.

Another part of the IWSG question was, “What motivates your reading choice?” I live outside the US and access to printed books is limited to what’s donated and exchanged between the expats. I tend to select the popular authors; ones I recognize.  The common theme revolves around a murder. I’m feeling the nudge to expand horizons and explore other themes.

The enormous selection and obvious choice is in the eBook realm. That requires releasing my grip on the printed form.

I’m contemplating buying a Tablet. Rumor has it, there is a wealth of reading material sitting in a cloud somewhere. I’m assured I need not be concerned about eye strain. A neighbor tells me the fondness of holding a book shall pass.

Those of you that have transitioned to eBooks, what electronic reading device do you recommend?

Thank you for visiting and I look forward to reading your comment.

LCWG February 3, 2021: Blogging and friends

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the February 3 posting of the IWSG are:
Louise – Fundy Blue, Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!
 
QUESTION: Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?
 
MY ANSWER: I started blogging when we set sail from San Diego, California to Mexico on La Vita, our 33 foot sailboat. Boy, did I have a story to tell. I’ve been blogging and sharing our real life stories ever since. Over the years I’ve shared our adventures with friends and family around the world. Twelve years later, and we are still in touch.
 
 

LCWG January 6, 2021: Stops You From Reading

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.   

The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are:
Ronel Janse van Vuuren, J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue!
 
QUESTION: Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?
 
MY ANSWER:
Well, the subject has to interest me for starters. The real turn off is filler words and long descriptive paragraphs. Get on with the story. Show the character doing something and let my imagination fill in the details.
 
I enjoy reading authors. Except some are determined to include a fat descriptive paragraph in every chapter. I scan the words, get the gist of what the character is wearing, physical description, and move on. A sentence or two is my limit. 
 
Another turn off is unnecessary repetition and filler words.  Classic examples can be found in newspaper articles. Have you noticed when the author repeats the introduction and add useless text? I’m positive they are paid by the word and lack imagination.
 
It’s been said, folks have less attention span than a goldfish. Well, that’s me. Get on with the story.
 
Thanks for visiting and I’m looking forward to reading your answer to the January IWSG question.
 
P.S. La Cruz Writer’s Group (LCWG) would like to include more writers. We read,  comment, and encourage. If you or someone you know might be interested, please send me an email with LCWG in the subject line. Or let me know in the comment section below. (Email: sv.lavita@gmail.com). Thanks!