#IWSG March 2017: “Ever reworked an old story?” & outrageous expectations

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

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Yes and no. I recently re-wrote a short story that was derived from a blog writing prompt and turned it into a novella (see “We Are Jardin”). I’ve also developed recent stories from ideas I wrote down years ago. I think it’s worked out pretty well. I don’t, however, think I’ve given new life to anything I’d written more than five years ago. Maybe I should give some of my old stuff a once over to see if there’s something special there.

As for my insecurities, outrageous expectations. I do it to myself, but I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change it. It’s part of who I am. I want things for myself that just may never be possible. So, I’ve decided to attempt the unlikely even if I look stupid, which won’t be too far off from the fact that I already feel a little stupid. In spite of that, I’m proud of myself for trying to do things. Too many people never really try to do anything for fear of failure or looking stupid.

So, maybe I’ll continue talking to my camera as I try to grow a You Tube presence that just isn’t meant to be. Maybe, I’ll keep writing books that no one is the slightest bit interested in reading. Maybe I’ll keep posting to a blog that, while I’m ecstatic about the followers I have, it hasn’t grown in over two years. And when it’s all said and done, I’ll at least be proud of myself for doing something.

In happier news, I found out that J.H. Moncrieff has a new book, Monsters In Our Wake, that looks really cool, and hopefully a little scary. I’m hoping to read and review the book soon and have already contacted J.H. for an interview. I’m really excited about this. I really do miss interviewing authors on a regular basis. Gotta look into doing that more.

And to end things on an annoyingly selfish note, here’s my latest You Tube video.

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Reworked any old stories?
Have any perceived outrageous expectations?
Want to be interviewed?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tamara Narayan,
Patsy Collins,
M.J. Fifield, and
Nicohle Christopherson!!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #69).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG February 2017: “Being a writer changes how you read” & my #YouTube channel.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

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Being a writer has turned me into a hungry reader. I used to just read to escape and or enjoy a good story. Now when I read, I want more. I want to be inspired. I want to learn. I want to see what does and doesn’t work. I want to experience the stories, good or bad, to better my own writing.

I still read for pure enjoyment, but now I also read for review and critique. I find that while I’m more critical over plot, character, and world development, I’ve become more compassionate about all the technical stuff. I don’t ignore or make excuses for outright bad writing and poor editing, but I recognize how difficult it is to find good, reliable, and affordable editing services as an indie; and don’t get me started on critique partners and support groups. Anyone can call him or herself a writer, but to be a good writer- to be an author- it takes determination and creativity that not everyone has.

Being a writer has made me truly respect all the books I’ve always loved. If you’d like to know more about my thoughts on reading, please consider following this blog (I post reviews twice a month) and checking out my You Tube channel.

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Has being a writer changed your reading experience?
Live in or near Hampton Roads? Please check out my giveaway on the side panel.

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Misha Gericke,
LK Hill,
Juneta Key,
Christy, and
Joylene Buter!!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #69).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG January 2017: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard? Oh, and Happy New Year!

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Happy New Year Everyone! Lots of changes coming, but first…

Monthly Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

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I’ll admit that I still sometimes want to roll my eyes when I hear someone say “show not tell”, but when writing fiction, it really is a must. It’s just too bad that not everyone who strives to be a writer has had a classical education in creative writing. Most of us have to learn here, there, through trial and error, and wherever we can get viable and applicable feedback.

But if you really want to know what writing rules drive me crazy, I have two words: voice and p.o.v.

Everyone always wants to give their two cents on the writer’s voice, until the writer’s voice sounds just like theirs. I don’t think it’s wise to say “never use passive voice” because there may be times when it’s needed. It would make more sense to say, avoid using passive voice. I don’t think it’s wise to say “don’t use dialog tags”. I think it’s better to say “use them sparingly and wisely with variety.” Sometimes long convoluted sentences are part of the story, scene, or character. These and other tidbits are all opinions that can alter the author’s voice…

And just for the record, not all the best stories ever written are in first person. Why are people so against third or second person? Why can’t people handle more than one point of view?

