IWSG-October 2017

The leaves are changing on the mountains. Temperatures are hovering near perfection. I get to wear sweaters and long sleeve shirts. Autumn is here! Oh, and also, it is the first Wednesday of the month which is when the Insecure Writer’s Support Group gets together for their monthly blog hop. Check us out and sign up HERE 


From the website:

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!

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.

You can also answer the optional question each month.

for October the question is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

When I first read this, I thought in terms of identity theft. You know, something like I wrote my social security number on page 17, or maybe used my current street address. I can say with surety I’ve never done that.

But slipping personal things about myself, stories, traits, desires and dreams, sure.

When I was in my teens and twenties, the majority of my protagonists were loose representations of myself. I’d write about actual events, slightly tweaked, but anyone who knew me or was there could see through the flimsy disguise.

With practice, I got better and hiding things. Like many writers, I was able to create characters who could do and say things I might never dare try in my actual life. I would write idealized versions of who I’d like to be (and on one creepy occasion, someone I’d never want to be). The fictionalized adventures would be mine, become something like my memories.

If I’m being honest with myself, I think I still do this more than I’d like, but rather than jumble all these things into one character, I spread them out over everyone in the story.  Maybe others are talented enough to write complex and interesting characters based entirely on speculation, void of any connection to themselves or anyone they know. That is beyond my skill.

On another note, I finished the second round of the NYC Midnight flash fiction challenge. Hopefully this story is more well received than my last effort, which honestly wasn’t very good. This time, I wasn’t sleep deprived or unable to focus. Hopefully, I’ll actually score some points and maybe advance to the final two rounds. If not, it was a fun and challenging experience.

My only complaint about the contest is the rigid use of  genre and accompanying expectations. I know it makes judging a bit easier to have set criteria, but it makes the writing feel very controlled. I mentioned my story wasn’t quality work, but one of the critiques was, in romantic comedies, we expect a happier conclusion. In other words, don’t play with the genre. That seems a strange and vapid critique.

What about you clods? Any good words to share?


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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

17 responses to “IWSG-October 2017”

  1. rolandclarke says :

    I’m watching the leaves turn outside my home office, so autumn here as well – or Fall as the locals call it. Reading your post, I realise that I have gradually learnt to bury my traits in my writing. I’m still there but not doing my cameo appearance.

  2. artistpath says :

    I am going through a poetry phase at the moment, but this too shall pass lol. My novel awaits attention. I’m hoping to get back to that any day now! I do love this time of year, the fall, it’s the writer’s season, in my opinion.

    • fenster says :

      I agree about the writing season. I always feel more motivated come September and October. I hope that trend continues. Good luck on that novel. I bet it will be grateful for your attention.

  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh (@AlexJCavanaugh) says :

    Congratulations on finishing the second round!
    We can’t help but put a little bit of us in our stories. Fortunately, with the genre I write, there is very little real life incidents.

  4. Liesbet says :

    Well done on submitting – and making the next round – another fiction story. The circumstances seem to be better than last time, so that is good news!

    The way you describe how you create character sounds so very appealing. I might ave to give fiction a try one day. 🙂

    Autumn – no winter – where we are as well. The Aspen have turned yellow, and it is way too cold for our bodies. Freezing by night, seeing our breath by day, Three layers of long sleeves. No, thank you. We did not expect any of this (let alone the snow) in September/October during our Colorado house sit. Time to head south soon, through Utah. 🙂

    • fenster says :

      Fiction is fun, but frustrating IMO. Poetry was always a bit easier for me. I shift back and forth between the two, but fiction often wins out these days.

      I think what you’re experiencing weather wise is an anomaly. September was much colder than I prefer this year. I’m liking this 60 degree Fahrenheit stuff. I hope it lingers through November.

      • Liesbet says :

        I enjoy poetry as well, when I am totally relaxed and in a beautiful place, which rarely happens both at once. Or, when there is an important birthday or wedding coming up and I feel the desire to write a personal poem for the card. BTW: did you know that our mutual writing friend J.H. will be in your town tomorrow and Saturday?

  5. Shannon Lawrence says :

    Good luck with the contest. Hopefully you did better than you think. I do know a happy ending (for now) is a requirement of romance, but I don’t write romance, so can’t give any more info than that. Horror doesn’t require a happy ending. 😀

    • fenster says :

      It wasn’t just romance, but romantic comedy. Either way, I should have known better and played by the rules. I’m hopeful this story is better received.

  6. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor says :

    Good luck with the flash fiction contest. I wonder what they meant by a “happier conclusion.” How do you decide how happy something is? And what’s happy enough.

  7. Michelle Wallace (@mishy1727) says :

    LOL on the identity theft angle!
    Is it possible to NOT include real-life elements in one’s fiction?
    I’m sure there’s always an overlap of sorts…whether deliberate or accidental…

    Good luck with the NYC Midnight flash fiction challenge!

  8. jmh says :

    Congrats on finishing your entry! Please let me know how it goes. Hopefully you can keep moving through the rounds.

    It was so great to meet you in person. Thanks for being awesome and coming to the conference to see me.

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