Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It's time for IWSG


IWSG (the Insecure Writer's Support Group) is a wonderful group of writers, who come together to share, encourage and support each other. As writers, we sometimes need a shoulder to lean on or are ready to assist others on their writing journey.

We post on the first Wednesday of every month and talk about our doubts, fears, or triumphs with fellow writers. To find out more about how it works, head on over here.

Special thanks goes to the never relenting, always amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (this is his brainchild) and to the other co-hosts this month:  Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

You can also find us on Twitter at @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG

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This month, I learned something new. 

I rolled up my sleeves, and dug into the world of crime and mystery only to discover that it is much more difficult to write than I expected. This is not my usual genre. So, it was another plunge outside of the comfort zone. And what a plunge it was!

I was surprised how difficult it is to weave in small clues here and there without ever letting them seem overly obvious. Little things like emotions, reactions or even a single word in the dialogue can make or break the entire mystery. It felt like building a puzzle and having to rearrange the pieces over and over again to make them fit just right. I've never paid that much attention to detail before, and to watch everything so closely was a real eye-opener for me—and a great exercise.

Now, to see if I can take that lesson and remember to use it in my next project. . .why is that always the hardest part?.

And to this month's question:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?


Some years, I join in on NaNo. Some years, I don't. Since most of my writing is intended for middle graders or falls into the short story category, the 50,000+ words doesn't fit what I'm looking for. Sometimes, I've finished my projects. Sometimes, I haven't. It's not something I really worry about but use more as an extra push in those years that I feel like I've hit a slump.

But I love to cheer all NaNoers on and hope they reach their word count goals!!!

Are you joining in on NaNo?

56 comments:

  1. A puzzle - Exactly, like that!! That'd why I love reading and writing suspense. It challenges you to think backwards, forwards and sideways - all at the same time. Thanks for hosting today, Tonja!

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  2. I also tend to use NaNo as a push to get myself writing more. I steer clear of thinking that I must hit 50k in 30 days. It tends to bring out my darker, uglier, more competitive side. But I do love the excited energy that surrounds the event. Thanks for hosting this month's event, and happy writing to you.

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  3. I also tend to use NaNo as a push to get myself writing more. I steer clear of thinking that I must hit 50k in 30 days. It tends to bring out my darker, uglier, more competitive side. But I do love the excited energy that surrounds the event. Thanks for hosting this month's event, and happy writing to you.

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  4. That's one of the things I love about writing; weaving in those little hints to give that 'ahh!' moment when things become clear later.
    Thanks for hosting today!

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  5. Remembering is one of the hardest parts! I love that puzzle analogy. That is so true. Once you get it together though, it's brilliant. ^_^

    I also like to use NaNo energy sometimes to push me forward when I feel slumped. :) It's always so exciting to see people rallying like that. It's hard for me because I can be quite the lazy project starter, but I still always love to support everyone and the whole organization. I love what they do.

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  6. Sometimes those stretch projects turn out to be the best. Although lining up all of the puzzle pieces and clues sounds like torture - probably why I've never attempted that genre.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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  7. Although I haven't jumped into the NaNo commitment, I support those that make this event work for them. Thanks for posting early and co-hosting November IWSG blog hop.

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  8. I'm hoping NaNo will give me the push I need this year.
    Mysteries are so hard and I'm in awe of those who can set out all those puzzle pieces and then still totally surprise me in the end.
    Have fun co-hosting!

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  9. I'm working on a cozy mystery and it is challenging to figure out the clues and red herrings and how best to present them. It's a much trickier genre than I thought it would be. In terms of NaNo, I hemmed and hawed and decided today to go for it.

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  10. Nancy - I'm so impressed by those of you who write like that all of the time. Wow.

    Kathy - It does bring out that darker side! Which doesn't help the writing much.

    Angela - Especially when it all falls together in the end.

    Krystal - Extra kicks are so necessary.

    Alex - Yep, torture sums it up.

    Lynn - Cheering and support are just as important.

    Julie - Good luck with that extra boost!

