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.
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
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:
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.
Goodness yes, sign me up for that list! It could also include locations, people who have been to places and could give people information about them, the sights, sounds, customs, things you might not get if you haven’t been there that make the story seem more authentic…. I love descriptions in stories that include all the senses. Just a thought as when I research settings that I haven’t been to and can’t actually visit due to time or money constraints I often research travel journals online and read what people say about their experiences and look at their pictures….then ask questions of natives.
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Including locations would be great! Thanks for visiting!
I think the idea of a resource list is brilliant, Lori! Yes, I saw that post by Anna and was impressed. Also, thank you for letting us know about the anthology. I’ll have to see what I can come up with because the theme is right in my genre! Yay!!
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Anna’s post was inspirational. Glad you’re entering the anthology! It’s my genre, too.
Sharing experiences as a resource is a fantastic idea! You can’t get more authentic than that unless you experience it yourself;-) Having a handy list would alleviate the need for a ‘Calling all geologist-turned-hypnotist ‘ bulletin. Nice to meet you, Lori!
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I think it would be so helpful. Nice to meet you, too!
I actually think that’s an awesome idea! And I know how you feel about the guilt. So little time to do everything!!
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So little time is right, and way too many things to do. Thanks for stopping by!