If it’s your first day back, Happy New Year.  Welcome to the January edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group post.  You can sign up or visit other insecure writers here…  What we do is write about our troubles, or successes, or discoveries, or blocks, and hopefully get support from others in the same mess situation.

We get a hint for months when we are so blocked we can’t think of anything to write about even in a blog post.  This is particularly useful in the post-Christmas days of ‘Writing? Yes I’m supposed to be doing that. Maybe next week.’

I’m in that interim stage of hoping my editor will make good on her promise to finish correcting and commenting on my Willoughby the Narrator by the end of 2016, and wondering how long I should wait before nagging her.  I’ve been meaning to get down to rewriting the first half of The Perihelix, in accordance with my feedback on that.  This is third stage feedback, on the rewritten version.  It still sucks, and it isn’t just the first chapter that’s at fault, according to the new editor, it’s the first half.  The second half is quite good.

What I don’t know is where the second half starts.

I wish I didn’t know that it’s okay in parts.

I wish some of my beta readers didn’t love it anyway.

I wish I didn’t know, deep down, that this has always been a problem for me, and that I’m really not a writer at all.

But then… I don’t seem to have this problem with the Princelings books, and that took me off on a thought process of ‘why not?’ which left me with a nagging doubt that maybe they’re just as bad and nobody’s wanted to tell me.  Well, that’s not true.  I have lots of independent reviews which suggest they’re at least okay if not better than that.  Readable and enjoyable, in fact.

Actually, I know what the problem with the first part of the Perihelix is.  I cheated.  Or, if you prefer, I was lazy. I put in some short stories I had already written about these characters and used them as a kicking-off point for the adventure.  I didn’t really craft the reason for the adventure at all.  So I DO know how to fix this.  And what’s more I DO know about a smart technique Jennifer Ellis mentioned, about having each scene change the situation from good to bad, or from bad to good.  It’s to create tension and flow.

And I DO know I’m lazy.  I can think of lots of little incidents in my life when I did the lazy thing hoping it would be good enough, and most of them weren’t.

And while I’m wishing I wasn’t lazy, I wish I didn’t know I have to stop putting two spaces at the end of my sentences like I was taught to. I know the new style is to stick to one, even in the UK.

I just wish my thumb knew that, because it is perfectly trained to follow a full-stop with two spaces.

I really wish I didn’t know that.  Because now I have to fix it.

Happy New Year!

#IWSG – Things I wish I didn’t know
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15 thoughts on “#IWSG – Things I wish I didn’t know

  • 4 January, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Is the two spaces something you learned if you learned to type on a typewriter? Because I never did and I’ve never done two spaces. First thing I do when my mum gives me a piece for her blog is CTRL H to find all the double spaces and take them out!

    • 5 January, 2017 at 4:13 am

      Yup. All us old folks learned on a typewriter, and we were taught to use 2 spaces–otherwise it was hard to read. I’ve *almost* managed to re-teach myself.

      • 5 January, 2017 at 8:46 am

        I’m pretty much old folks as well – I just seemed to avoid the typewriting stage!

        • 5 January, 2017 at 3:10 pm

          Yes, I learnt on a typewriter – at one of those old Touch-type in Two Weeks evening classes they did in London. I was working at the National Westminster bank in St John’s Wood High Street that summer!

          • 5 January, 2017 at 3:24 pm

            It was included in “Commerce” at school and I never went to those classes. Wish I had really, I’m really slow and clumsy on the keyboard.

  • 4 January, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Hi Jemima – I will have the same problem with one space – and the American conventions when the day comes for publication … guess I’ll just have to adhere. Good luck with sorting things out – but the main thing is get the new work out there … just have a fun 2017 authorly year … cheers Hilary

    • 5 January, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      My new British editor tells me the standard is now one space for us, too. I’m not sure about the double inverted commas or single yet, but I dare say I’ll find out when I do it wrong!

  • 4 January, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Happy New Year, Jemima!
    There are a lots of things that I wish I didn’t know too. Sometimes, I wish I could hide my head in a book and only read, but that doesn’t help my situation. So I fully understand.
    Wishing you an awesome 2017.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    • 5 January, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks, Pat. I seem to be avoiding these issues by hiding my head in a book, too!

  • 4 January, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    I suppose I’m supposed to tell you you’re not lazy and to not say that, but I’d like to point out that lazy people can be incredibly smart and ingenious in figuring out how to make things easier, so…. take what you will of my comment.

    • 5 January, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      LOL! Thank you! Mind you, compared with your hard work, I am definitely lazy!

  • 5 January, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Lazy or not you are willing to fix the problem which shows responsibility and growth. Hi, I’m the co-host checking in on your blog today.

    2017 IWSG January Co-Host

    • 5 January, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks, Sheena, for those kind words and for checking in on my blog today. What would we do without our wonderful co-hosts? 🙂

  • 5 January, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Oh, boy. Once again I think you’re channeling me. I’ve just started the first stage of revision of a very very very rough MS, i.e., re-reading it. At this stage it just looks like sooooo much work. Maybe I should dump it. Maybe I should start over. Maybe I should go hiking (no, scratch that. It’s January and precipitating. Hiking isn’t much fun cold and wet).

    I agree about the use of the short stories leading to problems. I noticed that as I was drafting the Book of Gorg (he really needs a title!), and tried to move away from using those stories too closely.

    Of course, you *are* a writer, and don’t let those little voices tell you anything different.

    • 5 January, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks! So are you. The Book of Gorg sounds good – much better than the Book of Mammon, for example!

      I have managed to spend the entire day figuring out a) how to get into my defunct website which refuses to recognise my admin name and password as stored on my old computer b) discovering I can get into it from my hosting cpanel (yay!) c) fixing the site so it reflects all my published writing and d) saving some of it from the great computer in the sky as the people I worked with, whose website it was still on, seem to be about to crash.

      I don’t know why I want to look back on this out of date research. Maybe its because I know it will come around again and also to prove to myself that I did good stuff once upon a time.

      And no, I’m not telling you the web address! It’s why I write fiction under a pen-name! (ooops, is that a cat disappearing away from the bag…?)

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