Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Insecure Writers Support Group


Hello. It's that time of the month again. Hang on. That doesn't sound quite right. It's the first Wednesday of the month again, which means it's IWSG time! It also means my kids are sick. Yes, even in summer, they managed to find a virus. Way to go, team! I'm sure it wasn't deliberate, but these summer programs are non-refundable, so buck up campers.

June has been a bit weird. It started off fabulous. The family spent a week body surfing off the SC coast, doing flips in the pool, and dodging deer on our bikes along the golf course. Then we got back home and quickly realized my daughter's 5th grade class would not be the only ones bidding a fond farewell to the elementary school.

Not one of my daughter's three teachers will be staying to teach her younger sister. The Yankees' fan who cracked delightfully sarcastic jokes? Moving down to first grade. The amazing math teacher who not only directed the 5th grade play but also single-handedly made nearly all the costumes? Off to middle school. Ditto the third. Even the principal, who donned sunglasses to jam out with the band to "Uptown Funk" on his sax has left the building. For good. Le sigh. Le pout.

Young Foxes 1
Image courtesy: Tony Hisgett

But I'm complaining. Let's talk about writing. Do I still do that anymore? Maybe in bits and pieces. My husband (a math prof.) dragged me to a fancy dinner at the President of RIT's house to recognize faculty who've brought in the big bucks with grants. Best part? When the festivities were halted (right smack dab in the middle of my husband's introduction btw) by a pair of foxes bouncing through the yard and past the pool. Second best part? Meeting the fellow in charge of grants. For my husband's first major grant, I wrote the introduction and apparently, this piece of writing is trotted out at grant writing seminars as a how-to piece. Cool! I may not be cashing in on my writing, but somebody else is.

In the fiction arena, the ongoing edits for the historical novel are big in the sense that they are changing what the novel is about, but not so big because the actual numbers of words added and deleted are around 2K each--so far. (I'd love to shorten this sucker, but I'll have to be content on not letting it bloat.)

This book's becoming a story about boundaries: the ones you keep, the ones you choose to cross, and the upheaval that comes when circumstances put you on a side you never thought possible. That last one is the biggie. When the climactic scene comes, I don't want to slow the pace expounding on the importance of the moment. If I set the groundwork properly throughout the novel, the impact will be implicit. Easier said than done, if this makes any sense at all.

Enough vagaries! I'm a co-host this month and need to be out visiting. Does that last paragraph strike a chord with something you've either read or written?



61 comments:

  1. I bet you can do it!
    That's awesome your piece is showpiece of how to do it right.
    And really funny about the foxes.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  2. The story about the foxes made me giggle. Maybe they wanted to join in the fun!

    I think that's a great piece of advice about the climax of the story. Set it up so you don't have to 'talk' about it--just let your characters do it!

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  3. Love the story and picture of the foxes. It's really cool that your piece is being recognised as a way to do it right. Thanks for co-hosting.

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  4. Would have loved to have seen those foxes! Getting things just the way we want them is hard, but worth the time. Thanks for co-hosting!

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  5. Congrats on being held up as the model!
    Funny about the foxes.

    Thanks for co-hosting. :)
    IWSG #123 until Alex culls the list again.

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  6. I never understand moving competent teachers around grades. My school does that all the time. It seems a good 5th grade teacher should stay there. Of course, it might have been their request--who knows? But all three? I teach technology and they never (NEVER) want to move me. I have a few ideas why...

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  7. LOL - I would've loved to watch those foxes.

    Grant writing is really difficult, so that's great they use yours as an example.

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  8. A story about boundaries sounds very meaningful and insightful. Good luck with the rest of the editing!

    And cyte fox story! :)

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  9. Gosh, I wish my older sibling's teachers moved on before I showed up. My brother was a handful and when they saw my last name, they looked like they were going to faint. Then they would say after a month or so, "You so quiet!"

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  10. I love how stories shape themselves over time. Also, my friend is a teacher who taught 5 different grades in 7 years. It's crazy how much they moved her around.

