Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG With a Touch of Horror, Crime & Mystery

Brain Child of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!


The awesome co-hosts for the April 4 posting of the IWSG are

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG


Optional Question of the Month: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

When I'm in a writing funk, I shut down everything I'm working on and pick up a good book. Nothing snaps me out of rainy-day-writing blues faster than to read someone else's writing. I know they must have had rotten moments while they were creating the story. I know they must have walked away, shaking their head and wondering why they ever thought they could write. And yet, there that book is with thousands of words that draw me in and keep me reading.




I had real doubts that I could write a mystery-thriller-suspense story. I almost didn't, then one of those accidents happened. I stumbled onto an article about the great Chicago fire, and because writers' minds are nothing but a labyrinth of subterranean connections, I came up with the idea for Heartless. I knew I wanted to set the story at the time of the fire, so there would be two races against time: one to save a life and one to escape the flames. 


Now I'm writing another novel, and I'm half-way through the first draft and totally stuck! Even worse, I had a computer malfunction and lost my latest version (about 2K words weren't saved in my backup) I've had more rainy days than California has in a decade. I've cried on my critique partners shoulders and slumped over my desk, asking, "Why did I start this?"

Stay tuned. I'll be blogging about this one for a while. And you? What's your rainy-writer's-day strategy?

72 comments:

  1. Reading is definitely a good way to get out of a funk. I do that quite a bit. Mainly I try to make it easy for myself by breaking down my writing process into small steps that don't require too much thinking. LOL

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    1. Taking small steps is a strategy we can apply to almost every undertaking. Good idea.

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  2. If your story's not a timely reminder to back-up my work, I don't know what is.

    I'm realising that research aka random reading is key to taking a germ of an idea and making it into something of substance. At least, I hope it ends up as something of substance :)

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    1. We can only hope that substance is the result. Good luck with that and, yes, backup!

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  3. That hurts to lose so much, but you didn't lose all of it.

    I certainly read enough stories (or partials) and it's inspiring how much imagination is out there.

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    1. You get to sample a lot of imagination on paper. I'm sure it's interesting.

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  4. That really sucks. Maybe the rewrite of what you lost will be even better.

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    1. The process of recovering it is interesting. I may have to write about that. And you're right. It may be a better version in the end.

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  5. Ouch. It's rough when you lose words like that. I love reading to get inspired too. :)

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    1. It's such a relief not to be the one "creating" and become the one enjoying, isn't it?

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  6. Cookies are my answer when the going gets tough. Yikes for losing all of that work. Computer problems are the worst.

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    1. I wonder what Shakespeare did when his candle tipped over and burned his drafts? Maybe I should stock up on cookies.

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  7. You started it because you had no choice. Writing is in your blood. I find movies are another great way to perk me up. They're like books on steroids.

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    1. Oh yes. And those movies take me so far out of my world that when I come back I feel like I've had a vacation.

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  8. Those are tough days, but you will endure and carry on sooner or later. This I know. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm regrouping a bit every day.

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  9. That's how lots of first drafts are, so long as you keep going your'e all good:) Look forward to reading it:)

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    1. Hi Mark,

      I've been so tied up these past few weeks that I haven't been over to say hello! Must do that.

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  10. Reading is definitely on my list. Sometimes just reading what I already wrote pulls me back in and helps me get unstuck. Sometimes. Wishing lots of happy thoughts to unplug the stuck clog.

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    1. You're so right. Reading is a great un-sticker!

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  11. You are so right, Lee. I've been thinking I just push through it but I actually don't. I read. You're wonderful!

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  12. Picking up a good book energizes and pulls you into a world that releases your own creativity. I love reading. Sometimes, it is a particular book. Something that touches my heart strings and it will accompany me through a whole chapter.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. We are so lucky to have books and be able to read. Can you imagine not being able to?

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  13. Reading can certainly rejuvenate the creative spark. I like to go outside and hike. The fresh air helps (except when there's a lot of pollen in the air!).

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    1. Hikes are totally head-clearing! I hear you about the pollen. I'm itching just typing this.

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  14. Yes! Reading a good book helps every time. So sorry you lost part of your ms. Here's to pressing forward.

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  15. There is nothing worse then the computer malfunctioning and eating everything. I am so sorry. Maybe what will come from this time will shine even brighter. Happy IWSG day :)

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    1. I'm over the crisis and on to re-grouping. It will be all right, just a bit later than I'd hoped for.

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  16. I've lost work before, so I can commiserate. The Chicago Fire mystery sounds intriguing! Happy IWSG day! http://www.raimeygallant.com

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    1. Thanks, Raimey. I think we all have had those computer glitches that drive us mad.

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  17. Sometimes you just need to escape into a good book. There's nothing like it.

    With your recent fiasco in mind, I backed up my laptop then took it into the Geek Squad yesterday. It's been doing some crazy stuff lately so it needs an attitude adjustment. Or something. LOL.