Lastly, for me a preface or prologue is an extra bit of info to introduce the story or tease the action to come. It’s not technically part of the story and can be or not be read. So why are so many writers against them?

On a completely separate note, thank you, Chrys Fey, for your article “Dear Persistent Writer” in the last newsletter. Those words of encouragement came right when I needed it.

Also, since it’s a new year, I’ve changed a bunch of things and will be trying some new things. I’ll be posting about it all later, but wanted to mention that there may be pictures of cute dogs on my side panel at any given moment. That’s new. You’re welcome.

Also, in a rare weekend post, I’ll be announcing the winners of my Teacher cash prize and other giveaways this Saturday.

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Do you strongly dislike third person or prologues?
Any changes for you this year?
Slightly random here, but do you have an active You Tube channel?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Eva,
Crystal Collier,
Sheena-kay Graham,
Chemist Ken,
LG Keltner, and
Heather Gardner!!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #71).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG December 2016: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

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I’ve been trying really hard not to think too much about this. I’m a worrier and thinking about the future is where it all begins. That said, I can’t deny that I don’t have at least five different 5-year plans currently fighting to be the plan I put in motion… I may be a hopeless case.

Three things I know for sure:
1) A revamp of my blog and overall writing methodology is in the works and will be put into motion starting sometime after the new year.
2) Whatever happens, I’ll still be writing and publishing in the next five years, though I may not be promoting it the way I have in the past.
2016-11-08-09-20-46-23) I will be working on several collaborations, taking the spotlight off myself and focusing on the projects themselves.

My whole worldview on writing has shifted a bit and I can’t keep doing things the way I have been the past view years. Plus, I’ve fallen in love with a dog named Margie and feel I must tell her story. Changes are coming and they are scary for me, but in five years, I’ll still be me and I’ll still be writing.

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Are you a worrier?
Do you have multiple 5-year plans?
Has your worldview of writing ever changed?

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BTW- Alex J. Cavanaugh just released a prequel to his terrific space opera series. CassaDawn is set before the events in the first Cassa novel. Get your copy today.

After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Jennifer Hawes,
Jen Chandler,
Nick Wilford,
Juneta Key,
JH Moncrieff,
Diane Burton, and
MJ Fifield!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #71).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords
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#IWSG November 2016: What’s so great about being a writing & supporting #teachers.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

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Considering I mostly write fiction, I’d say I love the fact that I get to make stuff up to express thoughts, ideas, and more. I like that I can write stories that I want to read, even if I do need lots of help perfecting them for public consumption. But, at my very core, writing is something I have to do to feel complete. Even if I never published anything, I think I’d still be writing. Writing just for writing sake and providing myself with something to read is the best thing about being a writer.

I will say, though, I also like the fact that writing has opened me up to new and welcoming communities of like-minded people. It’s nice to now have a community of readers who also like to write… And, I love how much more involved I’ve become in supporting others since I started writing. It’s not like I didn’t care or give to certain causes before I started writing, but I feel like I give more now. I usually give whatever I would normally give, plus I always seem to be getting involved in fundraisers for causes where I donate my books.

Even now, I’m running a giveaway of my own to support classroom teachers with cash for their class. If you want to know more click here. In an effort to spread the word, I’m also putting together a blog tour where authors and bloggers get to share how books and teachers have made a difference in their life. If you are interested in supporting a classroom teacher, please consider joining my very simple blog tour.

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What do you like about being a writer?
Will you consider my blog tour or giveaway?
Also, check out my side panel to see the trailers I made for my new children’s books.

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Joylene Nowell Butler,
Jen Chandler,
Mary Aalgaar,
Lisa Buie Collard,
Tamara Narayan,
Tyrean Martinson, and
Christine Rains!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #71).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords