Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Asked and Answered (An IWSG Post)

Hello, everyone!

Happy New Year!

It's the first Wednesday of the month (and the year), which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I am assuming everyone coming to this blog already knows what that means, but if you would like more information or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month's awesome co-hosts are Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

This month's (optional) question asks, "What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?"

I feel a ramble coming on...

Here's the thing. My social anxiety is at such a level that I pretty much live in fear of anyone asking me anything because I always end up feeling like Cletus the Slack-jawed Yokel when I attempt to answer. Only not nearly as eloquent. Then the person who asked the question is probably standing there, looking at me, and wondering if someone who can't speak in complete sentences could possibly have written a book that could possibly be worth reading.

(But I try. I know that jerk Yoda is all, "there is no try," but there is, Yoda, and I'm doing it. Trying, I mean. So there.)

In this regard, every question is my least favorite question. Because if someone takes the time to ask me some writing-related something, then I really do want to be able to answer them, but it's just so damn terrifying and I am so damn awkward.

But there is one question

My Least Favorite Question

"Have you considered breaking up your novel into three shorter novels?"

So, there's a little backstory that goes along with this question. There's an author I know who asks me this every single time we see each other. And every single time he asks me this, I answer as follows:

"Yes, I have considered that. Effigy clocks in at something like 580 pages. Second Nature is considerably longer. So a while back, before they were published, I did consider breaking up each book into three shorter books but found I didn't like it, so I decided to keep it the way it is."

Other authors/readers have asked me this, nodded at my explanation, and we go about our day. But this one author...I don't know. Maybe he forgets that we've talked about this many, many times before. Maybe he doesn't care. Whatever the reason, it wears on me.

(Bottom line: If someone doesn't want to read my books because they're too long, I fully respect that decision. I occasionally decide not to buy a book because I think it's too short. Goes both ways.)

My Favorite Question

"Why do you have to be so mean to your characters?"

This question has come in various forms and is occasionally just accusations of cruelty from my critique partners when they point out the tear stains they left on the page. However it's asked or presented, or however awkward I may be on the outside, this is usually what I'm doing on the inside:



Because if I'm getting that question/reaction, then I'm doing my job.

All right. That's going to be it for me today. I'm on a sort of mini vacation this week, as I have many friends visiting from away and I'm trying (TAKE THAT, YODA!) to pack in as much time as possible with all of them before they leave. Which means I may be slow to respond to comments and visit other blogs, but I will get there eventually.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2019, all!

46 comments:

  1. Wow..580 pages is huge!!! But I'm sure the story demands that length!

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    1. I like to think so, but I suppose I am incredibly biased. :)

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  2. I hear you about any writing-related question. I met a new neighbor the other day, and she was so excited to hear I was a writer. So, of course, I had my usual reaction - I panicked. :)

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    1. Yep. Panicking is my usual reaction, too. So glad I'm not alone!

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  3. You told Yoda!
    Epic fantasy is supposed to be long. Guess that's just not what that dude reads.

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    1. Poor Yoda. I don't know what made me so irritated with him when I wrote this post.

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  4. I agree with Alex, fantasy is supposed to be long. If it isn't, then something is missing.

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    1. That's my thinking, too, but that doesn't mean it can't be done, I suppose.

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  5. Breaking up a long novel and really hurt the flow and overall feel.

    I like being mean to my characters, too. *evil laugh*

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    1. That's why I ultimately decided to keep the books as is. I had a specific plan for the story/characters that I thought just worked better as a trilogy.

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  6. I think we should all be as evil as possible to our characters. It makes the story soooo much more interesting.

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  7. Why do you have to be so mean to your characters? Haha! Because it's more socially acceptable than being mean to real life people?? I mean, because it makes for a better story. Definitely. Way better story. That's the reason.

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    1. "Because it's more socially acceptable than being mean to real life people" <---This. Exactly. I mean...that other thing you said.

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  8. 580 pages is nothing. Every novel in the Expanse series was 600 pages and I read all seven in the month of December.

    So sorry to hear about your social anxiety. I guess that's why you are a writer (or at least in some part).

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    1. All seven in one month? That's impressive! I have the first book in that series sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for someone to read it, but whenever I do get around to picking it up, it'll probably take me an entire month to get through it.

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  9. I'm the same when being asked about my writing. I get super awkward and shy.

