Writers Read (An Insecure Writer's Support Group Post)

Part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group group posting

I had a relaxing but productive holiday break. After making myself accountable to a serious writing buddy (thank you Magaly - I hope you are having a fabulous vacation) I am pleased to report I am making slow but steady progress. I have a minimum word count I try to reach every day. It's such a ridiculously small number, I'm embarrassed to share it. But it's usually enough to prime the pump to get ideas flowing and there are plenty of days I exceed it. Of course, I've had plenty of days when I barely make it as well, but I suppose that's to be expected. If I waited for conditions to be super perfect I'd never write anything, and that just isn't acceptable.

The other thing I've been doing is researching, aka reading books in the genre I'm writing. That's been a help in getting a feel for world building, a pretty crucial thing when writing fantasy. I started off with The Belgariad (Volume 1. Thankfully, a friend of mine owns Volume 2, because the end was driving me nuts) and am now re-reading an old favorite Magician: Apprentice by Raymond Feist.

As fun as this research is there are a couple of dangers here. The most obvious one is getting so caught up in the story I forget to write! The second is comparing my style to other writers and finding it wanting. My style is different from those, most notably in the dialog. I'm trying to keep the high fantasy tone without making it sound too stilted or silly. I think some of my humor comes across in the characters' words but I also need to make sure it fits with the world I've built, and not the world of the Northeast US in 2014.

Please gods, don't let me create the literary equivalent of this

I've got smart people's whose opinions I trust giving me feedback on these baby steps (another chapter almost done, woot!) But it's still a bit nerve wracking. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't have stuck with something easier for my first attempt at a novel, but the idea for this story was picking at me too much - I had to explore it.

I'll leave you all with a song inspired by another fantasy series I loved when I was a little girl. I think I may re-read some of these too.


  1. Wow Kestril! This post reminded me how good it is to get into a routine. I let the whole deligent writer attitude slide through the holidays. Now I need to find that flow again. Thanks. Good luck with your story.
    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

  2. Thanks readfaced! LOL, yeah there is something to be said for finding a good routine and sticking with it.

  3. No writing quota is "ridiculously small." We have to start somewhere, don't we?

    I find that I have to be careful with the amount of reading, um... research, I do! So I tell myself, "Only three chapters today," or something like that. If not, I cuddled with those word babies and the rest of my time is consumed.

    I have to think about what you said about comparing styles. I might have to write a post about it... if the comparison gets too long in my mind.

    P.S. I had a GREAT vacation!

    1. Today is a day where it is tempting to just curl up and, ahem, research! But setting limits on research sounds like a very good idea too.

  4. Had a good chuckle at the "Keanu Reeves" video. You know, he DID do Shakespeare on stage once -- he played Hamlet in Winnipeg at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in the early 1990s. He preferred to do that rather than make another ton of money starring in "Speed 2." He got decent enough reviews too!

    1. I had heard he had done Shakespearean acting. That's very cool he wanted to stretch out as an actor that way. :) LOL, in my mind Keanu is so strongly merged with his character from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, when Shakespeare is thrown into the mix, I automatically hear that goofy voice in iambic pentameter.