IWSG — Resource List of Experts and Links?, the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest Theme!, and the September Question of the Month

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

The awesome co-hosts for this month: C. Lee McKenzie, Rachel Pattinson, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Elsie Amata, and Me!


Resource List of Experts and Links?

Sometimes when I write a scene involving something I’m not really familiar with, I worry that it won’t sound realistic enough, particularly to someone who has been in a similar situation. I try to think of someone I could talk to who might have experience with it, but finding someone like that isn’t always possible. I do research the topic, which helps, but it’s not as good as talking to someone who’s been there.

A few weeks ago I read a blog post on IWSG member Anna Simpson’s (aka Emaginette’s) page where she asked if readers would be willing to share their knowledge with her in whatever field or subject they had a lot of experience or expertise. Her idea was to collect a list of names of people who would answer her questions and serve as a resource so that when she needed real life info about a situation her characters were in, she could contact them for help to make the scene more authentic.

For example, if she had a character who was going to go skydiving, but she had never done the deed herself, she could go to the resource list, find a person who had skydived, and ask them questions about the experience.

Anna’s first commenter was IWSG member Juneta Key, who gave an impressive list of experiences she was willing to help out with, one of which was something I needed some info on. I contacted Juneta, and she steered me in the right direction with a scene I had involving a police scanner. (Thanks again, Juneta!!)

The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a great idea Anna had. Then I wondered — what if the IWSG website had a page like that? I was thinking how incredibly useful it would be to have a resource page on the site with a list of people who were willing to share their knowledge. Or if they didn’t have firsthand knowledge but had researched topics, they could contribute the names of the sites where they found the best information. The page could be arranged by subject — sort of a one-stop-shop for research.

Would it work? What do you think?



Announcing the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest!

Last year’s contest was science fiction — parallel world/alternate history, and the result was Parallels: Felix Was Here. This year, we have a new theme and invite all members to submit.

 Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is encouraged to enter — blogging or Facebook member. The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free.

 Word count: 5000-6000

Genre: Fantasy

Theme: Hero Lost. It could be about a hero turned villain, a villain’s redemption, a hero’s lack of confidence, a hero’s lack of smarts, etc. It can be about any kind of hero including superheroes, mythological heroes, unexpected or unlikely heroes, or a whole new kind of hero. This theme has plenty of scope and we’re open to pretty much anything along these lines. No erotica, R-rated language, or graphic violence.

 Deadline: November 1st, 2016

How to enter: Send your polished, formatted, previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your contact details and if you are part of the Blogging or Facebook IWSG group.

 Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.

Prizes: The winning stories will be edited and published by Freedom Fox Press next year in the IWSG anthology. Authors will receive royalties on books sold, both print and eBook. The top story will have the honor of giving the anthology its title.

We’re excited to see the creativity and enthusiasm that’s such a part of this group put into action. So don your creative caps and start writing. And spread the word!

Our amazing judges this year:

Elizabeth S. Craig

Richard Harland

Laura Maisano

Russell C. Connor

Dawn Frederick

Michelle L. Johnson

Ion Newcombe

Lynn Tincher


And now for the September IWSG question:

How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

Well, half the time I don’t, which is tremendously frustrating. But I do my best to carve out small blocks of time here and there. The hardest part for me is to ignore all the other things clamoring to be done and not feel guilty that I’m not doing them. I’m perpetually behind on household chores and yardwork, but you know, in the grand scheme of things, dust bunnies and overgrown yards are not all that important. I have stories to tell, and I need to get them out. The other things can wait their turn. I’m writing!







© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

109 thoughts on “IWSG — Resource List of Experts and Links?, the 2016 IWSG Anthology Contest Theme!, and the September Question of the Month

  1. Lori, what a fantastic idea!!!! We all need expert help at one point or another.

    This past summer I’ve had a set goal for writing and so far its working which is unusual for me. Like I read on Stephanie Faris’s page a little adds up.

