Today is IWSG Day. IWSG stand for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! You can follow other IWSG members here or on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a Facebook page.
Today’s IWSG question is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?
I loved writing in high school and like most teens, had a notebook full of poems, but I became serious during the days of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying. I remember reading a review that labeled her book confessional. My writing became confessional too. Easier to exaggerate what I knew than to create characters and a plot I didn’t know.
I wrote a short story for Redbook’s annual fiction contest and received a wonderful, personal letter from the editor, but ultimately a rejection. Later, another letter came asking for another read, but once again it was rejected. At that point in my writing I didn’t understand that I should give each character motivation.
In a college independent studies class, I wrote a novel based loosely (very loosely) on my wild, impulsive life. I never tried to market it to a publisher. My character had motivation, but she didn’t have introspection, or maybe it’s called Deep POV these days.
Both the short story and the novel are packed away. This post makes me wonder if I should destroy them.
The first thing I published was a prayer in True Story magazine. It was called Prayer from a Divorced Woman and I was paid $25.00. No byline—just my initials. It didn’t matter. That was enough encouragement to last me a lifetime.
I’ve been writing for newspapers and magazines off and on for 40+ years. Fiction will always be my first love but it’s a challenge. There are rules I break that are totally unacceptable. Rules I know nothing about. Rules I plain don’t like. Crazy rules I don’t understand. There are So. Many. Rules.
I’ve answered the IWSG question, now answer one for me:
What makes good writing?
Some readers throw a book across the room if the author tells more than s/he shows. The word said is a thing of the past because attributions are interruptions and telling. Set the scene and POV at the beginning of each chapter because your reader might get lost. Learn how to write deep POV. If you don’t understand deep POV, here’s an excellent blog post explaining exactly what it is. Join me in my frustration.
Think about my question and the best of the best books you’ve read lately then tell me what makes writing good? Following the rules or following the heart rhythm of your story?