Hello! It's that time again. Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group.
But first, I have two teeny bits of news: I will NOT be at the Overdue Book Signing event this weekend because there's COVID up in our house, so I've had to cancel. There will still be lots of great authors and their books there for anyone who wants to go!
Also, Summer Bludgeon, which includes my short mystery story "The Class Ring," is now available for pre-order in e-book on Amazon from Unsettling Reads. There will also be a paperback, but it's not available for pre-order at this time.
Heavily inspired by the film Grease, the story traces what happened after the events of the film...and involves a murder mystery.
33 Original Tales About Summer's Darker Side
Inspired by an earworm from a song in the 1978 film, Grease, "summer lovin'" became “summer bludgeon.” Voila! A new collection was born. The stories, poems, and art included in this collection highlight the dark corners of our hearts. They pull back the curtains and show us people at odds, broken relationships, romantic love gone terribly wrong. Cold deeds and chilling words unfold against the simmering backdrop of the "warmest" season of the year.
Buy Summer Bludgeon from Amazon
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG serves to provide a place for writers to seek support and give it. Anyone can participate. Simply click on Alex's name and put your blog on the linky list, then hop around and visit others on the list, especially this month's co-hosts: SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray!
The optional question this month is: When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing until the end? If you haven't started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?
I'm skipping the optional question this month, although my post sort of answers it in the end.
I was really down this past weekend, due to some family issues, and then in the middle of what was a terrible weekend, I saw the news of a release for a book that was very similar to my current WIP. I've been working on this WIP off and on for probably about a decade now, which is shocking to consider, but I put it aside multiple times to work on my fantasy project, short stories, and book releases, and there were huge chunks of time where stuff with my dad, my family, and my jobs took precedence and my writing faltered. Plus, it started out as a short story, and I loved it so much that I decided to expand it into a novel and add a second POV. I've written about it on here multiple times through the years.
Now the other story being released is set during a different time period and has several other differences. What's similar is the feel. They're both horror comedies about killer critters. I guess that's where the similarities end. But it got me further down when I was already struggling. I've let similar issues make me drop a project in the past.
This time, instead of letting it sink me completely, I sat down on Saturday and finished the first draft of the book (I was 5000 words from the finish when I sat down.) I came very close to scrapping the entire thing. But this time I didn't let that happen. As soon as I get through some big work deadlines this week for the day job, I'll be jumping into revisions. Am I still mentally struggling with the doubt? You bet. But this is a project I love, and I'm not letting it go because of something that has nothing to do with me or the story.
Had I written this post on Friday or even Saturday, the tone would be very different. It took me several days to get to a positive place about it. Even as I sat there typing away at the final chapters, I was feeling dismal. This was a decade of my work. What I really wanted to do was curl up and let the numbness take over.
Now I'm just feeling that much more determined to finish it and get it out on submission, because the stories ARE different, and what this tells me is that there's a market for that type of story. Right?
I'm also excited about starting work on my next two WIPs. And maybe I won't take so long to write the next one so that this doesn't happen again.
Not only that, but I've written, edited, and submitted one new short story per week for the last month, and I'm feeling pretty productive.
Okay, submission stats for the last month. I do this each month with my IWSG post to keep myself accountable. May stats:
10 rejections (feel the burn!)
6 stories withdrawn from markets that either went under or were taking too long so I could resubmit
25 stories currently on submission
Note: I'm having issues with Blogger. Other than signing in and doing things on the back end, I can't stay signed in to comment on people's blogs. I can't even respond to comments on my own blog without posting as "Unknown!" I'm working on it and will get around for visits, but not today. Hoping I'll feel better tomorrow from the COVID and will have the energy to deal with the issues so I can visit then.
Have you been submitting? How are you doing? What are your insecurities? Have you ever had a similar situation to my IWSG post? What did you do? Did you scrap it or plunge forward?
May you find your Muse.
"...the stories ARE different, and what this tells me is that there's a market for that type of story. Right?" Even before I read this I thought the same thing. No stories are the same, and as we all know, certain "subjects" become hot. Maybe you are on the cusp of something big! So glad you kept going.
I so agree with what Liza said. Many stories have similarities, but we put our own unique spin on it. The only thing you don't want to do is make a story too much like a runaway bestseller, like Harry Potter.
I also have had to put my writing on hold during many times in life when I was caring for my husband and daughter and working full-time in a satisfying career as a lawyer. I don't regret it at all because I was doing what I had to do at the time.
Mega impressed that you not only finished your story, but did so when you were feeling in a tough place emotionally. That certainly does answer the question. With that level of determination and with such a great writing productivity habit, you certainly are made of the right stuff.
Debs posting today from Fiction Can Be Fun
Normally found at Debs Despatches
Hi, I'm happy that you got through the fog by continuing to work on the manuscript. Sometimes, we have to push through regardless of the circumstances and you have done just that. Congratulations on finishing the first draft. Shalom aleichem
Patricia is right - this is YOUR story and it WILL be different.
I'm glad you kept with it. Look how many versions there are of Romeo and Juliet, or Matrix, or Hannibal, or...? You get the point. You were wise to see that these stories are what readers want. Your spin will be a whole new adventure.
That's rough when you're feeling down because it's near impossible to separate the mental ("I know these stories are different") from the emotional ("That story's like mine"). I'm glad you've gotten to a better place, and I hope you continue to gain positivity with your story!
That would throw me for a loop too. Glad you found your determination again. Hope everyone stays healthy at yourself.
Congrats on your soon-to-be release. It sounds like a fun read. Don't let the other book get you down. Do what you're doing and get it ready to submit. You never know where it will lead.
Anna from elements of emaginette
Look on the bright side: when you're ready to query, you'll already have identified one comp :-)
Congratulations on finishing the manuscript and on your upcoming release!
Congratulations on your future release. I wish you all the strength and peace after a long battle :)
Congratulations on finishing that book! I suspect when push comes to shove, it's not any more similar to the other book than lots of books out there. That wasn't very coherent, but you can figure out what I mean :) And yes, Blogger has been very messed up lately. I did succeed in commenting tonight with no trouble, so maybe it's been fixed?
Hi Shannon - well done on finishing ... and now all the best for your future stories. Take care and cheers Hilary
Don't worry about that other book. After 2 thousand years of storytelling, none of us is writing a truly original story. Everything has been done before by someone else. As long as you have your own voice and your own little twist, you're doing fine. Keep writing and keep your head high.
Congrats on finishing that story!
Your experience reminded me of something I read about in the book: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Gilbert relates an interesting personal experience of having an idea for a novel set in the Brazilian Amazon during the 1960's. She set it aside for two years and the initial creative spark floundered. Years later, she formed a friendship with another writer and learned her friend was currently at work on a novel with a very similar plot. A VERY similar plot. After some calculations they determined that when the idea ended with Gilbert it somehow replanted itself in her friend. It wasn't theft, but inspiration. This story may seem somewhat otherworldly, but Elizabeth Gilbert's belief is sound: there is magic in creativity and in the process of shaping ideas. If you fail to make something of it, it may find genesis elsewhere.
Just thought I'd share this because I found it quite fascinating.
You are doing so well! Keep at it!
Despite your feelings, you finished your story. Hurray! You're a real hero to persevere, esp. when you're feeling down. As others have mentioned, your story will always be different from any others. It's your story. Hang in there.
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