Posts Tagged ‘IWSG’

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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Every month, the organisers announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. Remember, the question is optional!!!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Writing fantasy for children is a not exactly a hot genre. It’s difficult to do well, and as Terry Pratchett once said, there’s always been this ‘cloud of disapproval around the fantasy genre,’ as if it’s somehow the second cousin of more serious or entertaining popular fiction.

‘But some of the reasons are easy to see. The sheer torrent of the stuff for one thing. The telling and retelling. All those new worlds and eternal heroes.’ Yeah, I get it, too. Even for me, fantasy can get annoying, and yet, I can’t deny the draw. It’s what I loved to read as a child, and it’s what I love to write now.

Who cares about being cool or trendy?

For most of my thirty-five years writing for children, I’ve been writing “fantasy animal tales’ and they’re even less of a hot topic than pure fantasy. Yet, the roots of fantastic tales about animals, especially talking animals, go back to our very first oral traditions of storytelling, as far back as 600 B.C. and the time of Aesop.

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Why does this particular niche appeal to me? Kate de Goldi said once ‘writers always have their story, their palette, driven by something they find interesting that they can’t explain.’

I feel the answers lie in childhood.

I look back at my past, and I think I was a total nerd. Oh, the joy I used to get from reading a new book. To visit the library and get new books for free seemed such a delicious and exciting power to have. What to read? The choices were endless.

As a young child, I recall the impact of unexpected bliss I felt on the day I opened Finn Family Moomintroll, by Tove Jansson, and read ‘Chapter 1. In which Moomintroll, Snufkin and Snif find the Hobgoblin’s hat; how five small clouds unexpectedly appear, and how the Hemulen finds himself a new hobby.’ It was a profound moment.

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I was immediately transported somewhere else. I flew away to a far more fascinating place than my powerless world, as a small child growing up in the urban landscape and a working class family.

Pure fantasy seems to deal in the fulfilment of desire, the yearning of the human heart for a kinder world, a better self, a wholer experience, a sense of truly belonging, wrote David Pringle.

Through these fantasies I read: the Moomintroll series, and the Chronicles of Narnia, the ghost stories, myths and legends, I escaped through their portal, to lands far away, where exciting magical things happened that matched the limitlessness of my imagination.

These books made my childhood more wonderful and alive.

When I first approached writing fiction for children, it was natural to reach for the subject matter which intrigued me as a young person, the genre of animal fantasy. That’s where the heart lay. It was as simple as that.

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I think it was Thoreau who coined the famous advice for writers ‘know your own bone.’

It was writer/teacher, Kate de Goldi, who said, ‘Your idiosyncratic fascination is why you were made and set here.’

In other words, in order to be true to who we are as writers, we have to find the courage to follow what truly moves us, to write what our hearts sing to read and what lights us up inside. That takes undeniable courage, to dig down to the core and come up with one’s raw innermost truths, and then own them.

I used to be ashamed of my genre. I did a lot of writing but not a lot of submitting. When I did submit, I got responses like, “no one’s buying fantasy,” or “no one’s interested in reading about talking animals.” So, I submitted less often until I stopped altogether.

That’s where self publishing is king for authors like me, who write in less than popular genres. We don’t need a nod from the gatekeepers anymore to see our books in print. We nerds can say, “I’ll publish fantasy animal tales if I want to.” And, “Nerds rule!”

What do you love about the genre you write in?

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Talk to you later…

Keep Writing!

Yvette K. Carol

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When she is most lucky, the poet sees things as if for the first time, in their original radiance or darkness: a child does this too, for he has no choice. Edwin Muir

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

 

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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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Every month, the organisers announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. Remember, the question is optional!!!

InsecureWritersSupportGroup.jpg

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

What a great question! This is the perfect time of year for reflection. Yet, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to look back at all or get any perspective. November was a rush from start to finish, and so I’m going to post the December question early  and get a head start. I appreciate the prompt to pause, take a minute and think about it.

Things lately have been great, but the start of the year was rocky and hard going. I went through a self-publisher’s nightmare.

