Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG - April 2015

Usually I approach IWSG day (see below if you aren't familiar with what that is) with an attitude of focusing on what I am NOT insecure about. Today is a little different.

I edited my manuscript that I've been working on forever on the advice of a professor. I took out some quirks that made the characters sound like real people. Now I can't hear the first person voice of one of my characters in my head. Or maybe it has nothing to do with the revisions, and I've just lost her voice (which is terrifying).

I have come to the conclusion that my masters (is that hyphenated? - oh, whatever, I'm late to the party and will leave it as is - correct it in your minds if I'm wrong) degree program isn't meeting my needs. And they've changed the program in a way that makes it less competitive - less likely to help students get into MFA and PhD programs. I know it's a little nutty to be thinking about getting a PhD at my age - mid-late forties, not that old - but I like being challenged, and it would be fun to make my ex-husband call me Dr. Reynolds. It's all for him, really.  But I need to abort the program. It's time. I think I will find another, but will give it a year.

On the up side, I got into a competitive writer's conference this summer - one just for novels. Very exciting! And my critique partner got in too. I think the conference will help us both with our own work and will also help us help each other even better than we do now.

What's your insecurity?

BTW, I need to finish my posts for the Techniques in Appalachian fiction class. I am going to write several today and will post them over the next two weeks.

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, brought to you by Alex J Cavanaugh and a troupe of minions who are helping him because there are so many of us.


  1. I'm sorry you might have to give up on the program.
    Do what you need to in finding that character's voice again. Your story is more important.
    And yes, I need help because there are SO many of us!

  2. Hi Tonja! I'm sorry to hear that your program isn't working out for you, but I'm glad that you've caught that and are planning to make a change. Have fun at that competitive writing conference this summer. Sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun and very rewarding! :)

  3. Oh, that's fabulous news about the summer conference. I think you'll really enjoy that.

  4. Your comment about doing it for your ex husband made me LOL. Good luck with your search! I don't blame you for being insecure about such a big step. It's a lot of money and time and you need to be sure before making such a huge commitment.

  5. If I'm insecure, it's over how slow I writer novels. Glad to see you're still plugging along.

  6. It sounds like a good decision to leave the program and congrats on the summer conference! I hate it when I discover after revisions that my manuscript doesn't quite have the life it did at first. Voice is so important. Did you keep the previous version? Perhaps there's a way to salvage the voice it did have.
    Good luck with everything!

  7. So nice to "see you" and know you are still writing. Me too, with lots going on.
    I'd go back to your original. Losing your MC's voice is tragic.
    Happy writing:)

  8. The summer conference sounds amazing! I hope you're able to get what you want out of it and best wishes to you on revising. Maybe stepping away for a while will help you get that voice back.

  9. If your professor suggested you take out something -- and taking it out obliterated your character's voice -- then the professor was wrong. I'll quote Neil Gaiman here: “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”

    Your professor might have been aware of a problem in your manuscript, but given you the wrong solution for fixing it. If you can figure out what the problem was and tackle it in a different way, then you can restore your character's voice to the way it was.