IWSG: The Next Plateau

It’s IWSG Wednesday! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is an awesome group of writers who post every first Wednesday of the month to share their ideas, struggles, and insecurities. Check out the group here! Thanks to the co-hosts for December: Heather Gardner, T. Drecker, Eve E. Solar, and Patsy Collins.

Also: pick up The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond e-book wherever  you get your e-books. I have an essay, “Writing Vivid Characters,” in the volume. #shamelessplug

So, this month: I won NaNoWriMo, which left me with a 50,000-word mess of a first draft. Leaving aside the mess, the things I learned about my characters, the list of reading for research–all of them are typical for me after finishing a first draft–I feel like I’m poised on a threshold to a new plateau of writing.

“Show not tell” has always been a bit difficult for me, not being the naturally descriptive type. It’s not quite right to judge a first draft–particularly a NaNo first draft–on its quality, but I did. I’ve been reading a lot of books back-to-back throughout the year and recently, I’ve been reading through Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series–and her vivid writing, of characters, of setting, of evoking the senses in description–has been reinforcing things I’ve read in writing forums and writing books for years.

Except that now, I can see a way to make my writing like that. Maybe. I hope.

28 thoughts on “IWSG: The Next Plateau

  1. Congrats on finishing NaNo!To me, it's a major achievement. I've never NaNo'ed. Maybe it's not for every writer? Though I MAY try it…one day…Good luck sorting out your first draft mess.Happy IWSG day!

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  2. I was going from reading Drum of Autumn to my first chapter to add something in in the last few days of November and seeing the difference–not in style, because obviously, I don't write like Diana Gabaldon, but in seeing how she uses details and sets up scenes and gets into her character's minds. It clicked, finally.

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  3. That is my weakness too. I'm great at action but not so great at the flowery details that really bring things to life. That's what editing is for, I suppose :)The Outlander series is really great for its description.. I haven't picked up the latest book yet. Will likely wait until it's on audiobook and listen to it like I did most of the others..Happy IWSG day!AJ @ Naturally Sweet

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  4. Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo! It's a huge accomplishment. Maybe give your draft a few weeks to settle before you start picking it apart. A little time away will help you see it with new eyes.Diana is awesome. She attends the writing conference I go to, and is so sweet and pleasant. I love that she still makes time to go, no matter how busy she is.

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  5. Well, it's resting at the moment because I'm getting back into research the historical bit and I need to have a good think over the modern day half. Plus, I work retail and holiday season is not the best time to be ripping apart a draft. Oh, that's so great that Diana makes the time to go to your writing conference. She always seems really friendly on her Compuserve forum and Facebook posts.

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  6. First drafts are supposed to be a mess — I found that my NaNo draft is messier than most, but I also know all sorts of things about my characters that I wouldn't have gotten to if I kept to a tighter write… Congrats on NaNo!

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  7. Well, congrats on winning! I always found a bit baffling that \”show don't tell\” thingy. Then I started reading with writers' eyes and voila! The meaning and mechanisms behind the words became clear to me. I still struggle trying to put it to work, but at least recognizing where lies the problem is the first step, right?Best of luck!!

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