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  11. I guess you were swimming along the Carolina coast before the sharks arrived? Great job writing that opening. Sounds like you're writing a novel with a lot of depth.
    Susan Says

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  12. I hope your kiddos feel better soon! Nothing worse than spending summer sick!
    You know, my intentions for my stories always end up way off kilter by the end so lately I haven't been writing with any more intent than self-satisfaction. And if someone gets something from it, good for them. Yes, I totally meant that :)

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  13. Hi,
    It sounds like you are having an exciting time. There is some change taking place but you have it under control. That's great. Keep up with your revising of your novel. I truly believe that there are some events when writing an Historical novel that have to be included because the reader might be interested.
    All the best.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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  14. It's good to know that your grant-writing abilities are being celebrated. In my opinion, wordsmithing is just that, and it sounds as though your abilities are appreciated and recognized.

    Do you find, with your Historical novel, that the changes to what the novel is 'about' seem to fit with your vision of the novel? That is, there's an underlying vision that you may or may not be aware of, but which, when a change comes that alters the entire story, makes you realize that it is on the correct path. Cute foxes - and I love the cat on your lower left. (You've already visited my blog, BTW, so hold yourself excused from coning back, O co-host)

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  15. Writing with kids around is insane! Can't wait for them to head back to school. That would be cool to have seen the foxes:)

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  16. Keep. Moving. Forward. You will get it done and it will be great. Believe it!

    Thanks for co-hosting!
    Heather

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  17. Thanks for co-hosting! Hope the editing goes well. :)

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  18. Aw, it can lessen mommy anxiety when our younger kiddos end up with the same teacher as our older kiddos. I've been in both situations. Hope it all works out! Good for you about the grant writing piece. Way, way cool.... :) Thanks for stopping by Writer's Alley. I really appreciate it. Here's to keeping in touch...

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  19. That's great about your piece getting used as a how-to! Grats! Best of luck with your edits, and maybe cross some boundaries of your own. :)

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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  20. I like stories about boundaries. I think that's what's interesting about historical fiction, though, is exploring those past boundaries. Hope your kids feel better!

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  21. Hey Tamara, thanks for co-hosting today. When I saw the word vagaries, I thought of vagrant which reminded me of John Steinbeck novel I once read, East of Eden (have to reread it again). Anyways, congrats about your intro and good luck with your edits. Crossing boundaries, intentional or accidental, is something we all do and makes for an interesting read. Especially in regards to how social structures might change in the novel.

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  22. It sounds like you've had a fun summer! Very cool about your writing helping to get your husbands grant. I've had instances where my ability to write has helped our family to either get money or save money. It's a helpful skill to have and can be lucrative in ways beyond earning royalties.

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  23. You're in for an interesting summer and new school year, too. Good luck with it all, but especially for your writing. ;-)

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  24. I hope the kiddos shake the virus. I still schlep kids from one thing to the next in the summer. And, this year, they're taking driver's ed! Grey hairs are back. Congrats on being the good example for the grant writing! Maybe there's one out there for you?
    Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    Play off the Page

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  25. Wow, what kind of Summer is around your corner! It's been interesting already. Exhausting even. Hope the kiddies get well soon. :) Thanks for co-hosting.

    shahwharton.com

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  26. What a busy summer. I hope your children get well and you have some time to relax.
    Good luck with your novel. Thanks for being a co-host this month.

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  27. I hope your kids feel better soon! Congrats on your excellent grant writing! The foxes must have been cute. Good luck whipping your story into shape. It sounds like it's really coming together. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  28. Goodness! Hope everyone gets better soon. It's hard when your favorite teachers don't stick around.

    Sometimes I still want expound, thank goodness I have great friends who remind me it isn't necessary. :) We must do our part to build the story and trust our readers to make the connections.

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  29. I'm sorry to hear the kids are sick. Bummer. Major bummer.

    Keep working! You'll get there!

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  30. Great post! Hugs on the ghosts of great teachers past, BTW. Thanks for hosting!