    Sailor - Good luck with NaNo! Someone here told me that starting to write at the end of a mystery instead of the beginning can be helpful. I have to still give it a go once to see if it works.




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  11. That's why I've never written mystery/murder. It just seems so hard.

    I'm not signed up for NaNo but I'll try to push myself for extra words.

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  12. It's fun to branch out and try something new. Mystery and crime is a hard one to tackle, but I'm assuming your writing grew. As writer's we learn something new almost everyday.

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  13. Oh, I forgot to say, thank you for co-hosting this month! :)

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  14. First, thanks for co-hosting this month. Congrats for branching out into something new. My stories seem to gravitate toward suspense/mystery. It does make you think in so many different ways. Trying not to make the clues obvious is the hard part for me.

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  15. I haven't written anything that was purely mystery, but I do often weave things into my stories that will have a significant impact later on in the story and I agree. It's not an easy thing to do.

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  16. The first time I got deeper into the mysteries of my stories, I felt the same way. The littlest things are so important! I won't be doing NaNo, but I'm happy to cheer too. Thanks for co-hosting this month. :)

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  17. Kudos for trying a different genre from you comfort zone--Best of Luck and Happy Writing.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  18. I love writing mysteries and thrillers. What works for me--with weaving the clues in--is consider it through the POV of my character. What would they uncover as they're walking through the story? Then the clues blended naturally.

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  19. Hi, Tonja! Thanks for co-hosting today! Kudos to you for completing the mystery anthology challenge. I passed this year because of traveling and health issues ~ But next year ... Good luck with your submission.

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  20. Sounds fun, learning how to write in a new genre! I can see how mystery would take a lot of work and subtlety. I've been thinking about trying out some suspense, but I'm not sure I could do it justice.

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  21. Writing outside your comfort zone is such a great way in which to boost creativity and stretch those writing muscles!
    Thank you for co-hosting today!
    Happy IWSG Day!
    Writer In Transit

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  22. It's good to stretch ourselves into a new genre, or work on something completely different. Good for you! Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  23. Writing mystery is very difficult. At least I think so. Like you said: It's deciding where to lay the true clues and where to lay the red herrings without being so obvious that's the hardest thing. I'm trying it, too. Good luck!

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

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  24. Awesome. I've dabbled in mystery and incorporated aspects of it, because I feel all good stories will incorporated a strong manifestation of this genre--since it's the most popular adult genre. But to write a straight mystery? Nope. Can't do it. Don't know the rules well enough. Not saying I'd be opposed to learning, but I'm happy with the multiple genres I've got my fingers in right now.

    No NaNo for me. I tried it. We have to give something a go before learning what works for us, eh? Unfortunately, that one didn't work for me. Not enough cheese involved. =)

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  25. Good for you, for stepping outside your zone! A lesson learned is never forgotten and I bet you'll be pleased with how easily it melds into all you write ;-)

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  26. I believe writing mysteries and crime fiction are difficult because of the detail need. That was quite a courageous step you took. I applaud you.
    And thank you also for co-hosting this month.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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  27. Interested to hear how your mystery/crime fiction goes when it's finished! And thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  28. Each type of fiction has it's own challenges. I'm always fascinated by crime stories. I have the hardest time figuring out how authors lay out those clues and lead you through to the discovery.

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  29. Using NaNo to push to finish a project is, I think, more important than the word count. Sounds like you had fun writing in a new genre :-)

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  30. It's always a challenge to step out of our regular writing zone and into the new and (sometimes) bizarre. But it's one of my favorite aspects of writing. I can always challenge myself - sometimes to a disheartening degree, but that's life. I totally know what you're talking about when referring to mysteries. Book I of my middle grade series flushed out of me with little effort. It's a fantasy adventure with Norse Mythology elements. Anyway, writing book II has given me nothing but issues and that's because I've sent the kids on a series of mysteries for this book that eventually tie together. I keep confusing myself as I write. LOL One thing I've discovered that's helping me is I started keeping an even more detailed 'story bible' for this mystery than I've done for other books I've written. Best of luck to you! Way to go.

