Wednesday, 7 April 2021

IWSG April 2021

As we soldier on through the year and into a time when hopefully we will be free of all lockdowns, it's time to take our monthly stopoff and check in with each other for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted as ever by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers of all kinds can share fears and insecurities without fear of being judged. Today's co-hosts are PK HrezoPat GarciaSE WhiteLisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton.


I'm still trying to rewrite the ending to my trilogy after a technical issue meant I lost those few thousand words. My main insecurity is that it's not as exciting or well executed as the last time, but hopefully it will be ironed out in edits. Let's have a look at this month's IWSG question:

Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

This is an excellent question. I do believe that as an artist it's important to take risks and keep moving forward in your work. Of course there are successful authors who stick with a tried and trusted formula and have a solid fanbase who keep coming back because they know what they're getting, but it's not exciting to me as a reader. I'd like to do something different with each book I write. My current WIP (separate to my series, but it might turn into another series) is told from first person (which I've tried before but not often) and from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl (which is completely new to me). It's an interesting journey, certainly - I've been hit and miss in terms of getting it right, and my female CPs have offered invaluable feedback. As for controversial topics, they have come up on a few occasions, but I don't plan these things in advance - it's whatever is needed to move the story forward. Like with taking risks, I think it will come across as inauthentic if these things are too contrived or put in there for the sake of it. Everything has to start from the story, and if it takes me into some bumpy territory, I won't hold back from it. I think doing what serves the story is a good rule of thumb for pretty much all aspects of writing.

Do you enjoy taking risks in writing? Dealing with controversial topics? See how many other writers have answered the question at the IWSG sign-up list here.

24 comments:

Liza said...

The things I write are pretty controversial-adverse, but if a story moved forward as a result of introducing a controversial topic, I would embrace it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I did write from the perspective of a ten-year-old boy in my third book and I'll admit it was rather fun.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think it's great that you're writing characters in different age groups. I've written a MG and am now writing a YA. It's different writing for the two age groups, but I like both and like the change.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Readers can spot contrived a mile away.

A Hundred Quills said...

I agree. A lot depends on the story. Even I wouldn't hold back if the story demands. Anyway, as I interpreted this I like experimentation.
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Patsy said...

I don't think we always need to keep taking big risks – but neither should we be afraid to ever try something new. (That applies to everything – not just writing!)

Jemi Fraser said...

Love your take. I don't plan on those bumpy moments either - but they do crop up and demand to be dealt with.
It is a lot of fun to try something new!

Mary Aalgaard said...

It is a bold move for a writer to go "off script" and write something out of their initial success. They can feel trapped in it. For publishers and book sellers it's a business. For those who create, it's art.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - I hope you can get your techie bit resolved and gather in those lost words. Things crop up don't they ... and then just need to be sorted out - it's life ... it has lemons in it! Stay safe and all the best - Hilary

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

If I have anything controversial in my stories, it's most likely unintentional. I always start out with the intent to write an entertaining story that gives people an escape from reality. Sometimes my character have other ideas.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Nick, like you I too try to do different things in each book :) else it gets boring and repetitive, right?

cleemckenzie said...

Writing is a creative endeavor and if we don't go with what our heart tells us, we can't possibly produce something readers will be interested in. Good answer to this month's prompt.

Chrys Fey said...

I don't plan for controversial topics, either. They just come about while planning/writing the story. Those are the ones that are most genuine, I think.

Lee Lowery said...

I never set out or intend to insult, inflame, or offend. I simply don't see the point. I am never challenged to see a different point of view by this type of rhetoric.

I think you nailed it in terms of taking risks by including a situation that authentically develops and moves a plot forward v. throwing something on the flames to incite division. And most readers know the difference.

Liz A. said...

You lost a few thousand words!?! Yikes. That's a nightmare. But, then again, you would have rewritten it anyway, right? So, it's like editing without the original to edit from. Good luck.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

You're right. There is a lot of risk in the creative process. To be truly creative, we can't be afraid of risks.

Denise Covey said...

I totally get writing to a formula that has worked for you or writing to market if you want to make money, but I agree, Nick, that gets a bit boring.

Laur said...

You brought us back to the basic truth in your contribution to the #IWSG question this first Wednesday of this month. It is all about what is needed for the story. Anything shoe-horned in just to make a point is going to be artificial and not move the story along.

Thank you for reminding me of this important issue one more time.

Anne Higa said...

I definitely agree that the story should always come first. Have a great weekend.
Anne from annehiga.com

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Sounds like you have good CPs! :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You sound pretty daring to me. First person intimidates me and teenagers are always a challenge. I know you'll conquer it.

Diane Burton said...

When you wrote about losing several thousand words due to a technical glitch, I hurt for you. Because you're so close to the story, the ending may not appear exactly what you think it is. Step back for a couple of days and read it with fresh eyes. Sometimes that works. Good luck.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Bravo to you, Nick, for trying a new perspective in protagonists. And all the luck keeping your fiction unique and exciting. Taking risks. All writers take risks when they submit their work for publishing. Hurrah for us! All best to you, sir!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Yeah, it's certainly more difficult to write women, especially in first person. I don't know that I'd try that beyond maybe flash fiction.

Excellent post!