Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG: It's A New Year

December has been busy - as evidenced by my lack of blog posts. Ooops.  Here we are already,  a new year, another first Wednesday of the month...which means it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.

I'd love to say that the next couple months of snow and frigid temperatures means more time inside in my writing chair, but there are chickens to take care of, dogs who want to play, kids to nag, a house to keep clean, and work do to. Nothing really slows down around here. Ever. So I must use the time I have in my chair wisely.

My NaNo fatigue wore off early this year, allowing me to dive back into writing The Last God and spending an afternoon at an author event, plotting out Interface and how to fix two short stories between selling books to Christmas shoppers. It turns out there are benefits to no Wi-Fi and forgetting to bring your phone charger. Yay productivity.

This month's IWSG questions is: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

It's a toss up between killing all adverbs and start with action!

Yes, adverbs can weaken writing, but there comes a point when you're so intent on eliminating them that you're overthinking every word choice and how to avoid using adverbs and all productivity grinds to a halt, your writing sounds stilted and unnatural and you hate the thing you just created because of all the aggravation it caused in writing it.

Adverbs in moderation, yes. Kill them all, no.

And then there's the start with action! I can't tell you (I won't) how many times I rewrote opening scenes, opening chapters, deleted a chapter, wrote two new chapters... oh the aggravation, just trying to follow this rule. We word people take action as, you know, action! Explosions, car crash, gun shots, fist fight. But no, just start the damned book with something interesting happening. That's what the rule should say. But when we're starting this writing journey and we hear there's rules, we want to be good writers and follow them.

Start where the story gets interesting, not where your MC is on fire.


  1. Happy New Year!

    I completely agree with you about these "rules". Luckily not long after I began to avoid adverbs, I realized it was hurting my writing. I still try to be conscious of them when I use them, but only so I do so sparingly.

    And I think that "Start the damned book with something interesting happening" is a perfect replacement for the action rule. I wrote a lot of awkward opening scenes until I realized that in a lot of the books I love to read, the opening scenes are just that—a really interesting thing happening to the protagonist. How can we get the word out about this?


    1. Glad I'm not the only one to suffer from these 'rules'. Well, I should say I'm sorry to hear you suffered from them too. :)

      Spread the word!

  2. "Start where the story gets interesting, not where your MC is on fire." <---I love this so much.

    I, too, completely agree with your take on these two rules. I cut whatever adverbs I can, and deal with the rest. And it may sound odd, but I start scenes where they need to start, whether there's action or not.

  3. Ha! I laughed when I wrote it. It's so true. Happy writing!

  4. Man the adverb rule. I think everyone gets that writing that's chock full of adverbs is weak, but when did they all become bad? The rule needs to be rewritten to adverbs in moderation, like you said.

  5. Hi Jean - good luck for 2017 ... reading what one's written - eliminates certain things ... not being a true writer of books etc ... I needed to find my voice - that helps - on the way to feeling one is a writer. Happy New Year - Hilary


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