I went Indie in 2015, publishing my first book, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ The first volume in the Chronicles of Aden Weaver series was relatively painless, using the services of a local company, BookPrint. They did all the layout and formatting and cover design for me and being local, it was easy to work together.

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At the beginning of this year, for the second volume in the Chronicles of Aden Weaver series, ‘The Sasori Empire,’ I decided to try a new route and use Createspace services. Everyone had spoken highly of them, and I thought they would be a viable alternative, as well as being more cost effective.

It ended up turning into a six month comedy of errors. It ended up costing me double when I had to withdraw my book from Createspace and get BookPrint to finish the job. It ended up making me ill with stress and worry.

I wrote a blog past during that time, ‘Quit or Stay’ post, and Kristen Lamb responded, ‘Life knocks us down, but that’s just life. The getting up? All on us.’

It encouraged me to hear from my idol. I remember I took great heart from the stirring poem Kristen put me onto in her response, How Did You Die? By Edmund Vance Cooke:

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The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;

Be proud of your blackened eye!

It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts, its how did you fight — and why?

Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,

And whether he’s slow or spry,

It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,

But only how did you die?

The warrior girl in me cried, HUZZAH!

I knew Kristen was right. You have to have skin in the game. And you have to be cool when you get popped in the nose. Emboldened, I fought on. I finally triumphed, and five months later than scheduled, in collaboration with BookPrint, I produced a truly beautiful tome.

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Looking back, what I would done differently in 2017 is listen to my gut. Early on in the piece, I began to get the feeling that this was hopeless. Early on, I had feelings of dread. I didn’t listen to them.

Looking back, what I would done differently in 2017 is listen to the little inner voice, which was saying, ‘don’t spend anymore.’ I didn’t listen. I told myself I’d already committed to online publishing and there was nothing I could do, which was ridiculous, because in the end it cost me twice as much as book one.

Looking back, I think, If only I had listened to myself and honoured those instincts at the start, I could have saved myself a lot of grief.

Once I took the project to BookPrint, everything began to take off from there. The book launch was a success. We celebrated and toasted ‘The Sasori Empire’ and I really did feel triumphant. I guess there’s always that. A victory hard won is all the sweeter.

Looking forward to 2018, I intend to honour my instincts a lot more. I intend to listen to my little inner voice. I intend to pay heed to my gut. That’s the New Year’s Resolutions sorted!

What would you have done differently looking back on 2017?

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Talk to you later…

Keep Writing!

Yvette K. Carol

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 Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce, Or a trouble is what you make it, And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts, But only how did you take it? ~ Edmund Vance Cooke

 

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

On Wednesday of this week, it was 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

What am I feeling insecure about? Being stuck in the “aditing” phase with my book.

I tend to get asked this question a lot these days, ‘How’s the new book going?’ My standard answer has been to say that I’m still editing. However, as I was confessing to a friend, at Toastmasters this week, I’ve been going through my manuscript adding more words than I’ve taken out. She coined the perfect word for it, which I immediately purloined, “ad-iting.”

I thought, wow, this is the perfect word for a stage in the writing process which is necessary and also, annoying. The “aditing.”

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The other day, I celebrated having edited the entire manuscript the whole way through five times. Here I am, studiously taking words out of my tome of 60,000 words. Yet, by a process of diligent aditing, I’ve also managed to get the word count on ‘The Sasori Empire’ up to 63,760 words!

How? Answer: because I’m temporarily stuck in the stage of “aditing,” which is strictly speaking the opposite of editing. It is nevertheless, a valid part of the creative process of creating fiction. For any writer, especially those who are just starting out, this can be the most frustrating stage of our job. This is what happens naturally, when each time you go through your prose, you find more and more gaps which need filling, more questions which need answering, or where there needs to be more description, more context, and more depth in general.

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These are the tough yet vital moments in the development process of a good story. This is when you have to examine what’s there and what needs to be there to add texture and context. It’s vital to the enrichment and vibrancy of our fiction.