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    1. I do. It's terrible. I keep thinking that it'll get easier, but it hasn't worked out that way yet. *shrug*

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  10. You still sound more eloquent than I do. I'm glad you didn't break your books up into shorter pieces. Although if we got parts of it sooner... maybe it wouldn't be so bad :P

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    1. You only think that because you've never seen me speak in a real-life setting. I can edit the every-living daylights out of a blog post. :)

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  11. I really relate to your reaction to writing questions! I also feel that if I knew they (non writers) really wanted to hear my answer, I'd like to answer, but they don't because they don't really understand just what they've asked. Funny, but not many writers ask me "how the writing is going." I guess they DO understand what it means to answer that question! Happy new year!

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    1. I do occasionally have other writers ask me how a specific project is going, and friends always ask because they know that's what I do. But they're also accustomed to me stammering through a nonsense answer. :)

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  12. Well, you know, someone made Tolkien break LotR into three books, and he never liked having done that.
    And, well, no one seems to be complaining about Martin.

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    1. Well, they don't complain about Martin's book length at any rate. The time he takes to write a book, however...

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  13. Lots of readers like me love big books. Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight series is massive books. Each one is nearly a thousand pages so far.

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    1. See, I have yet to write a thousand page novel. Maybe with Book Three...

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  14. Andrew has a point. An extensive tomb makes for 3 readings. It also allows the writer to sigh, take a break, and then soldier on where you left off.

    I am over from Alex's blot site. I like your thinking.

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  15. What is it with people who have to say the same thing over and over again? I think that's what would drive me crazy.

    As for what other people are thinking when you describe your writing: I think most people are more focusing on what they're going to reply that they aren't really listening to you. While most people would resent that, I think you might appreciate it.

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    1. That idea does actually take away some of the pressure. Good thought.

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  16. I'd be annoyed by that particular writing friend, too. You might have to step up your meanness a notch and say, "Just like I say every time we talk about this . . ." Gah! @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. If I step it up a notch, it could be a slippery slope to being entirely too mean. I don't have a lot of range. :)

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  17. Happy 2019 M.J. The best part about indie publishing is that you can make up your own rules, and write novels what ever length you want. I never complain about big booksšŸ˜‰

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    1. I do enjoy that part of indie publishing very much. :)

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  18. You made me laugh about Cletus the yokel, only because I am exactly the same way! I can barely get a sentence out if someone asks me a question. I'm lucky if I can get my name out without stumbling over it.
    Happy New Year to you!!

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    1. I've stumbled over my name before, too. I have to think really hard about who I am—and definitely don't ask me to spell it!

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  19. LOL at Cletus. You recognized me. LOL I can be eloquent on paper yet in person my mouth dries up and I panic, fearful that I'll sound like a babbling idiot. Or that I'll forget a word I want to use and look like a dunce. Oh, well. From the comments, there are a lot of us. Best wishes and have fun writing.

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  20. Tongue-tied could be my middle name when it comes to talking about my writing. Now ask me about other people's work and I can go on all day.

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  21. I don’t care how long the book is as long as it’s good. Interesting that your friend keeps asking you about breaking down your book into three. Every writer I know sticks to their guns when they believe in something. So good for you!

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  22. Book length isn't critical for e-books. Happy 2019, and keep your books the length you like them!

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  23. For a quicker release schedule and having a bigger backlist, I can see the whole breaking up a large novel into smaller novels, but if the story demands to be all in one, then so be it. It's better to have a longer book tell a more complete story than to break it up just because.

    Happy New Year!

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  24. YES! I totally hear you on the breaking-up-the-book question!! Drives me nuts. I fully support you keeping your book the way it is. So there, other author guy.

    Hope you have a fabulous year!

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  25. LOL, being mean to characters is the best! People sometimes tell me to stop, which makes me laugh, since no one has any idea how cruel I'm actually willing to be to mine yet. I fully support you torturing yours! XD

    And gosh, your least favorite question sounds incredibly frustrating, for sure. The opposite happens to me. (I get criticized for being too short.) It's like...padding mine to be longer would hurt the story, the same way chopping a long one up into smaller volumes would ruin the flow. Stories should always be told in the length they need, no matter how long that is. Hope that author gets the hint, eventually!

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  26. If the story is good, it can never be too long! And your story is good. I cackled at your favorite question. Torturing characters is one of the perks of being a writer! Happy 2019!

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