Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

IWSG April 7: On Risks and Challenges . . .


 Today is the first Wednesday of April, and it's time to check in with the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This online community of writers 'meets' via a blog hop, so join in to support other writers and to share your thoughts/reactions in response to this month's question.

April 7 IWSG Question: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work? Please read on!

Doubts and fears since last month? No one is surprised that the pandemic has affected our writing habits and commitment. Somehow 'normal' challenges that can occur have seemed magnified through March. Usually, I write every day. Not last month. April also marks National Poetry Month, the one time a year I do attempt to write a poem a day. Again, not this year. 

For National Novel Writing Month (November), commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo, has issued a challenge and an invitation to Camp NaNoWriMo. For the month of April, participants set their own goals (writing and/or revising), and measure progress daily. And, I'm in. Happily in. My goal's set for a minimum of 500 words a day for a total of 15,000 for the month on my current project, Island Wife. Seven days in, and I've made/surpassed that goal of 500 words every day so far. 

Before, when the writing slowed down, I stopped.

Now, instead of stopping, I'm blocking out scenes and writing. When I slow down, I use scaffolding (a simple list rather than formal outlining) to map out the scene. This just might be a new skill I needed to learn. I hope my experience will help you!

Which brings us back to the question: What risks do I take when writing? Simply put, I'm pretty concerned with the story, somehow stuck in 1840's Scotland for this project. My characters are working class, so they have plenty of problems. My focus is on bringing my characters, their struggles, their emotions, and their setting to life. So, I don't feel like much of a risk-taker (other than being a writer, ho ho). 

Maybe the risk is in telling the story entwined with two points of view -- Moira and Dylan, separated at the beginning and perhaps reunited by the end of the story. Like following a braid, the reader travels deeper into each character's journey -- at least, that is my intention.

The question of taking risks is an interesting one that I hope to return to when I resume work on my art crime mystery series set in contemporary times (Egypt and Paris). For now, I'm making notes and hope to learn from what others have written for IWSG this month!  

Stop by to thank the co-hosts for IWSG's April 7 posting: PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!  As Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh, our fearless leader says, "Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!"

PS: Draft covers for Island Wife. Not sure which one . . . yet!


12 comments:

  1. Hi, Beth! Writing is certainly a risk! I'll take a risk and tell you I like the left cover for "Island Wife." Not seeing the woman's face adds mystery, and water seems appropriate. I'm doing the NaNoWriMo challenge too. Why didn't I set 500 words per day? I set my goal at 1000 wpd, and I've reached nowhere near that with traveling to Vegas. Oh well, most of the month is ahead of me. Wishing you well with reaching your goal!

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    1. Thank you for letting me know which cover you liked and telling me why! And it's great to meet another Camp NaNo writer. My typical output is about 300 words, so 500 words/day is a stretch for me. Something about a challenge motivates me. Have a great writing month! (Can you change your daily goal?)

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  2. I'm also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I like that we can set our own goals during this challenge. I'm aiming for 833 words per day. So far I've been able to hit it. So glad to hear you're doing so well with the challenge!

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    1. Wow, another Camp NaNo writer! Happy to see your goals and to know you're keeping up with your target. Do you have secondary goals for this month? Any tips on making 833 words/day??? May all your words come easily.

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  3. I like your goal of 500 words a day because it's a realistic goal that isn't so hard to reach. And I agree with your tip to outline or do other writing tasks when you get stuck.

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    1. Let's hear another vote for realistic goals! Thank you. Each day I make my goal makes the next day a little easier. May your own writing go well this month.

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  4. I like the first image for Island Wife because the face is not shown, which adds an element of mystery.

    Your art crime mystery series sounds intriguing; especially since it's set in Egypt and Paris - two great locations!
    Good luck with Camp NaNoWriMo.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle, for your good wishes and for voting for that first cover. I worry the image of the woman looks a little submissive, which is not Moira's style. Mysterious sounds much better. And, since we can't actually travel to Paris or Cairo just now, why not write about those amazing settings. Have a great month.

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  5. I like the first Island Wife book cover too, Beth. Keeping the face hidden does add intrigue to the novel. All the luck with your art crime mystery series. The settings are rife with energy. Have fun with Camp NaNoWriMo. All best to you!

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  6. Setting word goal is a great idea. I try to do the same, though working full-time as a teacher tends to get in the way. I am going to throw a spanner in the mix and vote for the cover in the middle. The blue adds vibrancy to the character.
    Good luck with your writing!

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  7. The blue cover is mysterious. The hidden face and darkening skies even more so. It's great you're not stopping the writing. I can't focus...yet. Soon, I hope.

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  8. Yes, writing is a risk! Anything that puts your work (and yourself) out into the world is. I’m glad you managed to participate in this month’s writing challenge and that you’re sticking with it. Your post made me realize that I don’t know anyone this month who is doing the A-Z Blogging challenge... This indicates that many a blogger and author is having a Covid-related burnout.

    I like all three covers, but here are my thoughts: to fit with your other ones in this series, I would use a cover in which the woman faces the reader. I really like the middle one - the blue one - but it might clash with your other ones because of the color. So, maybe a mix of the middle and the right one? Happy writing, Beth!

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