Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: October Version

Happy IWSG day. This brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh is a bloghop that happens the first Wednesday of every month. Join us as we share our worries, victories and offer encouragement to each other. I'm co-hosting this month and posting on the IWSG site. My co-hosts this month are Beverly Stowe McClure, Megan Morgan, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Viola Fury, and Angela Wooldridge. Please go to the list and visit as many people as you can.

This question this month is: When do you know your story is ready?

Well, I could go on all day. I have a list of things, some detailed and some not. There's a difference between a story being ready to go to beta readers as compared to being ready to go to my publisher or if you're self-published, ready to put it out into the world. Rather than take all day, I'll give a few big points I check for before letting anyone else read it.
Is every scene necessary or is it just filler? Does it move the story forward or impart important information?
Does the story make sense or do parts confuse the reader?
Are my characters interesting and do they have depth?
Does each chapter ending lead the reader to continue to the next?
Do I start the story where it should start?
Is my ending satisfying?

Those are only a few of the things I search the manuscript for before I consider it decent enough to take the next step.

My plans for this week. I want to finally watch Luke Cage on Netflix. I want to walk outside if the sun ever comes out again.

And to share some wisdom with the world.

Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick.  Spanish Proverb

"Minds are like parachutes-- they function only when open." Sir James Dewar

Don't forget to visit more IWSG blogs and get your anthology submission ready. And in a slight change to submissions guidelines, the length of your short story can be between 3,000 and 6,000 words. Get writing!

How are you dealing with the insanity of election season? Is fall bringing you some cooler weather and some pretty leaves? Want to add to my general checklist?


69 comments:

  1. There's so much to learn in the beginning, and as we learn, we keep going back and adjusting. We never learn it all, but it's nice to hit a point where we know the basics and don't have to do major re-writes because we learned a new writing rule.

    We're supposed to have an event at our library this weekend, but the approaching hurricane might cancel it.

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  2. Have I used the word felt and thought too much? Wait, that's just me...
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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  3. It's sweater weather around here for sure. The leaves are all changing, there's pumpkins and mums everywhere, and people have started decorating their houses for Halloween.

    Definitely agree with your checklist.

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  4. Yes, fall is splendid in Colorado and I've enjoyed some fly fishing in it's colors. Character depth is a big challenge for me and my only draft novel. I tend to write shorter pieces which still need depth, but can get away with a bit less due to word counts. But with my haiku, that's to the point, has to be, always. Thanks for co-hosting, Susan.

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  5. I like your thought processes. Autumn has well and truly settled in over here. Brrrr. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  6. There seem much to learn in writing a novel, much different from the poetry I write. I really enjoyed reading all the pros and cons.
    Yvonne.

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  7. I started watching Luke Cage yesterday, which is bad because now my writing will suffer :) Thanks for co-hosting! I like your list of questions. So true!

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  8. Good list. Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  9. I'm dealing with the election by shutting it out as much as possible. I can't read the news without getting wound up so I just try to avoid it.
    Love those quotes! We got a taste of autumn but now the heat is back and I'm bummed. I hope you get a break from the rain soon!

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  10. I like you checklist. Seems well thought out. Just going to be glad when the election is over, tired of all the ads. Glad for cooler weather here.

    Betty

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  11. Everyone talking about this Luke Cage dude. I'm going to have to check this out...

    And they lowered the minimum word count? Does that mean I can have some of those extra words? ;-)

    IWSG October

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  12. Nice checklist. Sometimes, it's hard for me to detach and evaluate my writing from a readers POV. Any hints?

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  13. Oh, I forgot to comment on the election. We live outside the US and for the first time I jumped through all the hoops and figured out how to email my absentee ballot!

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  14. I love the quote about open minds and parachutes!

    As for the election, I'm keeping my head down and focusing on other things as much as possible.

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  15. Both you and Alex posted about Luke Cage. I'll have to check it out!!!

    Thanks for co-hosting, Susan!!!

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  16. An excellent list of questions, Susan! That's a totally different approach than I took to this question, but from a self editing standpoint, I think you listed some really helpful checkpoints.