A few years ago, I entered a short story into a contest held over on LinkedIn. On the forum boards, members of the group wrote in with their feedback on the entries. A lovely old Indian writer, who I was friends with, gave me some very valuable insight on my piece, which I’ve never forgotten. He said, “Nice story, but not enough furniture.”

His wise words made me wake up. I had an epiphany. I realized that in my slavish abeyance to the modern rules of writing fiction, I’d stripped my writing nearly bare. This is the danger today. There are rules for everything! The danger is that we polish a story to the stage where it’s too sanitised. We might get an “A” from the “Was Police,” but no one else wants to read it because the story is also sans voice, sans colour, and sans energy. It’s boring!

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When I began work on this series, The Chronicles of Aden Weaver, a decade ago, I set out as we all do, into the fun, easy “Genesis project” stage of writing a book, when you’re gushing the rough copy into words.

Once I had the substance of the overall trilogy, I started editing Book One, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ However, I cut out all the flavour. In my nodding to every literary more, I’d whittled my story down to the bare bones. I ended up having to do some serious aditing, before it ended up feeling like a fully realised story.

Therefore, with the sequel, I didn’t want to leave the bones bare. This is when the aptly named, “aditing” came into play; the vital time spent adding furniture to the rooms of the house. Then, adding the decorations.

The award-winning author and teacher, Kate de Goldi said, ‘I think current stories are lacking in complex structure, nuance. Kids need more than a limited diction, and a palette of Smarties.’

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It’s in the visceral detail that brings the scenes alive and makes the characters more real.

I commenced working on Book Two in September.

Within the process of editing, I have had to re-learn how to accommodate prolonged periods of aditing. I’m here to report, it can be done. One must keep a stoic face. And, not worry or think of it as a waste of energy. Allow the words to flow to fill the gaps. You can always take half those words out again later. The important thing is to let them flow. This is that point of manuscript development about which Oscar Wilde famously said, ‘This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again.’

This admittedly requires a lot of patience. But then, what part of writing does not?

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Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned. ~ Oscar Wilde

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

I know, I’m late again. Wednesday is 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Right now, I am deeply insecure about the human race.

It’s hard to look at our planet right now and be chipper about it, even for an upbeat, optimistic, Sagittarian Dragon like me.

How can I continue to create my imaginary literary worlds when the real world around me is going to hell in a hand basket?

Although I appear somewhat refined, I’m actually low-brow. I loved Harry Potter, love ‘following the Kardashians,’ going to the movies, eating ice-cream and too much junk food on my time off. I don’t read the news, don’t know anything about politics, didn’t go to University, didn’t get a degree, well, you get the idea. I’m a fairly basic human being.

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Nevertheless, I still have my own expression to share.

I look at the world and I am disappointed by the sad state of our planet, by stupid credit wrecking world finances, by inane politics, by religions, by the state of our education system, by practically everything! I’m deflated right down to being scared of the strange characters loose on the streets, that make it too dangerous for a single woman to jog.

On my jog today, I was frightened by a man.

All day, I’ve been trying to think of a solution. I could jog with someone else, if I knew someone who lived nearby who jogged. But, apart from the lack of such a person, I use my running as time to commune with myself, in the style of a semi-meditation. So, that’s not really an option.

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There have been lots of incidents over the 20+ years I’ve been living here. I’ve been forced to change the times of day I run, and the routes many times. I used to run at 5 in the morning, when I got a doozy of a scare to find a man had been waiting for me in an alley. I changed to running at 9 a.m. 4 p.m. midday. Then, I changed it back to 8 in the morning which is where I am, currently.

Today was the second time in a few days, that I’ve seen the same terrifying guy, with the deadly serious attitude.

It was pouring with rain.

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As I ran past this man walking, I knew it was the same man who had given me chills from two days before. I thought I’d better check the stranger was still walking on up the road. But, he wasn’t. He’d stopped and was starting to turn around.

My guts said, “MOVE!”

