Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG 2017 Kickoff

It's the first Wednesday of 2017 and that means the first IWSG post for our group. You can still join this wonderful group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and enjoy all the support and fellowship that goes along with being a member. Share your woes, ask your questions and celebrate you accomplishments with us. If you have none of those things to share, you can just answer or also answer the monthly suggested question (totally optional question):
What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

I would call this advice more than a rule, but when I first started out, I heard numerous times to 'write what you know.' Well, I write fantasy and science fiction. Who knows that stuff? I know lots of science but the future is endless possibilities. Even if you're writing contemporary or historical, you can research anything you don't know about. It's bad advice for fiction writers.

And what members have been waiting for, it's time to announce the latest winners of the IWSG anthology contest. First the official title: Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life.

The book will include short stories by these amazing members:
Jen Stanton Chandler  The Mysteries of Death and Life
Renee Cheung  Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight
Sarah Foster The Last Dragon
Sean McLachlan The Witch Bottle
Yvonne Venstresca The Art of Remaining Bitter
Ericka Beebe The Wheat Witch
Ellen Jacobson The Silvering
Olga Godim Captain Bulat
Elizabeth Seckman Mind. Body, Soul
Roland Yeomans Sometimes They Come Back
L Nahay Breath Between Seconds
Tyrean Martinson Of Words and Swords

Congratulations to them and all who entered. The stories were great this year and a real tribute to the quality of writers who belong to our group. I hope you have a chance to congratulate those who were selected.

Probably all of us are hoping for great writing things in 2017. I found this first in a series article from Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest. He's put together a list of tips from agents to help with your queries this year. Check it out.

Watched Sense8 on Netflix this past weekend. Very confused for the first episode but it really intrigued me after that. Lots of nudity and bad language, perhaps worse than GoT, but the idea is pretty cool. Tried the first episode of The OA but haven't been caught up in it yet.

I've been doing some cleanup after the holidays. I took a bunch of books to the second hand store where hopefully they find someone new to love them. And now I'm getting rid of lots of other stuff to the trash or Goodwill. I'm not a saver of things but when you raise four children, things tend to accumulate. It's a start.

Any writing rules you want to throw out? Find anything of interest in the query tips? Any series on Netflix or Amazon Prime that you recommend? Or some that really stink and I shouldn't bother?


  1. Congratulations to all the winners!
    I never understood the whole "write what you know" thing; books would be so boring if everyone only wrote what they knew. That's the whole point of writing, isn't it? To give you a chance to be someone you couldn't be in real life.

  2. That's perfect advice, Susan. I know a little about a lot of stuff. Research is definitely important to me. I'm not sure what you like to watch, but I've gotten into the Marvel universe lately and Luke Cage is great. Although it's been on for a few seasons (three, I think), House of Cards is a great down and dirty political series. Kevin Spacey is amazing in this show.

    I hope you had a wonderful holiday and 2017 is going to be great! Enjoy IWSG day. Eva, IWSG co-host #60

  3. Congrats to all winners, I know the book will be a success.


  4. Happy New Year and thank you for the article with Chuck. The three writing rules I would throw out are show don't tell, don't use conjunctions at the beginning of sentences and don't use the passive voice. Maybe some more now that I think of it.
    All the best for 2017.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

  5. We can only know so much when it comes to life experiences.

    My husband was off for a whole week and cleaned out a lot of closets and the garage. We also took a load to Goodwill and it felt great.

  6. Yeah, we can't know everything. That is kinda dumb when it comes to the future. If I knew the future I'd have won the lottery by now lol

  7. Got Sense8 on the Netflix watch list! We recently watched The Night Of on HBO and loved it. Dark, gritty but so, so good. The acting is amazing.

  8. I need to see what's new with queries. I'd like to try the OA as well. I've enjoyed some (but not all) of Black Mirror.

  9. Those of us who write science fiction can't possibly write what we know. I've yet to visit a galaxy far, far away...

  10. We donated a bunch of stuff after Christmas. I still have more! This year I'd like to attack the closet and get rid of some clothes I know I won't wear anymore.

  11. We've been doing the cleaning out/donating too. It's amazing how much accumulates!!

  12. The "write what you know" rule has always flummoxed me. On the one hand, I love any excuse to research so if I don't "know" something, I dig in and enjoy the rabbit trail hunt. Still, I write horror and dark fantasy. A little tough to go interview that Krampus about his yearly romp through Austria. I mean, I'm all about trying but still...

    Thank you so much for all the hard work you and the other readers did on the anthology. I'm honored and humbled to be a part of this year's anthology and I look forward to reading all the stories!