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  31. I agree. Sometimes NaNo doesn't work with what you're writing. Well said.

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  32. NaNo is so personal and dependent on our current writing environment. I enjoyed your post about learning something new. Thanks for co-hosting the Nov 1 IWSG.

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  33. Hey Tonja! Thanks for co-hosting this month! NaNo is good for a push, but it doesn't fit what I'm outlining right now.

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  34. I could never write a mystery. I admire you for trying and succeeding.

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  35. Good luck with your mystery writing. I am a mystery writer and find it difficult to balance the true clues with the take-the-reader-off-the-track clues. You are wise to be so aware. I'm with you wishing all the Nano participants good luck.
    JQ Rose

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  36. Thanks for hosting Tonja (smile) I will try NaNo someday. Blessings!

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  37. I think it's always beneficial to try something new in writing, just for the fresh perspective (and possible a badly needed break). Not joining NaNo this year, but looking to next year. I'd like to do it at least once, just for the experience. Thanks for co-hosting today.

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  38. I think it's so awesome you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone. We learn awesome bits about ourselves when we do. Thank you so much for hosting this month :)

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  39. I'm always in the middle of a project too during NaNo so I'm a cheerleader too.

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  40. Great idea to try something new and learn new skills!

    Heather

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  41. Raymond Chandler, one of my favorite noir mystery novelists was quoted as saying, "The murdered chauffeur in the begging? Completely forgot about him."
    So much outlining. Hard to tie up loose ends.

    Thank you for co-hosting!

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  42. Learning by doing is the best way to learn anything--at least that's how I see it.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  43. I've been mulling over an idea for a mystery, but I'm a major pantser, and I know I'll have to outline, at least loosely, so that will be a huge change. Good luck with everything!

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  44. Even though I love reading crime fiction, I'll never write it. Tooooo difficult!

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  45. No NaNo for me. Too much pressure. LOL

    I love to read mysteries, but I've never written one, but in a few of my books, I've added a bit of mystery to the subplot...just to mix things up a bit.

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  46. That's what NaNo is about. Spurring you to write stuff you probably wouldn't get around to on your own.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG post.

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  47. Good luck with the story! I've never written a crime story before, but I had a friend who did and I critiqued it, so I can imagine how tough it is to not be too obvious that readers instantly guess or too subtle that they never figure it out.

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  48. I did it twice and 'won' twice. Wordcount isn't a problem for me, it's unpicking the rubbish I wrote later where my issues lie. It isn't a resource which really suits my writing style in general so I rarely do it anymore. Plus I like writing short/novella length stories more than novels. :)

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  49. Thank you for co-hosting! I'm throwing my hat in the ring this year, but I'm just trying to reach 500 words a day. If I go over, awesome! It's my first new project in a long time.

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  50. You nailed it about the mysteries! Keeping everything straight is a challenge. I usually add/adjust those subtle hints in the editing process (when I know more clearly exactly what's needed).

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  51. I'm the same. I only do NaNo if I'm getting ready to start a new project. I wasn't going to participate this year, but then in October I took part in a competition to have an outline done for a new novel in 30 days, so it just worked out too conveniently. :-D

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  52. I write stuff all the time that I have no idea how or business doing. Rules of a genre don't deter me!

    Seriously though, my submission is probably terrible. Good luck to you!

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  53. Thank you for co-hosting this month. I'm trying to work on a crime story right now and I'm totally learning the things you've mentioned. I can't wait to see what comes of this. Best of luck with your stories.

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  54. yay for trying new things! mystery is very tough.
    but i love reading it!

    happy november!

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  55. Happy November Tonja! Visiting back from your blog visit. Congrats on writing murder mystery and in (hopefully) picking up some lessons to carry forward. That's an interesting point about all the attention to detail and subtlety. Never thought about it that way before.

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  56. That's cool you were able to deviate from your normal genre. I've tried that once and failed miserably. Good job for doing it!

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