Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: August 2020

It looks like the first Wednesday of the month snuck up on me this time around. I apologize for running late with my post for The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has assembled a great group of co-hosts once again: Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for great writerly advice!

The optional question for this month is: 
Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be." Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

When I set out to write a story, I have a rough idea of what it's going to be. Sometimes I even have a plot worked out. This in no way guarantees things won't change during the writing process. I have many examples of this, but I'll speak specifically about a project I'm working on right now.

My current WIP takes place on a space station near Saturn, so it's pretty clearly science fiction. The story started out as a YA story. Why? I knew I wanted to deal with characters who were finishing school and trying to figure out how to scrape together a living on a space station, where the economic opportunities are somewhat more limited than they would be on earth. That generates a lot of conflict on its own and is an interesting topic to examine. I wrote about 90K of this story, and while I like a lot of it, I knew something about it wasn't working. I thought about it for a while and decided I needed to age my characters up a bit. They needed a little more experience in this economic reality. In the end, I only aged them up a couple of years. It's enough to officially boot the book out of the YA category, at least. My characters are still young and learning the ropes, but they also have a bit of valuable experience informing their decisions. How will this rewrite ultimately go? I'm not far enough into it to know for certain, but I'm hopeful.

It can feel daunting when your story needs to take a different direction than you initially planned, but that's a part of being a writer. Being open to that change is a crucial part of creating the best stories we can.

Do you stick to the genre/form you set out to write in, or do your tales sometimes transform as you write them?


  1. Nice post. I sometimes let my characters take off and the story line evolves. I also change their names, which is tough if you're in the middle of the work in progress, but it's rare to change genres for me.

  2. With that length, it needed to be an adult story. I think aging the characters will work in your favor.

  3. What an interesting post about your process. I usually know the genre I write in, but the details, like the age of my characters, might be fluid until the story is finished.

  4. My basic plot often stays the same in many of the stories I write but elements such as the ending and POV change.

  5. Making the characters adults will deepen the story and give you new opportunities. There are SO many YA stories anyway.

  6. I think you have an interesting process.

  7. I used to stubbornly try to stick to what I'd originally intended in a story, but learned that way doesn't work for me, so it's pantsing all the way and listening to where the story wants to go.

  8. I hope your story shapes up the way you want it. I have trouble with mine doing that and I plot them! Good Luck