Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group: What's Old is New Again

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February's question is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

When I saw this question in the IWSG newsletter, I couldn't help wondering if the universe was trying to give me a sign. When I was 16, I started writing a YA story about teenagers with telepathic powers. Twelve years later I dusted off the idea and wrote my very first novel. It wasn't the greatest thing ever written but I thought it was good enough to query to agents. It wasn't. After a couple of rejections, I put the manuscript aside and started working on something else.
        Then, in 2013 I was struggling to come up with an idea for camp NaNoWriMo when two days before the start it hit me. I suddenly came up with an idea for a novella based on my old story idea and lo and behold it only took me eight days to complete the 30k needed to win. Since then the reworked story has spawned two additional novels and a villain origin story. I worked on the second novel during last NaNo and plan to continue writing the series until the whole thing is done before I even think about publishing.
          The story as it currently stands is more nuanced in every way than the original. The voice is stronger. The characters are better. The world building is far and away the biggest difference. I know a part of it is probably that I'm slowly becoming a better writer. But there's a part of me almost thinks that I needed to take such a long break in order to see the story more clearly. It makes me wonder if writers who have already published sometimes look at their novels and wish they'd waited because they've come up with a better way to tell the story!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group: The Evolution of a Reader through Writing

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February's question is: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I think I actually considered a similar question a while back. It had to do with whether as writers we should continue to review books. At the time I was coming at it from the standpoint of someone who didn't want to lose credibility as an objective reader simply because I also happen to write. I didn't want to become one of those writers who has to tiptoe around book reviews for fear of it coming back to bite me. I thought nothing could ever change the way I read if I just refused to let it.
           And then a few months ago I realised that the number of one star reviews I gave got fewer and further between. I stopped caring about forcing myself to read the popular books no matter how much I was hating it along the way. I began to see the effort that would have gone into a book regardless of whether it was one that I was enjoying reading. I began to be less finicky about small things like typos (unless they were rampant!). I wasn't fixated on coming up with snarky one liners for book reviews. If anything, my reading became less about the technicality of writing and more about the storytelling. It's made me see that there's always more than one way a arc can go and a character can act.
         In short, I find that I have begun to give authors the benefit of the doubt. I might still not enjoy the novel but I'm less inclined to be disparaging of anything but the most glaring diversion from my own values.


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