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    1. Absolutely pay attention to the crazy stuff. I had some of that and ignored it. My mistake.

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  18. Oh man! When I lose pieces of my story, you don't want to be around. I'm wishing you success going forward and that what you rewrite is another step above what you previously had.

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    1. I did a lot of stomping and ranting. I think my family packed the car and took off. They didn't come back until they felt I'd vented fully. :-)

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  19. That sucks when you lose some of your writing. Makes me want to do another backup...

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  20. Losing writing really sucks. I try all kinds of things until I find something that works. It's rarely ever the same thing. Really looking forward to reading your story in Tick-Tock.

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    1. Big sucky time! BTW I'm reading your Jalepeno Cupcake story and loving it. Gracie could be my best friend.

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  21. My computer went splat with the last chapter of my latest wip. But screw that. I wasn't letting the computer win. I took it apart and got the thing off. haha

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    1. The last chapter? That's just totally rotten. I'm not sure I'd have your attitude, but glad you do.

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  22. Losing writing makes me cry! And cuss. I usually include my husband in things I cuss at because, you know, he's there. That makes me think that writing a book really is a lot like giving birth!

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  23. I have a friend who considers himself a writer. He is emphatically NOT a reader. I think it shows.
    I am very sorry to hear that you lost signficant chunks of your work. Blood sweat and tears went into it, and will go into recreating it. And this reader thanks you.

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    1. You're an amazing support group of your own. And this writer thanks you.

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  24. It helps me to read someone else's story, too, Lee. It's relaxing and inspiring and soon I'm back with my characters hoping they'll tell me who they are and what they want.
    It's also good, I think, to try writing different types of stories. One never knows.
    Sorry that you lost your work. I'd be crying. Hope it all works out for you.

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    1. And isn't is wonderful to enjoy someone else's labor of love for a while. Thanks for the commiseration. I'm close to recovering.

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  25. Oh, yes, reading always helps to rejuvenate my writing. For the last month, I've been reading voraciously and not writing at all, but it is about to change. I feel the wish to write creeping on me. I itch to get back to my WIP.

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    1. I know that itch, and it comes from the energy of other writers. Good luck with the renewed writing period.

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  26. Reading has always been my best go to method for getting out of a slump. Truly inspiring. Sorry for your loss, but I'm sure the rewrite will be even better. It always works out that way. All good, even though, at first it definitely doesn't feel that way!

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    1. It does work out and you move on. Thanks, Yolanda.

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  27. I love your way of getting unstuck by reading a book. So sorry that you lost your work and are having computer problems. That's beyond frustrating, especially with everything else you've been going through.

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    1. Like my gram always said, "When it rains, it pours." There are some sunny days heading my way I think.

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  28. That is a big rainstorm. I'd cry too if my computer crashed! You did a great job rising to the challenge of the theme, and I like how you got your inspiration!

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    1. Thanks Mary. The behind the scenes is interesting, so I like knowing where an author got the idea for a story.

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  29. Sounds like you've been having a rough time, writing. Hopefully, your cloudburst will go away and the sun will come out to make everything better, soon! :-)

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    1. Thanks for the hopeful words. They are appreciated.

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  30. Yes! Reading is a great way to shake off the writing blues.
    Eek at losing 2k words. (I quickly rush away to do some backups)

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    1. Glad you rushed to back up. Always a good plan.

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  31. Lost 2000 words? What a nightmare. Like you I find that a good book takes care of most writing afflictions.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and understanding!

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  32. Ugh. When it rains, it pours. You can do this!

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jennifer!

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  33. Oh gosh, I'm sorry about your lost work. That has to be so frustrating! But the story of how you came up with your entry for the anthology is so cool. I am anxious to read the story!
    Good luck getting unstuck with the WIP - I'm sure you will get it all figured out soon enough. Exciting that you're writing another book. :)

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    1. I was so jazzed about this one. I'm working my way up to feeling more waltzy at the moment. :-)

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  34. Losing 2 K words! That is really tough. I hope you get back into the story and maybe your next 2 K will be even stronger.

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    1. I'm working my way into it again, but it will have to wait until I finish this launch and my next one on May 15!

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  35. Reading definitely helps me. So does getting out and taking a walk in nature. But- it sounds like you are having tons of rain there- which can make the walk trickier.

    So sorry to hear about the 2000 words. That can be disheartening. Glad you have the shoulder or your CPs to cry on. Hope the writing starts to flow.
    ~Jess

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    1. It turned out to be more, but since 20K was just scrambled, I'm managing to put it back together.

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  36. Great tip, to go and look at the work of another genius when your own is taking a short break. I struggle enough with simple articles on the website - oh, those opening lines! - let alone the long-awaited book! And, picking up on another tip, above, "success by the inch is a cinch; by the yard, it's hard" - terrible, I know, but true, and easy to remember.

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    1. Your rhyming tip is perfect and one I'll remember, Mike. I love reading your blog. It's always so chock full of interesting information and so well written. You're the Bill Bryson of bloggers.

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