I saw I was a few steps from the driveway of another school mama. I shot down to her front door. She and her daughter, and their big dog were just getting ready to leave for school. She said, “What’s wrong?”

I said, “There’s a strange man on the road, and I came to the nearest safe house.”

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She said, “Don’t worry. Brut will scare them off!”

We went back up their driveway. The man in the hoodie was loitering on the other side of the road.

I said, “There he is!”

At that, the man pivoted and took off into the property behind him.

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I thanked my friends and ran home safely. Yet, it was like the final straw. I have ignored the signs for years. But now, it’s unavoidable. I have to accept that my freedom is curtailed, because it is not safe to jog anymore. And something in me really rankles against that. I’ve spent the day feeling incensed.

With evening, I find I’m left with this great weight of disappointment like a sad blanket upon me. I’m disappointed by the human race.

Someone on Facebook said a few days ago, that he feels a sense that the miraculous is afoot. This does give a glimmer of hope. Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek movie, says, “I think you’re underestimating the human race” I sure hope so! However, I’ve also decided to invest in a treadmill.

In this sad, old world of ours how do we artists continue to create our imaginary Edens?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago, had they happened to be within reach of predatory human hands. ~ Henry Havelock Elllis

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

This Wednesday it was time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! I’m late again, (sorry). It is 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

I spied a funny meme on Facebook this morning, then when I went back to look for it this evening, I couldn’t find it. It had vanished on the ether. If I can paraphrase, the message was this: “Teach a person to read a book, they’ll while away many a happy hour; teach a person to write a book, they’ll spend a lifetime mired in self-doubt.”

A chorus of ‘ain’t that the truth’ comments had poured in. I suspect that we, writers, and creatives, all suffer the same voices of self doubt about our work. I found it rather heartening, to know I’m not alone in my uncertainty.

A friend and fellow Toastmaster, said to me to the other day, “We creative people are sensitive.” This is so true. When our speech or our story gets picked apart, as she said, “we take it personally, because we’re so close to the material.”

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We have to learn how to keep our feet on the ground, when our business is to reach for the stars. A photographer friend, said, we creative people put our heart and soul on the line when we show our work.

This is true. As a writer in the early ‘80’s, I used to stress and sweat it so much over every publisher’s rejection letter. I can remember as an over-dramatic teen feeling as if my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I think it was Leonardo di Caprio who said, ‘With age, comes wisdom.’ Luckily, I’ve learnt a thing or two as I’ve gone along.

What can we do?

Mindfulness. ‘Mindfulness is being deeply aware of what is happening from moment to moment, outside and inside us, without judging or attaching to the content, feelings and emotions that arise. It refers to living deeply and richly in the present moment and not responding to life in a distracted and mechanical manner.’ Dr Yellow Bird.

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World-renowned spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a lovely little book, Peace is Every Step. ‘The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.’ I have a copy of this classic book in my home library and re-read it regularly. The ‘deceptively simple practices of Peace is Every Step encourage the reader to work for peace in the world, as he or she continues to work on sustaining inner peace by turning the “mindless” into the mindful.’

How should one go about Mindfulness?

Dr Yellow Bird recommends, ‘formal mindfulness instruction can benefit anyone who is exposed to chronic stress.’

However, if formal instruction is not your style, Nhat Hanh’s book, Peace is Every Step, gives simple exercises you can do at home, to develop and build our awareness of your own body and mind. You work towards mindfulness through conscious breathing.

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Jordan Bates wrote a great article over on his blog which is another good resource. Check it out! The 14 Mindfulness Teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Zen Buddhist Order

These sorts of relaxation-based techniques really speak to us, the sensitive souls who have to expose their souls in their work, writers, photographers, artists, etc.

I find mindfulness and meditation help keep me balanced in my middle age. And I feel they enhance my writing. I like to see that research is currently being done and they are discovering a basis for the reputed health benefits of meditative practices. I know they work for me.