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  17. Thank you for this list, Susan. I haven't considered putting together a check-list like this before. This has been one of the most eye-opening questions posted by the IWSG and I'm starting my own list as I read others' entries.

    Fall has brought some cooler weather but now we're all bracing for our second hurricane of the season. I hope the sun peeps out for your soon!

    ~Jen

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  18. Great quote about parachutes. I like your checklist. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  19. These are great points to go over before you hit that send button!

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  20. Great checklist to have indeed. I make sure everything is needed, as usually everything serves a purpose.

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  21. I agree. There is a difference in a story being ready for beta readers and being ready for the publisher...and then being ready after that for publication. That's an excellent checklist!

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  22. Great checklist! I give my CPs the final say because either I'm in love with the story or I'm picking at it way too much. I need to watch Luke Cage this coming weekend too. Have a lovely week!

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  23. Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on things. I particularly appreciate the distinction you've made between whether something is ready for beta readers or ready for publication. I never really thought about it before, but there are definitely multiple layers of readiness.

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  24. I love that quote from Dewar! And your checklist along with what you posted on the IWSG site are most helpful.

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  25. Your checklist is comprehensive and worth noting, Susan. Thanks for co-hosting! Happy Autumn.

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  26. Oh, I really want to watch Luke Cage. And, you know, finish the second season of Daredevil. I just need to decide that my story is ready to go out in the world...perhaps your checklist can help with that. :)

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  27. That's pretty much the same stuff I check off :-) Thanks for co-hosting!
    www.smpace.com

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  28. Sometimes that end just won't cooperate. It often takes me many stabs at it before it does what I need it to do. Thanks for co-hosting!

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  29. Hi Susan,
    Excellent points and I love the chocolate analogy.
    (I now need to go and find out who or what Luke Cage is...)

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  30. I love all of your hints, but "Did I start the story where it starts"--that gets me more often than I want to admit. that's more difficult to do than it sounds, innit?

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  31. A fine checklist! Thanks for co-hosting!

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  32. I was fortunate to know who I wanted to vote for long before the madness set it so I can ignore it. Having only Netflix instead of cable TV helps a lot. No adds to skip.

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  33. Starting where it should start. Exactly. I've written myself into a better starting place, then deleted the first ten pages that were not as interesting. They served their purpose, but in the end were unnecessary.

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  34. Thanks for hosting! I'm sick of politics at this point, but anxious as well. Re: Luke Cage? LOve that show. It took me two episodes to realise he's a Marvel character. No matter, he's my kind of alpha male.

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  35. Those are such great questions to ask yourself. Good luck!

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  36. Good list of questions to ask yourself. I hope you get to walk outside. It's getting brisk here outside, so I need to get out on my walks before the real cold starts!

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  37. Great checklist! It's finally getting warmer here in South Africa and the evening air is filled with the sweet scent of flowers in bloom.

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  38. Thank you for co-hosting today, Susan, and for stopping by my blog site for a visit and comment. On your list above, asking if something is confusing to the reader is my favorite, and a good argument for handing an early draft over to beta readers.

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  39. Probably a lot of those issues could be mitigated somewhat by spending more time in the development stage, at least theoretically.

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  40. You're the second person to mention Luke Cage...now I wonder if I need to add the series to my ever growing watch list. Thank you for co-hosting today!

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  41. I do love making lists. It's a pretty good indication that you're done if you check off the last item :)

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  42. I'm saving Luke Cage for a free minute to give it my attention. I need to catch up with dancing with the stars too.

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  43. That's solid practical advice you've given.

    It's cooled down a bit here in Los Angeles, but if you want to walk in the sunshine then this is the place to be. Nice and sunny right now and I'm inside on the computer.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  44. Nice quotes!
    And yes, that's great, practical advice! Thank you. I ask myself those questions, too, but then I usually reach an "it's over already" point that's more of a gut thing. Maybe I trust my gut too much.

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  45. Love the 1st quote! The 2nd is posted in my classroom :)
    Good advice - I still struggle with seeing my story objectively - working on it!

