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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG October 5, 2016: Getting started

Today is IWSG day. Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the other writers who support each other, make us all smile and think in this monthly hop. No one is mocked or sneered at. All are welcome. We have all been there.

Please be sure to visit our host Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts: Beverly Stowe, Megan MorganViola Fury, Madeline Mora, Angela Wooledridge, and Susan Gourley.

The twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Visit the website and look around: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

This month's question is:  

When do you know your story is ready?

My answer is that it is never ready.  Or, at least I *think* it is never ready.  I was just reading one of my published books, one that I am really happy with, that expressed what I wanted to express and told, I thought, a good story.  The fact that it features two of my absolute favorite characters is an added treat.

I opened the paperback copy I had printed for myself, read a section and thought, "You know, it would work better if I expanded the various contractions and changed a couple words."

I had to put on the brakes, hard, and admit that the story is set.  Too much fiddling makes the story stale.  (This does not mean that I won't fix the odd mistake that I find).  

And now, I am going to reveal what insecurity has me by the throat at the moment:

It has been too long since I published.

...or, come to that, since I wrote anything really new.

The Memphis Cycle

I have a series of books set in New Kingdom Egypt (think Ramesses the Great) with a great many stories that can come off that.  I have my notes: the stories just need to be written.  

The Crocodile Fable

I have a short piece, a fable about a crocodile, that is nearly finished.  I just have to finish it:

The Orphan's Tale #1
The Orphan's Tale #2

I have a series set in 1830's Paris with one completed, another nearly completed and the final one well underway.
I have other stories in varying stages of being outlined...

But I have published nothing in over three years.
Why?  Well, my father died in 2012.  That was a terrible blow. My delightful mother's health took a downward spiral.  She had been caring for my father and now she was dealing with her own issues.  She needed surgery, she needed to be moved to a better place.  And she was far away from her family.

Work issues, travel issues (my mother lives 250 miles away) money issues.  I was, and am, very tired.   But I can feel things moving, stirring.  I have ideas.

...and I received some notes from readers:

I really enjoy your Memphis Cycle stories.  I have all of them in paperback.  I know you have one in the works: is it coming out soon?
I replied, and they replied enthusiastically. It made me smile.  And it started me thinking. 

It could be done.  The fable is about 40,000 words, the cover is finished.  I have some 'shorts' on the Egyptian stories that could be put together.  Something to please those kind people who wrote me and follow me.

I have some vignettes from the Paris story that I could put out.  Something to read.

Ramesses the Great never looked better...
And, things having eased up a little, I can set the Paris story aside for a bit to let the edits sink in.  I could take up some kind friends on their beta-read offers and put the manuscript out for review.

...and I could get to work on the full length novel that fits after the second book of The Memphis cycle.  Heck, I have a cover:

...errrrr....  Maybe I need to work on that...

(You aren't down for the count if you can find something to laugh about, you know...)

Check out the posts on this hop.  Read, comment, enjoy.  I'll be doing the same this evening.


  1. Hi Diana - our parents all go at some stage ... I too lost my mother in 2012, my father had already gone. You've got lots of series and stories ... so I'm glad to read you're mulling and rattling around with ideas - cheers and now time to prepare for publication .. Hilary

  2. Bless you, Hilary, you would certainly know! I'm starting to feel excited again, mulling over my notes.

  3. Considering all you have on your plate, I think you're doing fabulously. With all those stories in the works, once you do have some time to devote, you're going to be knocking them down like ducks in a shooting gallery. I can't imagine how you keep them all straight.

    1. Thanks, Beth - I'm not sure, myself. I have a pile of notebooks The thing is, I used to write with water-soluble fountain pen ink. Reading the notes is a challenge as the ink faded over time. Oh, dear: now I'm laughing...

  4. LOL at the book cover. I know how you feel about the *never* part. You are inspiring me to get off my butt (and out of my bubble) and push seriously to get something published.
    Anne from annehiga.com

    1. Thanks, Anne -
      As long as someone is writing something, it's 'writing'. And some of that is really good. ...I'm debating NaNoWriMo this year. (And frowning at my 'unfinished' list...

  5. I'm so sorry for your loss and your mother's declining health. That cannot be easy. I know that we always say "writers write," but sometimes we writers must take breaks--sometimes long ones. There are peaks and valleys in our lives, and writing is subject to those valleys as is anything else. So I know that you will return to writing when you feel rested. Most important is to take care of your body--mind, body & soul. We writers are awfully hard upon ourselves to constantly work, it seems. I know I have a hard time resting and feel guilty if I don't write for a day. But I think it sounds like you have your priorities right. I do hope things get a bit better for you!

    1. Thanks, Kelsie - good, kind and sensible words. I will concentrate on not feeling guilty. (You have a 'follow' - very nice site!)

  6. Diana, I am so sorry for your loss and watching your mother grieve is also very, very hard. That hole can never be filled. I lost both of my parents suddenly, although years apart. Take time for yourself and be easy, easy on yourself. You cannot rush things. When it is time for you to write again, you will know; your spirit will let you know. In the meantime, you DO have that Kadesh "cover" to look at to know that there is still laughter and joy in the world! <3 Mary

    1. Thanks, Viola! I have to admit, I was grinning widely at that 'cover'. But Daffy Duck is so dapper, he could have been a Pharaoh! "Thuffering Thuccotash!"

  7. I know the feeling of having too many unfinished projects. I'm good at jotting down a story start/idea, then letting anything and everything distract me from any further writing on the project. Horrible. At least you know what needs to be done to jumpstart your writing again. Good luck with choosing which to write on next.

    1. Hi, Dolorah - I'm torn between 'eenie, meenie, miney moe...' Seriously, I'm organized, catching my breath getting ready to go...

  8. I have several projects as well that have languished too long. I thought that as my children got older, more time would be available. Not true!

    Sorry to hear of your father's passing and mother's troubles. When things like that come into your life they must be a priority. Good to hear things are turning toward more favorable conditions for writing.

  9. Losing someone we care about can really knock us for a loop, and it happens to everyone, so don't be hard on yourself. My mother died twenty years ago, and for the longest time, I didn't have it in me to do anything creative. Couldn't write, couldn't paint, couldn't make music. So I studied unemotional technical stuff, learned how to do Morse code, and got my amateur radio licenses. When part of your soul dies, it takes time to recover.

    And you're right about not being down for the count if you can still find something to laugh about. When hospital staff was wheeling me to the operating room for emergency surgery, they all looked so... morose. So in spite of the fact that I felt like crap, I wasn't satisfied until I had them all laughing.

    You've got so many projects in the work, once you get back to them, you're gonna be publishing more frequently than you ever imagined. (What fun!)

  10. So sorry to hear about your loss and your mother's health issues. My parents are in their 80s now, and it's so hard to watch them getting more frail. At least my parents are close by. I can't imagine having to deal with everything from far away.

    It sounds like your muse is beginning to wake up and fill you with new possibilities. I think, with all those projects, you'll be publishing before you know it. And you have eager fans waiting for you. Take that first step and then run with it. Along as you've got your humor, you'll be fine. :)

  11. Losing a parent (or other loved one) is so hard and can have such a huge impact on absolutely everything. Don't beat yourself up over not having published in a while. You should be so proud of the fact that you have published. That's something most people never accomplish. I love that comment from your reader eager for another installment :-)

  12. Hi, Diana, "snap!" I just left a comment on another IWSG post, saying I feel they're never finished, as well. It's like that quote I read once, regarding art, it's never finished, it just stops in interesting places!