How about you? What have you found that works for you to battle the self-doubt?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“Friendship redoubleth joys and cutteth griefs in halves.  For there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more, and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less.”  Francis Bacon

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

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It’s Wednesday and 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

What am I feeling insecure about? Speaking in public. Yes, that’s right. I’m a Toastmaster who’s terrified of giving speeches.

A week ago, I was asked to speak to a group of people about my books. My first reaction? To think, ‘I can’t do that!’ Yesterday, I was asked to give a speech at a public venue this coming weekend, and my reaction was to feel, I can’t!

I know it’s just fear. And, I also know it comes from being an introverted writer. Talk about a double whammy! I know there must be other introverted writers out there, and most definitely there are many of the poor, frustrated people who live with them, who want to wrap their head around it a bit more. Here’s my take.

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To be a writer these days, you need to be able to speak in public. For that reason, I started going to Toastmasters nearly a year ago, and yet, I’m still terrified every time I take the stage.

The thing for the introvert is this. We can do everything within our power to overcome this fear of public speaking, yet, the natural inclination is to solitude. We still gain our energy from retreat.

Coming forward takes all my courage. It makes the stage fright seem doubly worse. There’s giving the talk itself and, then, there’s also the overwhelming prospect of a room full of strangers. It feels a little bit like swimming uphill.

‘Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.” ~ By Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert

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At Toastmasters last week, my “adopted grandfather” Bruce brought along a friend, Bob, who also lives at the same retirement village.

Bob expressed interest in my book. He was one of those sweet old gentlemen you warm to right away: twinkly-eyed, white-haired, white-bearded, who are extremely enthusiastic about literature and authors in general. He said, “It always makes such a difference if you can say you’ve met the author.”

‘What sort of books do you write?’ he asked.

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I tried to explain the genre, (fantasy fiction) and that it was aimed at the 9-12-year-old reading level. But, even as the words of description were leaving my mouth, I regretted them, and wished I’d said something else.

Lesson learned: an introverted writer should have a blurb rehearsed beforehand, a standard phrase that can be repeated in the time it takes to ride an elevator, in other words, have an “elevator pitch” ready. In a public situation, we don’t adlib very well.

In a starry-eyed fashion, Bob suggested I could get Bruce to organize a luncheon at their village, for me to come and talk about my book!

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Despite shrinking inside, I said, “Yes, that’s a good idea.”

“Oh, you’d draw quite a crowd, we love hearing about that sort of thing down at the village,” Bob said, beaming all the while.

Crowds – my least favourite thing. I used to think that I had a phobia of crowds but it’s not that I am rattled by being among a large group of people; it’s that being there depletes my energy. This is how it is being an introvert.

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‘When introverts want to be alone, it is not a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.’

I am fighting the good fight. I’m doing the work. I’m attending the weekly Toastmasters meetings and I’m somehow inexplicably surviving each speech I give. Yet, the thought of speaking in public this weekend is giving me palpitations!

Are you an introvert writer? How do you handle the stage fright? I need tips!

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it–like a secret vice!The artist knows he must be alone to create: the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray.’ Anne Morrow Lindberg

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

“I’m late. Again. Yesterday, it was 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Can there be any more hideous experience than talking about your own book in conversation?

I should know by now, not to get drawn in by that most delicious and tempting of all questions.

Yet, my brother, Al, asked me, ‘how’s your book going?’ and I succumbed.

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I told my brother, ‘The Sasori Empire’ was based on mythology, with alternate versions of Maori legends and Japanese mythology.

To me, the world I’ve created through the Chronicles of Aden Weaver series is perfectly logical.

Yet, it’s only when I try to describe the plot to other people that I seem to come unstuck.

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I heard myself telling my brother, Al, in avid detail, as you do when you’re a writer, all about ‘The Sasori Empire.’ I said, it’s set on the planet Chiron (an actual recently discovered planet in our solar system). The setting though is an alter-earth. As other authors have done, I swapped out the first letters of countries to make them recognizable and yet also, ‘somewhere else.’

Al was blinking at me owlishly.

Yet, we writers, when asked about our babies, cannot stop talking even when our listener’s eyes have glazed over.