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  46. First off, thanks for co-hosting this month.

    Your check list is terrific. Good questions for all of us to ask. For me, I also have to make sure I haven't overused any particular words, phrases, or character actions. (Like shrugging.)

    This is, without a doubt, the most insane election year I've experienced since I fell in love with politics back in the '60s. Nope, not so much in love with our choices this year. To make things worse, my hubby is supporting the candidate I happen to abhor with every fiber of my being. How do I survive? He and I do NOT talk politics. He may say something to provoke me, but I refuse to take the bait. Can't WAIT until this election is over, or better yet, until I wake up. (This IS just a nightmare, right?)

    It's still sunny, dry, and warm here, but at least it's been cool enough to open the windows the past few nights.

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  47. Thanks for co-hosting, Susan! Great pointers!

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  48. Seems like it took extra long this year, but fall has finally arrived... just in time for a hurricane. Oh well. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  49. I appreciate the distinction of "ready" phases. And it seems to work better for me to do a check list of issues that make it "not ready" although seriously? I'm a last-minute tinkerer to the end. Thanks for co-hosting today!

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  50. I have to worry about confusing the readers sometimes. I'm so focused on showing instead of telling, sometimes the reader misses the point. That's what crit partners are good for. Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

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  51. I like your checklist Susan - these are some questions I'll need to ask my next lot of beta readers. Thanks for being a moderator this month and stopping by my blog. It's great meeting you. :)

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  52. What a great list, Susan! Most of my writing has been much shorter pieces, so I'm not used to thinking of entire books and how do I know if they're finished. As a reader I have definitely noticed how writers entice me on from chapter to chapter and how they start and end their books. And boy do I notice if a writer confuses me! When I get my fist book finished, I will be sure to think of these things. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG today!

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  53. Love your check list assessment for determining when your book is finished. It makes sense and they are questions a writer can asked themselves throughout the book.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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  54. So much thought and work goes into the final "finished" decision. Ugh, such a hard thing to figure out.

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  55. Hi Susan - after your other post ... I'd say once you'd put the final tick to your list, so all points are ticked off! Cheers Hilary

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  56. No matter what else needs to be done, I'm going to soak up every bit of fall sunshine that's available...maybe I'll find the missing piece to my wip while I walk.

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  57. Enjoy Luke Cage! That show is a blast, and Mike Colter is something else.

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  58. Excellent list of things to look for in your story. I'll have to check out Luke Cage on Netflix. Is that the title of the show? So much to see, so much to write. Thanks for co hosting!
    JQ Rose

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  59. It's fall, but we still have some heat to get through. Love your list!

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  60. Those are great questions to consider. They get right to the basics of what's important. Love the "minds are like parachutes" quote. Thanks for co-hosting!

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  61. I like your checklist. That satisfying ending is probably the most important in my mind.

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  62. I may just snag your checklist as a starting point and then add it to the info that I intend to collect as I do my blog visits this weekend.
    Hope you had fun co-hosting this month!

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  63. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for the checklist and your input.... We can all use some refreshers when it comes to the FINAL DRAFT....

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  64. Those are all excellent questions - it would be good to ask those before, during, and after writing that first draft.

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  65. Great checklist! I even see a few that I need to start adding to my own writing. Along with Luke Cage. I need to add that to my Netflix queue... which will impede writing progress, sure, but since I just added 'new checklist questions' to my daily task list, I can excuse a good bingewatch...

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  66. Thanks for co-hosting this month! And sharing your checklist. Will keep a few in mind, if I don't get lost in wondering about comma placement, consistency, word meaning, etc. I just started watching Luke Cage (on episode 3) but my husband thinks I'm weird to watch it. Since I've yet to watch Jessica Jones first. But hey, I'm the kind of person who'd read the the last couple of paragraphs in the end of the book. Backwards just work for me.

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  67. Thanks for co-hosting! How did your plans go?

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  68. That's a great list. Thanks for sharing!

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  69. That's a great list. Thanks for sharing!

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