It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Every month, the organisers announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. Remember, the question is optional!!!

September 2 question – If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner?

I know immediately. It would have to be Tove Jansson, and anyone who has read this blog more than a few times will already know I’m a fan. I’m such a big fan of Tove that I would consider it the coup of a lifetime to have her as my beta partner, and I would probably take a week to recover from the news. Tove Jansson was a Swedish writer, artist, illustrator and comic book author (9 August 1914–27 June 2001). I like that she was multi-talented. An acclaimed artist, she wrote novels and short stories for adults, and achieved fame with her Moomin series of children’s books, which are my favourite books of all. She started writing for children in 1945 with The Moomins and the Great Flood, then Comet in Moominland followed by the rest of the books in the series. The books were such a success they awarded her the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1966.

As a child, I started reading the Moomin series by stealing the treasured volumes off my sisters’ bookshelf and sliding them back when they weren’t looking. When I ran out of Moomin books to read at home, I looked for them at the school library and avidly consumed the entire series. I loved them. They were the one series of books I re-read many times. As a child, Tove Jansson enthralled me with these creatures that were so adorable and real I wanted to befriend them and take them home. Tove has been one of the greatest influences on me as a writer. I seek in my stories to emulate the experience of joy she brought me as a child reader. I aim to deliver the escape, the utter “other-ness” which has the power to transport the child reader to other realms where anything is possible and makes them believe in the possibilities of life. I seek to write fiction that never fails to amaze, like that of Tove Jansson.

I’m on an eternal quest after the holy grail of Moomin level transformative fiction.

Will I ever get there? That’s part of the excitement in my life is to strive after that perfection.

With this series as a north star, I have always written fantasy fiction for children. The stories I write may have changed since I was seventeen, but I still write anthropomorphic characters in fantasy lands. It is pure escapism. I have yet to emulate Tove’s delightful lightness of touch, though. As a child reader, I loved the humour, the quirky light-heartedness that ran through all her stories like a thread of gold. I haven’t achieved that level of humour in my fiction yet, but I still seek to walk in her footsteps.

I like to think if Tove was my beta partner, that she would give feedback based on things other than a healthy dose of reality. She would not focus on logic or common sense. Tove would focus on what’s important. Does the world engage and draw the reader in and entertain with mystery, imagination and derring-do? Are the characters alive, complex and compelling? Is the story fun, interesting, and dynamic?

Tove would have an instinct for if it worked. She’d speak about things that are real to me as a writer.

I think Tove and I would be friends. She lived an idyllic life as an artist and author. In 1956, Tove met her partner, Tuulikki Pietilä, and they had a house on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland. They spent their summers on the island and Tove wrote her stories in the wild, uninhabited countryside. That idea struck me from the first time I heard it and I thought, how wonderful! What I wouldn’t give to have my own tiny island and be able to write in blissful wilderness and solitude. Maybe if Tove Jansson was my beta reader, she’d invited me to their island and we would all paint and write to our hearts’ content. Bliss!

What about you? Who would you be your beta reader?

Keep Writing!

Yvette Carol


This was frustrating, but one of the immutable laws of being human is that the people who show up are the right people. ~ Anne Lamott


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  1. Olga Godim says:

    You choose a pretty high standard for your beta. Even I, who grew up in Soviet Russia, know and love Moomin and his family. The translations of those tales were some of my favorite stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Yes, I know. I like to aim high.
      I didn’t know you were a fellow Moomin fan, Olga. That’s brilliant news! In recent years, I heard there is a shop in London somewhere dedicated entirely to the series. It’s on my bucket list to go there one day. And, in doing the research for this post, I discovered there a bunch of Moomin books I don’t own yet, so I will shortly be trawling the internet to see if I can buy them. 🙂


  2. Ooh Wonderful Yvette. You have made my day. Thank you for filling us in on Tove’s life adventure and replunging me into her endearing world. Happy Spring writing. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. emaginette says:

    No one person could cover all my bases. Lucky for me in reality, I’ve got a group of talented readers that tell how it is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. J.S. Pailly says:

    When I saw this month’s question, I immediately knew who I’d pick too. Sometimes, we just find that perfect writer, the writer who did exactly the kind of thing we are trying to do. Keep following your northern star!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m late. WordPress wouldn’t let me comment until the day. Wonder why. Doesn’t matter. I’m surprised I don’t remember Tove; I was a comic book reading freak when I was a kid. I would have sent my ms to Margaret Lawrence to read. She would have known who Tove was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi Joylene, you’re never too late!
      I wish it was easier to go between Blogger and WordPress. I struggle going over to comment on Blogger sites and at times I’ve gotten into real strife over it, which puts me off. It should be easier. I loved comic books as a kid too. I used to spend ages agonizing over which comic to buy with my precious pocket money. I’m not familiar with Margaret Lawrence. I’ll have to google her!


  6. I have never read these books, but your passion fro the writer makes me want to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      I’m not sure how easy they are to get hold of these days. I’m still so busy I haven’t had time to sit and trawl the internet for them. But if you ever do read a Moomin book, Vivienne, please report back. I still sit and read my four well-worn books every now and again just for the joy of it.


  7. Of course Steven king. He is the best in horror, and I enjoy writing horror

    Liked by 1 person

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