Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Doppelgangers

Today is the first Insecure Writer's Support Group event of 2018. Happy New Year. For those visiting here for the first time, IWSG Day is a monthly event where authors in the blogosphere can share about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives...or in my case sometimes, just general thoughts on various subjects.

Recently, I came across an entertaining article on my news feed showing people photographed near their "doppelganger" in a museum painting. Certainly, at first glance, most of the images appear to show that the person's face has been duplicated in the painting beside them. Peering closer, I might spot subtle differences between the person and the subject in the painting. Perhaps the shape of the person's face is slightly wider than the one in the art, for example. Still, these people feel connected enough to the image in front of them to be photographed with it as if to announce "I found me!"

For many readers, that can be the appeal of reading a book (or watching a movie, TV show, etc...) where there's a character they can somewhat relate to, even if they're not exactly the same.

From a writer's perspective, when I come across a story another author had written with elements that mirror my own story, I can respond internally in two ways. One, I might think, Someone else gets it! Yay! Or two, I get insecure. Now people would think I'm biting off this work if and when mine gets published. Or my work might not even get published because industry folk would point to that other story and say, there's already a story like that on the market.

And still, I continue to write on.

Have you ever come across art that made you go, "That's me!" How do you feel when you come across another writer's work that's similar to what you're working on?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG: End of Year Thoughts

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day, a monthly event where authors in the blogosphere can share about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. Today's IWSG question is: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

This is a timely question because I was just thinking about a regret I have and it’s regarding this blog. I realize it has been a long time since I’ve done an author interview here. I want to start featuring authors again. I’d like to reach out to illustrators too. That will be a New Year resolution of mine for 2018, among many others. 

What resolutions do you have for 2018?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG: A Sign from the Universe

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day, a monthly event where authors in the blogosphere can share about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. First, how was your Halloween? The good number of trick-or-treaters who came by my house as unicorns, Rubik's Cubes, and Ghost Buster characters tells me that the '80s are making a comeback. 

Today's IWSG question is: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?  I "won" NaNoWriMo awhile back and am still working on the manuscript- it's my YA food novel KISS MY BUTTER. Earlier this year, I had to put the project aside although I still worked on it inside my head. As I was preparing to immerse myself back into the writing and re-read the working draft, I worried the break I'd taken would make me rusty. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. Reviewing my manuscript, I can better see the story's strengths and weaknesses now.  

What's funny was that the night after I picked up my manuscript again, an author friend I hadn't corresponded with for a really long time emailed me out of the blue that following morning.  She wanted to know if I was still working on my novel. She even remembered my book title. I took this as a sign from the universe that I should continue to push forward on this book project....even though it has been quite awhile since I started it. 

What do you think of when you think of the '80s? Are you doing NaNoWriMo this month? Have you ever received a sign from the universe?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Overfilled Cabinets

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day, a monthly event where authors in the blogosphere can share about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. I'm posting late Wednesday evening. First, I want to check in with my readers. How have you been feeling? I'm feeling overwhelmed and sad about troubling current events, with the most recent being the horrific and tragic incident in Las Vegas last weekend. My deepest sympathies go out to any of you who have been affected by any of these events in the past month.  

Today I don't have a writing insecurity. I just want to share some thoughts about cleaning out an overfilled cabinet. A few years ago, I subscribed to several magazines at a time. Sometime after the first three months of getting these magazines, I realized I didn't have time to read everything. I could've cancelled the subscriptions but never got around to doing it. So I kept the magazines stored away in a cabinet. Being environmentally conscious, the idea of just throwing the magazines away made me feel bad. (Think about all the trees that were cut down to produce these glossies!) But for the longest time, whenever I opened this cabinet, the magazines would start spilling out. Recently, I finally took a couple of hours to clean out the cabinet by dumping most of those magazines into the recycling bin. (Sorry, trees!) 

The cabinet is much neater now.  But it still fills up rather easily, as magazines can easily be replaced by other stuff.  I have to continue making the effort to clean out that space. 

Treating an overfilled cabinet can be an analogy for other things in our lives. 

What was your experience cleaning out an overfilled space? What magazines do you subscribe to or have subscribed to?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

No Good Deed...

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day, a monthly event where authors in the blogosphere can share about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. Today's IWSG question is:  Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? I don’t know if this counts but once I wrote a short story about the supernatural and later found myself frightened by some of the ideas I created in my own work. 

Today I don't have an insecurity. I just want to speak in vague generalities about some stuff I've been thinking about: Back in the winter, I did a small favor for someone. It was a favor I didn't have to do, and refraining from this favor wouldn't have been a breach of ethics in any way. Someone I know needed guidance and I helped out. Since then, the ripple effects of my favor have sometimes been a source of stress for me.  

My experience makes me think of the saying: "No good deed goes unpunished." Come to think of it, I can think of a bunch of other instances in my life that this quote supports.

That said, I still believe in helping others (but while being mindful of my personal boundaries and natural instincts.) 

Being a writer and a reader, I have been reflecting on how much of the fiction I've seen tend to show positive reinforcement for kind deeds. While I've also come across fiction where negative consequences punish a good doer, I'd say I spot this less frequently. But with the latter kind of story, the potential for character development could be quite interesting. After all, what is the motivation for one to continue doing the right thing if they have suffered for doing just that? A story that addresses this question could be more enticing to explore than a story about a character who consistently gets a pat on the head for doing the right thing.

Have you ever been "punished" for doing a good deed? Can you name stories that illustrate negative consequences from good deeds?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: Unwelcome Spoilers

It's Insecure Writers Support Group day, a monthly event where participating writers can share insecurities and other details about stuff going on in their lives. Today's IWSG question is: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

There is a pet peeve that has come up before while I'm reading a story or being exposed to any medium of storytelling (e.g. movies, film). I get annoyed when I have been introduced to a new story that interests me or when I'm moving deep into a story and I learn a major spoiler or the ending. That's why when I'm watching a TV show that has already been out for a few seasons, I try to avoid reading any articles about the show. I also try to avoid viewing reviews of a book while I'm reading the book. Sometimes I still encounter spoilers though.

If I'm already hooked on the story, I can continue on with it, even though I know what's coming ahead. Good writing can keep me around.

I hope that if my WIP ever get published and somehow my story's spoilers reach readers, they will find a reason to stick around too.

Do you continue reading or watching a story after you know how it will end?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: Tuning a Piano

It's IWSG day, a monthly event author Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. Today's IWSG question is: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing? I've learned not to compare my journey to other people's journey. I find that some who might appear to be ahead can have the same doubts and insecurities as I do.

Last month, I played a song on my piano after a long piano playing break and I cringed at how creaky and distant the notes sounded. So I hired a piano tuner to come over. I’d actually never gotten around to having the piano tuned before. When the piano tuner was finished working on my piano, I was amazed at how clear and clean the notes sounded. While the piano tuner worked on my piano, I was worried that I would be told that my lack of attention to tuning the piano all this time had permanently damaged the instrument in some way. But all it took was an attentive tuning to return the piano back to shape.

I wonder if the concept of tuning a piano applies to the various interests we have, such as writing. Sometimes I feel quite rusty returning to a writing project after a writing break. I’m sure my words come out creaky and distant sounding, like an untuned piano. As much as I wish I could hire a “tuner” to refine my fiction writing muscle when I’m returning from a break, I know I need to get back on track on my own. But I welcome tips on how to get there.