I told Al that book two mostly moves between the Lost Island, set off-shore from the west coast of an alternate New Zealand, and the Land of Fire and Ice which is set in an alternate imagining of Japan.

Al may have started snoring at this point.

About mythology, the famous writer, Joseph Campbell said, ‘The standard path of the mythological adventure of the hero is a magnification of the formula represented in the rites of passage: separation—initiation—return: which might be named the nuclear unit of the monomyth.’

I explained to my brother, that in these books I explore the traditional heroic arc, through the medium of fantasy and insect shape-shifters. Only in neither book two, nor its companion, book two: part two, do the hero or his heroic band get to “return.”

That was it. My brother wasn’t even looking in my direction anymore. I knew we’d officially reached his limit. At that point, I petered out.

I read somewhere recently, if we feel the urge to share what our book’s about with others, we should lock the urge up and throw away the key.

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Sharing only seems to water the impact down. Yes, I know we have to be able to précis the book to compose the synopsis, blurb, and elevator pitch, all the way down to the logline. But that’s different, that’s the business side. Even writing a speech about your book is acceptable. But talking about the story with people in regular old conversation, I find, goes nowhere fast. It never works.

Why is that?

The fact is, no one, not even one’s own sibling, wants to hear an author “selling their own book.” Especially at length!

How do I stop myself from “sharing” again? Have you ever had a hideous experience of talking about your own book?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Lord, make my words sweet and reasonable; some day I may have to eat them.~ Paddy Ashdown

‘The word ‘Legend’ comes from Latin legenda, ‘things to be read’. Originally, legends were the hand-written biographies of saints and martyrs, which were read daily, at MATINS, and after dinner at monastic refectories. In these accounts, such a love for exaggeration, the fantastic and wonderful predominated that the word, legend, came to signify a traditional story, a fable, or myth.’ ~ Brewers Dictionary of Phrase & Fable

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

I’m a day late for posting with my fellow IWSG’ers, so please accept my apologies!

Wednesday (*cough, Thursday) is 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

 

I haven’t been as uncomfortable as this in a long time. A friend who also happens to be one of the modern authors I most admire, will soon be reading my debut novel. I posted him a copy three days ago.

Now, the wait….

I’m suddenly very aware that it’s one thing to write a novel in the solitude of your room. It’s another to share it with your first critique partner or beta reader or editor. And then it’s a giant bound into a glaring stratosphere, to show your work to one of your writing heroes. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m so uncomfortable it’s a nightmare.

*mental note: this must be what ants-in-the-pants feel like.

The writer I’m talking about is PJ Reece, filmmaker, traveller and author of the excellent Story Structure to Die For, and Story Structure Expedition among many others.

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I first met PJ online, about three or four years ago, when he commented on a post published over on the excellent blog, The Write Practice.

Later on, PJ wrote a guest post for The Write Practice, on his writing theory of 2-Stories separated by a Story Heart.’

He explores the nature of writing fiction in a way that truly reflects the essence of why we’re here on this planet, and why we love fiction, on his blog, The Meaning of Life. PJ lights the way for other writers by his sheer willingness to dive deep into the real essence of himself. Then, he articulates how to bring reality into our fiction, and the transformations needed of our characters, relating the experience like a poet.

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I think to do what he does, one has to have a very important trait and it’s a trait I seek to cultivate in myself. Pluck!

You see, last year, I self-published my debut novel. After weeks of procrastinating, I mustered up enough courage to ask PJ Reece to read it. However, I wasn’t sure if he would read ‘tween reading level.

PJ replied, ‘A good story is a good story no matter what the reading level.’

I was encouraged. However, truth be told, I chickened out and never sent it to him. Then he remembered a couple of weeks ago, and well, long story short, a copy of my debut novel, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta,’ is en route to Canada as we speak.

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I see a lot of pluck in all of PJ Reece’s work which is why I admire it so much. Now, I’m waiting for him to read my (first ever) novel, and I think ‘all my pluck has got up and went,’ as my father would say.