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  31. It's hard to loose good teachers to other jobs. Here's hoping the replacements are just as enthusiastic. Revising is, for me, always the hardest part. All we can do is keep plugging away at it, one sentence, one page, one chapter at a time.

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  32. Sorry to hear about the kids. Hope they feel better soon. Wow, three teachers and a sunglass wearing principal who rocked "Uptown Funk" with Band on his sax - gone? That's rough.

    Love that the grant writers use your work as their how-to. That's gotta feel good. Thanks for co-hosting this month! Have a great day. Eva

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  33. You need to give the seminars on writing those introductions. Then you can cash in.

    Sounds like an interesting place your book is going.

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  34. Love the foxes> That's amazing> Great work on rant writing, but keep writing your historical novel!

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  35. Oh yes, it makes sense! We want our writing to be 'important'; our readers want to be entertained. Always a balance to make sure our needs and theirs are met. Nice post!

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  36. Foxes. I love how they play. We had a den of sorts at our old barn and could watch them from the house.
    Not real crazy about their choice of menus though. We had a lot of cats disappear when the foxes were close. :(

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    1. Oh no! I love to see foxes, but I would be crushed if our kitty became fox-chow.

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    2. Oh no! I love to see foxes, but I would be crushed if our kitty became fox-chow.

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  37. Pretty awesome that people like your part of the grant. Good luck with revisions on the novel.

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  38. I've set boundaries in writing with short verse poetry that contain boundaries is syllables, etc. Right now, that's all I've got going, but at least I'm coming up with some new pieces. Good luck on the revision.

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  39. Definitely, the importance of the moment should be obvious from the build up of the entire story. Sounds like you have some interesting and hard work ahead of you.

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  40. The themes of your novel sound fascinating. Be sure to let us all know when it's out there for public consumption.

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  41. I love how stories take on a life of their own. You had an original plan, but the story has other ideas and sends you on a journey you hadn't expected...probably pushing your own boundaries. Pushing and surpassing boundaries are what make many stories great. Best of luck ion your revisions, thanks for hosting, and happy 4th!

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  42. My nephews always have a knack for getting sick too. What can you do though?

    Good luck with your story and getting it to do what you want.

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  43. A story about boundaries - sounds exciting... and interesting!
    Happy editing.
    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month.
    Writer In Transit

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  44. Writing is an art--word by word sculpts the entire manuscript. Great post!
    Thanks for dropping by and leaving your thoughtful comment.

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

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  45. Yes, it does make sense. And your intro for the grant sounds like a great example of that groundwork.

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  46. Congrats on the co-hosting! Also, I know what you mean when all the teachers suddenly disappear for a grade. My daughter is having the "we don't have enough seats in our classes" problem. Also, those foxes are adorable (I always feel like it should be foxii...)

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  47. I hope your kids will feel better soon... and that you'll find more time to write ;-)

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  48. Hi Tamara! Lovely entry for the IWSG. I always enjoy reading these b/c it gives me an incite to what other writers are doing and how they overcome challenges. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I'm excited to see how you work!

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  49. Thanks for co-hosting. I love foxes! We went up to the top of Pikes Peak (over 14,000 feet) and there was a fox eating donuts up there. Just perched at the very top. He made for some great photos.

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  50. Get Well Soon to all. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for co-hosting today. Good luck with the novel writing and all that other stuff you have going on, Enjoyed the photos, We are moved and now finishing up the rest of it and putting things back into order, Happy IWSG!

    Juneta @Writer's Gambit

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  51. Get Well Soon to all. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for co-hosting today. Good luck with the novel writing and all that other stuff you have going on, Enjoyed the photos, We are moved and now finishing up the rest of it and putting things back into order, Happy IWSG!

    Juneta @Writer's Gambit

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  52. I'm also in SC! And good luck with your book. I hope you manage to work through the climax and get it the way you want it. Good luck!

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I solemnly promise to visit the blogs of all commenters (unless I'm abducted by aliens or my children get sick. If my children are abducted by aliens, I will be very busy, of course, catching up on my sleep.)