Monday, June 17, 2024

Under appreciated novels, an open book blog hop post


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

What's your favorite under appreciated novel? 

Oh my, that's a tough one. I mean, when I LOVE a book, it's strange to me to realize that other people haven't even heard of it, but that's often how it goes. There are SO MANY books, and even among friends who read as much as I do and more, we only have some crossover. 

Under appreciated is also hard to gauge. It's not like I'm checking their Rotten Tomatoes rating or something, right? 

Still, a novel did come to mind when I read the question: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. 

It's not as obscure as other novels I could have chosen, but anytime I bring up Shirley Jackson, people say, "Oh yeah. She wrote The Lottery, right?" or maybe, "Is that the Haunting of Hill House lady?" Both of those are true, and both of those works are also genius (though I think Castle is better). It's this one that wanders the backrooms of my mind, and pops out to jump scare me from time to time. 

Like a lot of Shirley Jackson, there's not anything supernatural going on. Her horror is only rarely about ghost or monsters. Mostly, it's in what people do to one another. Some call her more specific genre "domestic horror" and I think that fits well. Other than Hill House, her stories mostly take place in mundane settings:  small towns, gardens, post offices, grocery stores, homes. 

What I love about Castle is Merricat, the main character and somewhat unreliable narrator. She's intense and scary in that way that very young people can be, and as the fuller history is revealed her complicated relationship with her sister Constance becomes fascinating. 

So, that's my pick for today. How about you? Do you have a favorite novel that no one else seems to love the same way you do? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

What should IWSG do next?


Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking. If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG. The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Liza at Middle Passages, Shannon Lawrence, Melissa Maygrove, and Olga Godim!

June 5 question - In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to members?

Once a month affirmations and celebration and engagement through the blog hop is quite a gift already, honestly. The time our monthly volunteer moderators put into helping ensure that everyone sees engagement and that the tone is positive and kind is not to be discounted!

The anthologies have also been great for encouraging writers to finish things and given quite a few among our number some publication credits. 

I know there are also other things that happen that I haven't found the time to participate in very deeply, like book clubs and social conversation opportunities in the Facebook group. There really is already a lot going on this group, and the more you invest yourself and your time, the more you can get out of it. 

Since I can't spare volunteer hours at this stage of my life to make anything happen (I'm already spread too thin), I feel odd making suggestions, but since y'all asked, here are a few things to consider:  

  • In-person gatherings, regionally, like networking socials or write-in meetings
  • Zoom versions of the same
  • Classes and webinars members can take to learn about writing craft and the publishing business more formally
  • Group readings at conventions
  • Development of a directory of members, which can be used to connect with other writers who live near you or write in similar genres 
  • Development of a podcast or program where writing topics can be discussed in a panel format

Clearly, all of these take time and energy though, and I know how difficult it can be to keep a writing life going alongside the "ordinary" demands of day jobs, families, households, and caregiving, so I truly appreciate the work that already happens in this organization.  

Even though I'm now stuffing a full time writing life into part-time hours and time is at a premium, I'll keep finding time for First Wednesdays because the camaraderie has meant so much over the years. Thanks, IWSG! 

Monday, June 3, 2024

Bad writing advice, an Open Book blog hop post


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

What's the worst piece of writing advice you've ever received? 

I can't honestly think of one single piece of advice that stands out as "the worst." Most of what has been sent my way has been well-intentioned. 

But anything that is entirely prescriptive and acts like there's one right way to write? Yeah, that's when I stop listening. 

image source

I LOVE to talk writing and publishing with other writers and learn about the tools and techniques they use. I've tried a lot of things because I read about them in blog posts, or heard about them in writing groups. 

Some have worked for me (like keeping a daily writing chain). 

Others have not (like outlining). 

What's really important though is the acknowledgement that creative process is highly personal and individual. There's no single right way to do it; no silver bullet that will guarantee fame, fortune, and success; no magic words that will suddenly make it easy. Anyone who tells you there is? 

Well, keep an eye on your wallet!

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