With 35 years of writing fiction under my belt so far, I’m no stranger to the process of submitting stories. I’ve sent my work out more times than I can remember. Yet, none of those times have felt like this feeling of squirming-on-the-hook.

Will PJ read the whole book, I wonder, or horror of horrors, will he put the book down and walk away?

Some submissions really feel like putting your heart on the line, don’t they? How do you stay on an even keel? Any suggestions for how to handle stress are welcome.

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Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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At present, IWSG are taking part in the ‘A to Z Challenge.’ Due to my time constraints, unfortunately,  I could not participate.

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Kate de Goldi – ‘I don’t care about the classifications of what constitutes children’s literature. I want to write articulate, textural, demanding,’ she said. ‘I think current stories are lacking in complex structure and nuance. Kids need more than a limited diction, and a palette of Smarties.’

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It’s Wednesday, 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

 Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write. ~ William Cobbett

Does anyone else out there procrastinate before they sit down to write? I put it off to ridiculous extremes. I find myself suddenly scrubbing the floor or mowing the lawns or making meals, anything to avoid that moment of starting. Apparently, I’m not alone.

‘We step up to the blank page — this snowy tract that hasn’t earned even a single footprint across its virgin expanse — and the potential overwhelms us. Or, it has me, at least — once upon a time upon starting a new story I’d feel like I was standing drunk on the ledge of a skyscraper. Vertigo overwhelming as if even typing one letter would send me dropping down in that cavernous concrete abyss.’ ~ Chuck Wendig

Ike Lee

This year, I’m working with two partners in critique. One of my critique peeps suggested I needed to round out the second point-of-view character, Ike Lee (pictured), as he was coming across as shallow, and therefore, unlikeable. Upon studying my chapters, I realized she was right and I hadn’t given away any clues to this character’s inner world.

The job, I realized, was to hack my way back through the jungle of the copy, remove chunks of deadwood and add new copy, giving physical clues, thoughts, feelings and realness.

This task has been the cause of my freeze-ups about returning to work. The book is already written. I’m in the editing stage, which is actually quite a lot of fun, though it requires sustained focus on detail for long periods of time. But, now the task at hand is to write whole new passages. Why does this instantly strike me with fear? Why do I doubt I can do it? I wrote the rest of the trilogy, for Pete’s sakes.

It means I waste time. I procrastinate. Though on the upside, the floor is sparkling and the lawns are tidy!

I think that part of the reason I waste time on self-doubt still, after all these years, is habit. I forget the wise words of William Cobbett, ‘Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write.’ I try to recreate the wheel. I feel I have to move mountains. I have to make the impossible happen – write new copy!

How do we change the old mindset, touted so often, of ‘letting one’s forehead bleed onto the typewriter?’

We subscribe to the new voices of a new generation. We let a little light shine into the darkness.

Daniel Jose Older

Listen to this! I found across this great quote from Daniel Jose Older

What about those crucial moments before we put pen to paper? For me, writing always begins with self-forgiveness. I don’t sit down and rush headlong into the blank page. I make coffee. I put on a song I like. I drink the coffee, listen to the song. I don’t write. Beginning with forgiveness revolutionizes the writing process, returns it being to a journey of creativity rather than an exercise in self-flagellation.  I forgive myself for not sitting down to write sooner, for taking yesterday off, for living my life. That shame? I release it. My body unclenches; a new lightness takes over once that burden has floated off. There is room, now, for story, idea, life.  I put my hands on the keyboard and begin.

‘Writing always begins with self-forgiveness.’

This message is my new guiding light. Thank you, Daniel! I’ve been inspired by Mr. Older for years. In fact, I quoted him a few times on my original website. But the quote above was new to me. It has given me a whole new positive framework for my writing.

When we apply a positive approach, we become more upbeat in every area. When we’re relaxed and feeling good about ourselves, we can get into the right frame of mind to hear and respond to the creative thoughts which abound on the ether. Thus, creativity flows!

Do you procrastinate before you start? Do you have any tips to share?

