Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG).
They meet the first Wednesday of every month to encourage each other, share doubts and insecurities.
You can go here to encourage other participants
 
This is my second month.
I wish I had more to report, but alas.
 
I am a pantser who decided I needed something more after a Nano "win" that was an epic fail.  A fail because the story truly needed to be buried or perhaps dipped in hot oil and set a flame.
 
I decided I needed structure.  I was going to tackle that pesky thing called plot and wrangle it to the ground. I bought the Plot Whisperer books and I have been reading them. I've read blogs and articles and everything I can lay my hands on to understand this concept.
 
Somewhere along the way I got over whelmed by it all. I was doing lots of reading but no actual practicing.   The concept feels foreign to me and I don't know where to start.  My muse said "Whaaa?" and fled the room.
 
I tend to be holistic in my approach to learning. I immerse myself into whatever it is I am researching, ponder it and at some point it makes sense to me.  This isn't working. I have encapsulated myself with too much information.
 
What I need to do is glean knowledge as needed. Instead of shoving the whole freaking apple in my mouth I will take smaller bites. I will write more.
 
 
 

45 comments:

  1. I suggest just taking some time and writing some stories with no thought of novels and publishing. Find the fun in storytelling. The rest will work itself out. :)

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    1. Thanks for the advice!

      I think finding the joy in writing again is just what I need.

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  2. I've been thinking of having this phrase put on one of my t-shirts, "Hug a Writer Today." Think of the hugs I'd get.
    Think of the hugs you'd get if you did the same? Pretty soon you'd be hounded by these strangers who wanted to hug you and you'd get no writing done. BUT--you'd feel better, right?

    Yes, all writers are slightly nuts. Take a deep breath, Jai. Life gets overwhelming sometimes, and then it isn't. Your "isn't" is coming right up.

    Happy IWSG!

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    1. Awe that would be an awesome t-shirt. Thanks for the encouragement!!

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  3. You're right that you need to discover your own personal way of discovery and learning. I too, need the time to assimilate new techniques. And too much information at one time can overload and freeze your production.

    So smile you're doing great. And as Joylenne said we're all slightly nuts that's why we're writers. :)

    You know, I was so excited to start this IWSG blog thingie, and last week I jumped the gun with my first post. A week early. hahahah

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    1. That is awsome. A week early?

      IWSG is such an wonderful group. I am so glad that I found it.

      Delete
  4. Plot and story structure are one of the few things I think I have a handle on, unlike the rest of my writing skills. The Plot Whisperer didn't do much for me. Her descriptions struck me as rather vague. I'd strongly suggest checking out Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. Excellent books that are fun to read that will show you all the plot structure that's inherent in good books and movies-even if you didn't notice when you read/watched them.

    Welcome to the IWSG!

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    1. I will take a look at those books. Thanks.

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  5. When I started writing, I never thought much about plot or story structure. I just jumped in head first without looking. That's kind of the way I am about new things. I learn as I go, but that's the best way for me to learn. We all have to figure out the best path. Good luck with finding yours.

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  6. I can totally relate to this! I've been fighting with the same novel for over a year, and I've recently changed my attitude towards how I write it. I'm less concerned about structure and plot and instead I'm focussing on moving the story forward and getting words on the page. It's not brilliant but its getting there, and once I have a full, scrappy first draft I'll worry about thrashing out the structure.

    Best of luck, you'll get there :)

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    1. Thanks! Best of luck with yours too.

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  7. That's a big writing hurtle that I hope you will be able to leap over soon. Try starting with short fiction pieces that have a beginning, middle and end. I love writing flash fiction, which are complete stories under 1000 words. That's a good practice for writing a plot. Of course reading fiction helps too!

    Wishing you luck to get to writing a superbly plotted novel soon!

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    1. That's a very smart idea. I will give it a go.

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  8. Hey Jai, nice to meet you. I think the best advice is 'just keep writing'. Of course, study isn't a bad thing but it needs to be put into practice. Write, write, write. I like the idea so sitting down and just telling a story, don't worry about writing a novel.

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    1. Sounds like a plan. Nice to meet you too.