    Thanks for co-hosting!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Lori,
    To be honest, I am always behind in my housework. I do it when I can. So long as my kitchen and bathrooms are cleaned, I don’t bend out of shape. My writing time comes first. It took me a little while because I had to slay the giant called feeling guilty but I am glad I did. The last seven years have been beautiful. And thank you for being one of our co-hosts today.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allow dust bunnies to multiply…gasp! In the scheme of things, I’d rather read and write than scoop up dust bunnies. We’re on the same page, excuse the pun. I hope a real-life data expert list is developed. You guys are on to something great. Thanks for ignoring the weeds and co-hoisting Sept. IWSG. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was part of a writing group with expert resources. Can’t remember the platform, but it was such a cool idea…that eventually floundered. Still, I’d be willing to try it again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh I’d love that. I have a story idea about racing and I’m clueless about it as a sport, getting into that career and cars. It’d be great to have a resource like that where I can contact someone whose knowledgeable about it.
    I’m the same all behind housework but still dust mites are the least of my concern as getting the story written. Writing is a different kind of labor that requires a lot of our mental energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great thoughts Lori. I like the idea of having a list of experts. One thing I always struggle
    With is locations too, but I try to save my finds and travel to the places I want to write about. The theme this year sounds really great!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I like your attitude. Yes, the housecleaning and yard work can wait. Unless your parents are coming to visit. Then it’s time to bite the bullet and face the clutter mountains junking up the house.

    I love the idea of a resource page. And I’d be willing to put my name up for anyone who wants to know about working in a movie theater, a zoo, getting a Ph.D. in mathematics, or being a math professor. (I know, my life path is a little disjoint.)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Lori! Thank you for co-hosting this month! What a wonderful idea!! There are so many interesting people out there who could provide a wealth of knowledge for the group. We all know something about something, even if we don’t consider ourselves experts there’s always something people come to us about. As for making time to write, I’m learning to let the writing flow from unplanned ideas. I used to think I was a planner, always having to have things written out and “outlined” before I could do any real writing. After taking a break this summer I had a story come and smack me in the face. It was unexpected and unwanted but I went with it. I have ideas of where it’s leading but nothing concrete and I’ve never written so fluidly before. Guess I’m a panster after all! Cheers 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Lori, the resource list is an excellent idea! I love listening to the Moth podcast because it gives me a real person perspective on a whole range of different experiences. Having different people who give their accounts on an experience will help us as writers to write an in-depth character. I look forward to watching this develop 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That’s a super cool idea! You should definitely do it. I’d definitely sign up for somethings I know about, like Egypt and music/singing. And my next WIP’s heroine is a Forensic Artist (puts clay on skulls to flesh out the face and help with identification). I’m seeing a big research job down the road…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’ve found that people are usually more than happy to answer questions about what they know. Once I called a library in a town far from me to research info about the town where they were and they hooked me up with a historian who provided me with some excellent information that I was not able to find elsewhere. I got the information that I was looking for and heard some pretty cool stories as well.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think that’s a fantastic idea!
    I love the theme for the anthology contest, I can’t wait to start planning my entry.
    I think that’s the trick to getting writing done when you’re busy; you need to prioritise it! Of course, sometimes this isn’t possible, but it can be done sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I definitely think a link repository (depository?) would be great. The Absolute Write forums sort of function like that. The links could be stored as a File in the Facebook group where anyone can edit or add to it, or likely the IWSG website has a function that could work similarly. Not that I am a moderator, but just throwing out ideas I’ve used in my own management of groups!

    Here’s my September IWSG post – my secret tool for finding writing time

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My dust bunnies and yours could get together and have tea! 🙂
    I love your idea of a resource list! It would be awesome to have a knowledge repository like that. We are all subject matter experts of one kind or another, even if we don’t realize it.
    Have a wonderful September, Lori! Happy writing and life!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A reference page of life experiences and researched topics would be great! I would definitely be a frequent visitor to a site like that. It would be so much more helpful than browsing the Internet for information.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Like everyone else, I love your idea of a resource page of experts on the IWSG website. Yes, let’s do it. I can contribute to it too. There is at least one area of knowledge where I’m definitely an expert. Maybe more than one, but I’m being modest. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Awesome idea. No, seriously. We totally need to have a resource page. And you’re right, the dust bunnies and errands can wait their turn. You have to decide how you want to spend your time.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’ve found Facebook is pretty awesome for that too. I once asked my facebook peeps if you can call a prisoner whenever you wanted and got an amazing amount of info. They all used my inbox so people didn’t see they’d spent time in the pokey, but still they shared the info!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Love the idea for the resource list. I’m not sure what expertise I can offer, but will happily share any I might have!

    I’m also psyched about the anthology contest–right up my alley!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love your idea for a list of resources about experiences. I wonder what I could contribute to it? I’ll have to think about that.
    Also, I’m with you. I may not be writing as I’d like, but at least I’m writing. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think that is a fantastic idea to have an “expert list”! I would definitely contribute and use it as well!

    I’m super excited about the IWSG contest and am planning to submit something!

    I have the same problems with finding time to write, but hopefully this year, I’ve figured out a solution!

    Liked by 1 person

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