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Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

 

 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Wednesday, 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. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. (My apologies on being a day or so late).

What am I feeling insecure about this month? To put it frankly, my personal safety was put at risk recently, therefore, I’ve been feeling afraid in real time.

I learnt one simple tip though, about 20 years ago, watching an Oprah Winfrey show. This one thing has saved me from a dangerous situation, and has potentially saved my life. Twice. The second event happened to me only recently, less than a month ago. So I thought, for this post, I want to talk about this and spread this vital message.

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The Number One Safety Tip: Listen to your gut instinct, and Act on it. Listen and act. Three words which may save your life.

When I was in my early 30’s, I lived in a flat on the beach. A trail ran from my door down the garden, down a trail, under the Pohutakawas onto the sand. I swam every day, at the same time, for a whole year.

About halfway through that year, strolling down for my swim, I had a “funny feeling”. But I ignored it.

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One day, about six months later, we got off work early and I went down to the beach a little earlier than usual. I was swimming, and happened to catch a glimpse of someone sprinting along the beach. He looked like a cat cantering along a hot tin roof. I turned around fully and the man had disappeared. Poof! Like the rabbit down a hole, he was gone.

When I got out of the water, as I neared the path, I began to feel weird: my pulse raced, my steps slowed, and my heart ticked faster. I decided to creep into the bushes and take a look further along the track. I clambered up and peered through the branches. Then I became aware I wasn’t alone. There was someone behind me.

I spun around. The man who had been sprinting down the beach was lying sprawled on his side in the grass, from where he could overlook the track without being seen. That was when I discovered that all those stories are true. When you’re in real danger, the adrenalin that takes off within makes you temporarily superhuman.

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Like a cat preparing to jump, I coiled way down and sprang up with great force, unlike anything I’d ever possessed, leaping clear over the top of these bushes, landing crouched on the sand below. Without a pause in my stride, like Wonder Woman, or a cartoon figure, I zoomed down the beach, to safety.

The message I had taken away from that Oprah show was this: your gut instinct is your primary self defence mechanism.

Now, life had given me in a lesson in how just how important it was. It could literally be a matter of life and death. I had put myself in harm’s way because I’d been ignoring what my gut was trying to tell me.

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The second time I was in a situation where I experienced a gut instinct of danger, was three weeks ago.

I jog every day. One day, I got up earlier than usual, around 7 a.m. I jogged down a dead-end street, wearing headphones.

I noticed a car acting strangely, because it swerved and drove the wrong way around the curved end of the street. The car stopped on the other side of the road where I was heading, with the engine going. I saw the dented sides of the car and the blacked-out windows. My gut said, DANGER!

I turned and ran back the way I had come, quickly taking the plugs out of my ears. If he followed, I decided, I’d turn up a driveway.

The car started moving in the wrong direction, approaching directly behind me on the wrong side of the road! I sped up the next driveway. The car stopped at the letterbox, engine idling. By this time, my heart was thumping, my ears were ringing with sirens and cold sweat trickled down my spine.

I quickly came to a high locked garden gate, two closed garage doors and under a short awning, a front door. I knocked, and knocked. No answer. I was trapped.

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Stuck there on their doorstep with my back facing the door, I listened to the engine idling, with only a meter or so between myself and the car. For five agonising minutes, I waited before the car rumbled up the road. I crept out of the driveway an inch at a time until I could see the coast was clear. Then I sprinted for home like I’d never run before.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the people in the blacked-out car wished me ill. And, if I hadn’t heard that vital message on Oprah all those years ago, I might not have reacted the way I did and taken immediate evasive action.

Listen and Act. Three words that may save your life, or save you from even worse.

What about you? Have you ever had a terrifying experience? I’d love to hear from you!

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Keep on creating…

Yvette K. Carol

@yvettecarol1

Subscribe to my Newsletter: http://www.yvettecarol.com

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Time is a great healer, unless you’ve got a rash, in which case you’re better off with ointment. ~ Holly (Red Dwarf)