Wednesday, October 6, 2021

IWSG: October 2021


October already! Thanks to founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh, our group of insecure writers continues to meet here in the blogosphere on the first Wednesday of every month. For the entire list of IWSG participants, go to this link. And make sure to check out the IWSG blog's present and past posts for some professional advice in all aspects of this challenging career of being a writer.

This month's optional question:

In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

There are lines for me, some personal, and some professional. It's easier than ever to offend someone accidentally these days. The ways people can take offense are too varied and numerous to mention, but I try to stay educated on what I know and don't know. Nobody writes only what they know. How could I write from a male POV? How could I write from a futuristic space traveler's POV? I do the best I can though I know writers who have been attacked for their portrayal of a character when they 'were doing the best that they could do.'

Along more personal lines, I don't enjoy reading or watching a story with an abundance of swearing and cursing. Profanity can be realistic in many situations, but too much only distracts me from the dialogue or action. I use profanity quite sparingly. I also never write about children suffering or dying. Just can't do it. I also don't try to work current politics into my writing and hate it when writers do that. I read to escape the messy world not to be reminded of it.

I remembered as I titled this post that October is my blog birthday. I've been here on blogger since 2008. Happy birthday to Susan Says.

Busy weeks ahead for me with so many Zoom meetings, and I'm presenting a workshop at a mini-con in Erie, PA this Saturday. Not sure how many people will turn out for this in-person event, but I'm looking forward to sharing time and networking with other writers. If you live nearby, here is the link to The Writer's Road Trip along with the schedule.

Did any of you watch Le Brea? There has only been one episode of this new show, but it caught my interest. Hopefully, it will keep getting better. Network TV is still really lacking for me.

Those evil spotted-lantern flies are ruining fall here in PA. They are large, ugly bugs that stowed away in shipping containers from China. They jump on you anytime you're outside. They are extremely harmful to some trees and plants and they are really creepy when they get on you. My granddaughter loves to hunt them down. We spray them with diluted vinegar. Bug hunting is her current favorite activity.

"It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret to happiness." James M. Barrie

Hope you all are staying safe and healthy.

Where do you draw the lines in reading material and in writing? Have you caught Le Brea yet? Are you in an area cursed by the spotted-lantern fly? Have you attended any in-person writing events lately?


  1. Happy IWSG Day Susan. I agree with you on the lines of profanity. I can’t get past them either. I haven’t seen Le Brea. I haven’t had a chance to watch TV too much with my kids’s schedules. That lantern fly sounds horrible. I have oak mites. They are no fun since I have two huge oak trees in my yard. Have a wonderful rest of your day.

  2. My WiFi is iffy today, so sorry if this is my second comment. Spotted Lantern fly has just appeared in MA. I'm not thrilled with that. Our big local writing conference appears to be planning a combo virtual and in person event for next spring.

  3. Happy Blog birthday! Come to think of it, I think one of mine has one this month, too.
    I'm with you on the sensitivities. I had an editor for a while who took extreme exception to any sort of character description because it would offend one community or other in New York. And I was writing scifi in 600 years time... But we still have to be careful in what we write.
    Hate the sound of those lantern-flied. If they've got to you they'll be in Europe before we know it. Does dilute vinegar kill them, or what?

  4. Hi,
    I so agree. The world has become offence crazy. Everything is an offence. It is a pity. I try to stay openminded. I am not going to attack an author because of the characters or the scenes they write.
    All the best
    Shalom aleichem

  5. Hi, even I don't enjoy stories or movies where there is swearing, cursing and profanity.

  6. I've been waiting for La Brea, so thanks for mentioning it. I've never seen those bugs around here (Michigan). They sound awful. You wrote: "I read to escape the messy world not to be reminded of it." Me, too. That's what I want my readers to think about my books.

  7. I don't like stories with tons of swearing either. And I am taping Le Brea. It sounds like one I'd like.

  8. Good luck with your workshop and another happy birthday to your blog! I'll have to check out La Brea because I'm coming up with nothing on Netflix these days.

  9. My significant other and I watched La Brea. I don't know about him, but I won't be watching a second. We did talk about how network TV is lacking for us, too.

    One of my writers groups has resumed in-person meetings because it's a small number of people getting together in a big room. My other group is still meeting virtually.

    Happy blog birthday!!

  10. Bug hunting with your granddaughter sounds fun. Hope life doesn't get too busy for you and allows you to enjoy some quiet moments.

  11. Hi Susan,

    Happy here Blogaversary! Mine is this month, too. I started in 2010.

    You are so right. It is hard to write in other's pov, and all we can do as writer's is DO OUR BEST and create a scene as believable as possible. Not everyone/writer can pull it off, but an experienced hand can. Putting yourself in your character's mind is something all writers must do.

    Sounds like you are super busy. Good luck with all your Zoom meetings.

  12. I don't want to be reminded of our mess either.
    Congratulations on thirteen years!
    Not watching that show, but I've found Squid Games utterly fascinating.

  13. There can definitely be too much profanity. It is kind of like poetic imagery, too much is just difficult to get through and makes the reader lose focus on the story. But none of it can be a little boring as well.

  14. If I was nearby, I would come! So nice to do something in person, isn't it?

  15. Happy Blog Birthday! My grandmother taught me about such language. She used one word one time in her whole life, and by using it that one time, she let everyone know grandfather had pushed her way too far. If you save the words for when you really mean them, they are very effective!

  16. I agree with you Susan that too much cursing or swearing in a story detracts from my enjoyment. Vinegar spray seems like a good antidote to bugs. Good luck with your workshop.

  17. Hi Susan - I don't like too much of anything ... especially violence, or swearing - James M Barrie has it 'quite right' - and was and still is in our lives - as the creator of Peter Pan - he was also generous with his work - he donated the rights to Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, London.

    The Spotted Lantern Fly sounds horrible and unfortunate in the circumstances.

    Stay safe - all the best Hilary

  18. I am with you on the cursing—seems to be used way to often these days. I think it’s coming out to release the great frustration everyone seems to be feeling?
    And more bad bugs from China? eek!
    Hope you are well!

    Tara Tyler Talks