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  9. Visiting from IWSG, nice to meet you. Maybe if you are finding writing and planning a whole novel too daunting why not try something smaller, a short story or flash fiction piece. This way you can try out lots of different ideas and styles until you find what works best for you. There are loads of competitions out there you could try entering pieces in to.

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    1. Nice to meet you too.

      I like the idea of a shorter work.

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    2. This idea was suggested a couple of times and as I drove home from work ideas started forming.

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      Or as Brave Heart yelled: Freedom!!

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    3. Let us know how it all goes! Best of luck and happy writing!

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  10. Small bites are definitely better. I've found it's easy to become overwhelmed. I'm now following your blog and look forward to getting to know you better!

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    1. It's amazing. Once I said "like duh" I'll work on something smaller. I just felt so much better about everything.

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  12. Plot is really hard for me too. I never feel like I know what I'm doing and I've read tons of books on it. Keep on writing and searching for what works for you.

    I'm stopping by as part of IWSG.

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    1. Thank you. I know I'll find what works I just got 'rutted' and thanks to IWSG I think I will be able to jump out of the "FREAK" grove and move forward.

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  13. Sometimes we just have to let go of logic and let the creativity run where it will. Try writing in small steps, what is the end point and how do I get there?

    Good luck and keep writing!
    www.blonde-not-dumb.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks!! I will let you all know how it is going next month.

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  14. Hi Jai, nice to meet you. I'm a confirmed pantser too. I've given up trying to figure out plot until it slaps me in the face. It would be great to learn a bit of plotting though, so I hope it goes well for you.

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    1. Thanks. It just seemed smart to have some structure. A hanger for my coat as it were. Instead I ended up with a whole coat closet ;)

      Small bites. I know it will get better.

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  15. Every writer takes a different approach to writing, and it can sometimes take awhile to find what works best for you. Smaller chunks can definitely help, though. :)

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    1. I promised the muse I would stop tormenting her. That I would go back to my pantser ways if she'd promise not to leave me if I used just a wee bit of 'structure'.

      We have an accord and for the first time since I started this journey I feel like my old self.

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  16. Save The Cat by Blake Snyder worked for me. It helped me blend plot points and creativity together. Just sayin.

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    1. I've seen that title mentioned a lot. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the recomend.

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  17. Just write how you want to write. Revisions are for fixing things up. I've tried to become a plotter too, but it's never worked no matter what I've done. My stories will do what they want to do, and they sound wrong if I try to force them in a particular direction.

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    1. I really enjoy your stories. I can't wait for Harbinger to come out!!

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  18. Hey Jai, I just posted my Liebster Award post. Sorry for taking so long, but thank you for the award once again.

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  19. Plot is the hardest to tackle, in my opinion. I've heard the Breakthrough Novel Workbook is pretty awesome. I copied the plot (sort of) of Pride and Prejudice for my current WIP. I figure, like painting, why not learn by copying a master?

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    1. I read something like that on a blog yesterday. Suggested copying the first chapter or first page of a favorite book to feel the eb and flow of the author.

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  20. That's why I try not to take in too many writing tips at once. It can overwhelm.
    And glad you are part of the IWSG!

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    1. Alex, I have enjoyed IWSG. It is so nice to be in touch with so many people who have advice to offer and to whom I can recipricate.

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  21. Not part of IWSG (yet), but thought I'd take a stab. It helps me to concentrate on writing in scenes (as a screenwriter would). (I'm writing a novel). If the scene doesn't advance the plot or a character, then out it goes. I study books, too, but it helps to study how this is done in movies and TV series, too. Screenwriters have only so much dialogue and space to work with. Sharon

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    1. That's a good idea. I have heard that studying TV series and movies can help teach you how to find the structure upon which to place your story.

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  22. I was overwhelmed by story structure, too, at first. But after reading a bunch of books (like Save the Cat and The Plot Whisperer), I finally figured it out. I used to think all there was to it was the beginning, middle, and end. I didn't realize there was so much more to it than that.

    I analyzed a novel using Save the Cat to figure things out, especially since I'm now writing from a dual pov, and I had no idea how that worked with story structure.

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    1. I've heard about Save the Cat. It is on hold at the library.

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