    Happy New Year,

  13. That is a winner. I didn't think of it when I wrote my post. To this day, it doesn't make sense. This is fiction!

  14. I love to clean out and organize in the new year. It's refreshing.

    Congrats to the winners!

  15. Congratulations to all the winners. Try having bed bugs, you will be amazed how much you clean out LOL

  16. I ignore any rule which I feel won't help whatever I'm currently writing – but I might follow it in the next piece.

  17. Congrats to all the anthology winners! Looking forward to reading everyone's stories.

    I'm so far behind in watching new series. Have you watched Black Mirror on Netflix yet? I've been hearing really great things about that one.

  18. LOL! Who does know that stuff? My subconscious. ;) I always revise that rule to say, "Write what you're willing to know." You know, as in willing to obtain that knowledge.

  19. Well, now in the age of the Internet, 'write what you know' is merely a Google search away.

    I absolutely loved The Man in the High Castle. The first season was good, but the second season took it to a whole new level. We tore through that like it was nothing. Can't wait for next year.

  20. Part of the fun when writing fantasy is making it up. :)
    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  21. You do know the worlds you create! That's got to be the best part of writing that genre.

  22. I think "write what you know" is the most misleading piece of advice. If you take it too strictly, then you can't create anything new!

  23. Yeah, that write what you know kind of scared me at first, but then I thought up a story that's based a bit on chemistry and now all is good.

  24. I've heard a few people give their take on that writing rule and interpret it in different ways.

  25. I'll check out that article soon!
    I have been trying to clean out the closets and shelves these days, too. With homeschooling two girls, and then just being a pack-rat, I've accumulated a lot of extra junk.
    Love your post, as always!

    Shows . . . hmm. If you haven't seen them already: Gotham, Travelers, Leverage (a little older but fun), and Legends (super corny moments and my husband shouting - "what? that makes no logical sense" - but it's still fun to watch now and then). We're re-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon series for Winter quarter weeknights, since my kids have so much homework.

  26. I need to check out that article as well. I desperately need to cut the clutter of all that I've collected over 30 years. With five children, I have my share of treasure to downsize. Definitely time to clean out the attics and closets. All the best to you, Susan!

  27. Cleaning your house is a wonderful way to start a year. I should follow your example.
    Like you, I write fantasy, so the rule "Write what you know" doesn't really apply. A better one would be "Write what you're passionate about."

  28. Huge congratulations to the winners. They were all incredible this year. I thoroughly enjoyed the reads. Happy New Year, Susan. I don't mind the rules. I probably don't take them very serious. Show Don't Tell bugs me. But one I think is over looked is the common before addressing someone. Leaving that one out drives me nuts. "How is John Joe?" John Joe? Who's John Joe? Oh, you mean How's John, Joe!

  29. I hate the "write what you know" rule. If I only wrote what I knew, it would be pretty boring.
    I got sucked into The OA with the second episode, but the last episode left me, I don't know--confused? disappointed? I hope they continue with the story for a second season because I really enjoyed it throughout.

  30. Hi, Susan,

    Happy New Year! Yes, that rule is not always appropriate, but I despise, Show not Tell.... hello..... STORY TELLING!

    Anyway. Hope you had a wonderful holiday... and ALL THE BEST in 2017....

    CONGRATS to ALL The Anthology winners.How amazing.... So many talented writers i am proud to call my friends....

    ALL the best to them and EVERYONE this year!

  31. I need to declutter and organize more. I did some but need to do more. Congrats on getting it done and Congrats to the Winners.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  32. I'm watching The Crown streaming on Netflix, and Homeland on DVD from Netflix.

    Decluttering is on my mind constantly and I did make headway on the books a few months ago. Now I need to work on paper--recycling, shredding, filing...

  33. Hi Susan - happy new year and days ahead ... I can't do the show don't tell scenario - just write to start with, find one's 'voice' which you'll get from comments if blogging and then quietly move on ... congratulations on the clearing out ... cheers Hilary

  34. The "write what you know" rule has always perplexed me as well.

    I haven't seen any new series lately, still trying to catch up on all the old ones I never saw for some reason :-)

    Thanks for all of the time and effort you put into the anthology contest. I'm beyond thrilled to have been selected.

    Cheers - Ellen

  35. "Write what you know" is the rule that has deterred me from trying speculative fiction...I know zilch about it!
    The anthology story submissions were many great writers in the group! It was a real treat to read the different stories.
    Happy New Year, Susan!

  36. Grats to the winners! I haven't had much time to watch anything lately that isn't aimed at kids under the age of 10. But if I come across anything, I'll let you know. :)

  37. Congratulations to all the winners. Another anthology I'm eager to read!

  38. There's a chance you are qualified to get a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.