Wednesday, June 5, 2019

June 2019 IWSG

Ah, June. Time for shorts and T-shirts, beach visits, and tall glasses of lemonade, right? Well here along the shore of Lake Ontario, we're still wearing our jeans and fleece. It's 59 degrees! But I love it, actually. Perfect weather for gardening and bike-riding. 

Great weather for blogging as well. It's time for another IWSG post. Thanks to our host, Alex Cavanaugh and his incredible band of cohosts: Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Today's optional question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

Book Store Cat
Image: Daniel STL

I like to read literary fiction, women's fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, horror, dystopian, paranormal and suspense/thrillers. For writing, the list is a bit shorter. I've written a paranormal thriller, slave/historical fiction, contemporary fiction, speculative, suspense, and horror. I don't have a favorite, per se, because I haven't written in all of them yet. So how could I possibly pick? 

The aspects of writing that I try to incorporate no matter what genre are: 

1. Compelling characters. 

Image: Amazon

Stephen King is my favorite author and at first, I thought it was because I loved spooky stories. But now, I think it's because his characters are so unique/amazing/well-rounded/alive and his voice comes shining through each story. It's simply magical. I love it.

2. Buried themes/symbolism

Male Great Horned Owl keeps close watch
Image: Tony's Takes

My favorite book, Shadowland by Peter Straub, is haunted by birds. They're all over this story. 

3. Twists and Curveballs

Sometimes a twist is major plot point. Spoiler Alert! For example, in Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, you discover the wife wasn't murdered by her husband. Nope. She sets him up as a form of revenge. Genius.

Other times, curveballs are like sweet pieces of candy that liven up the plot. I'm rereading George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones and John Snow is expecting to be assigned ranger as he joins the Night's Watch because of his skills in fighting and horsemanship. Unbeknownst to him, he's actually going to be assigned steward to the Commander instead, which seems like a big step down. (But it will help train him to become commander some day.)

My problem with twists and curveballs is that I like them so much, I tend to overload my novels with them until the plot gets too complicated. Then I have to have a serious talk with myself, and figure out which ones can stay and which can go. Setting up a major twist also takes a lot of thought and planning. A great twist needs plenty of hints without giving the whole game away. 

US Sea World 1211 (245) 
Image: Diego Tirira

Curveballs in real life are not as much fun as we found out on our trip to Florida during Spring Break. Our first morning, my daughter woke with a high fever and our first stop was the local doc-in-a-box instead of Sea World. 

Luckily, we were early, got through the sign-in, waiting room, strep and flu tests (both negative) very quickly, and even scored her scrip for antibiotics right there at the office. She insisted on carrying on with our plans and we were able to do everything (and then some). Even feeling ill, Sedona outlasted me in energy and enthusiasm. (I must be getting old.) 


Has life thrown you any curveballs? 


  1. I love curve balls and twists in the stories I read too and try to incorporate them in my stories. But yes, I do not like those things in real life. Too bad your daughter was sick on your trip but glad that she got to go to everything she wanted.

  2. Curve balls make life interesting. I'm glad your daughter was well enough to keep going. You didn't want to miss Sea World. (Did you ride Mantis? Amazing roller coaster.)

  3. I totally agree re King’s characters. Even the secondary characters are often compelling.

  4. Glad you were able to enjoy your vacation.
    Twists and curves are more challenging for me. I'm happy when I can add more than one to a story.

  5. I love twisty stories too. I try to work twists and curveballs into my own writing, but I do find it challenging.

    Glad your daughter is okay and was able to make it Sea World. Kids (well and unwell) outlast me all the time. Gosh, how did I get so old?

    Cheers - Ellen

  6. Weather in Northern Michigan isn't sure if it's summer time yet either!

    Yeah, curve balls in real life tend to suck way more than in fiction. LOL

  7. I love this. Yup, I write in many different genres but incorporate all of the aspects of a good book to whatever I write. :)

  8. I love all of those aspects, too! When we used to learn about symbolism in high school English class, I would whine and say I'd never do that as a writer. Now I do it ALL THE TIME!

  9. I'll read any genre, really, if there are compelling characters. That's what it all comes down to for me. Though I do appreciate a good twist.

  10. Like you, I go for books that develop characters that come alive and stick with me. I can even overlook a saggy plot if those people step off the page and into my head like friends to cherish or enemies to guard against.

  11. Ooh, I love a good twist. That's usually the route all my short stories go. Less setup needed. It's fun to just hit the reader with it and then be all "I'm done!"

    Hope Life doesn't throw you any more nasty curve balls.

  12. I do like curves in stories... but my genre of choice is either essay or non-fiction, especially history (but I’m working hard on creative non-fiction).

  13. Oh, gosh, curveballs. I hate them in life. Mine was a bit like yours. When my kids were 5 and 11, I took them to Disney World in California by myself. The first day, my elder son developed a bad fever - a flu. We had to cut our trip short. The only alternative was to leave him in the hotel alone, while my daughter and I explored the park. So we left.
    In fiction though - sometimes, they take a story in a very interesting direction.

  14. Stephen King is, indeed, the master of characterization, and The Stand is his magnum opus in that respect. There is nothing I love more than being drawn into a story and immersed by the world.

    Curveballs in real life. Seems they come so regularly, one should hardly be surprised anymore. These days I plan for the worst and hope for the best. At the end of the day, it's all good, all things considered.

  15. I love plot twists and look for them in movies (esp.). (Spoiler Alert!) I was so disappointed with the ending of the remake of Pelham 123 (John Travolta & Denzel Washington). I never saw the original. I yelled at Hubs "Where's the twist?" lol

  16. I like curve balls and twists in stories, too; especially in mysteries. For me, they can make the difference in a good mystery or a brilliant one.

  17. Life has thrown me a LOT of curveballs, yes. I agree that I like them in fiction but not TOO much so after a while it starts to feel like the unexpected is the expected. Sometimes it can be fun when as it turns out the Butler Did Do It but given how quirky the story went up to that point it's cycled right back around to didn't see that coming. Some of my favorite stories end that way. Keep thinking of this recent cozy mystery series I was reading where the author played with that concept and it was hilarious. In that case it involved clowns not butlers, but same basic idea. Still giggling a little when I think about it. Good stuff!

    Anne from

  18. 59 degrees! I hope it's gotten warmer this month.

  19. Curve4 balls up the wazoo. And I (or the royal 'we') wouldn't have it any other way. Writers have to live it before they write. Great post! Happy IWSG Day!


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