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!!! Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

April 7th’s question, if you’d like to answer it, is: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

No, I’m averse to risk. Although I write middle grade fantasy, which is different and “other,” I still find it hard to stray outside of accepted styles. Maybe it’s because I still feel like a beginner, a novice at all this. Imposter Syndrome, anyone? Someone said once that the truly popular authors are the ones who have the most guts. I believe this to be true.

Take a great like Lemony Snicket, for instance. Snicket writes crazy books no sweaty beginner could ever hope to get away with, but he’s so bold and brassy, he gets away with it. Not only that, he’s a bestselling author getting sales other authors could only dream of. Balls of steel, that’s what an author needs to succeed in this business.

Look at David Walliams. I know, I know; he got a foot in the door of a publishing house because of his fame as a comedian, but his many books have gained him a whole new fan base following with good reason. My son and I just finished reading Walliams’ latest release, Codename Bananas, which my son received for Christmas. This guy’s fiction is so out there, it’s almost verging on mythology, but when the impossible things happen, it’s penned with such panache and aplomb you’re ready to forgive him anything, as long as he keeps telling the story. I’m reading a book by the fabled Carlos Fuentes at the moment (Constancia and other stories for Virgins), and this book is so off the wall, so bizarre, that it turns into art. That’s what these brave writers do by being innovators.

When I read books by authors such as these, I realize that an excellent storyteller will keep the audience coming back for more. The best storytellers don’t care about tradition, or the accepted mores, they kick sand in the face of the rules. They write stories from a more pure place, that of gut instinct. They write whatever they want to write. End of. That’s the sort of writing bravado I long for because I imagine that is the greatest freedom like being a kid again.

In October of last year I released a trilogy, The Chronicles of Aden Weaver, a set of books I’d been working on for fifteen years. Since I finished the series, I’ve struggled to relinquish the world I’d created and the characters I loved. It took a long time to let go. Then I tried to start a new book. I’ve been doing some free writing exercises each weekend, trying to loosen up the writing muscles, but I have felt stymied, stifled, stuck. The needle simply hasn’t moved.

It felt like a turning point when I came across a rather triumphant, sassy little blog post this week called Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney on First Drafts and Battling Writer’s Block. I really needed to hear her sage advice, “write the first draft for yourself.” Because I think that’s where I’ve been going wrong the last few months. When I wrote The Chronicles of Aden Weaver, I was an unpublished writer, I wrote fiction as an escape route for a harassed mother of two boys under the age of five. This time round I’m a published author and I’m thinking of genre, age group, who might read it and what they might be interested in reading–a total buzz killer. When I read “write the first draft for yourself” I thought that’s what I need to do! The goal is to write all the drafts for myself, to have the courage to totally and utterly back myself and my own creative choices, whether they fly in the face of the rules or not, just like the greats do. Yeeha!

Do you try new things?

Keep Creating!

Yvette Carol

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The process of writing—for me and for almost every writer I know—is some combination of fast, slow and excruciating. ~ Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

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Comments
  1. emaginette says:

    I do try new things and absolutely love Lemony. I’m such a fan. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Olga Godim says:

    You’re right. Writing require guts aplenty. Even more so, when we publish. Thinking that someone out there would read my story and (oh, horror!) not like it could paralyze me with fear in the beginning.
    As for trying out new things – I suppose. I started with fantasy. Then began writing sci-fi stories, because they were there, in my head. Then I wrote magic realism. Then I wrote a mainstream novel. Then, out of the blue, I wrote a regency romance. I don’t know what comes next, but I’ll always come back to my first love, speculative fiction. I’m working on a sci-fi novella now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      That’s so cool that you can be flexible around genres and styles, Olga. I really admire that ability to flow. Part of the reason I didn’t just let myself write another series within the world of the Chronicles, was that it was too easy, I wanted to challenge myself by stepping away. Fear of the unknown is real!

      Like

  3. The next book will come to you. Since I published my last book I have begun three different starts to three separate books, and have tried various POV. I am now pushing ahead (SLOWLY) with a novel-length piece in first person. So hard. But you know? I never seem to do ‘easy’. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Vivienne! It’s heartening to hear your feedback, because I’ve started a fair number of different stories so far without anything grabbing me.
      First person for your W.I.P? I haven’t dared try that route yet. Good on you!

      Like

  4. I would love that kind of courage, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the quote , as usual. And I agree with you that writing for oneself is the key …. if you don’t enjoy what you write, then what is the point ! Perfectionism and fierce competition , just numbs us sometimes. Yoga, relaxation, and meditation, all help too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for your comment on Blogger. Yoga, relaxations and short meditation, keep my head out of the quick sand; as do my twice weekly bike rides around the village to do essential errands. In lockdown again since 5th April.

    Liked by 1 person

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