Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Insecure Writer and Being Positive


Today is January's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Perhaps this isn't an appropriate attitude for an IWSG co-host, but I don't care.  We're only four days into the new year, and my plan is to meet the new year with unbridled optimism.  No worrying about being a slow writer.  No worrying about whether my words are good enough.   Heck, I even found an inspirational quote for you.  

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


But wait! There's more!  The winners of the IWSG Anthology are being announced today. Woohoo! And if that's not enough to get your writing juices going, Tara Tyler has stopped by to talk about her love of dragons! How much more inspirational can you get? 


But before we get to Tara, let's tackle January's IWSG question.

What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

For me, it's the rule that says showing is always better than telling. Showing does have its place, and when applied correctly, has made my stories much, much better. However, the time I've spent stressing over whether a minor phrase is or is not telling has cost me too many sleepless nights and brought my productivity to a standstill.  Experience has since shown me that readers just don't care about details like that.

Now that that's out of the way, take it away, Tara.  


I <3 Dragons!

I've been enamored of dragons since I could read. Sorry, not the scary Chinese dragons, but the dashing, dangerous dragons that knights went out to fight. I enjoyed reading many dragon stories such as the Anne McAffrey series and Piers Anthony's  Xanth series had loads of diverse dragons. I also adored many dragon movies - Dragonheart, Dragon Slayer, Desolation of Smaug, HP and the Goblet of Fire, and my favorite favorite - How to Train Your Dragon!

image courtesy of Cartoon Bros
I was crazy about dragons - so of course I collected them... This is my room during my senior year of high school. I was a complete nerd!


It just makes sense that I would write about dragons! In Broken Branch Falls, the beasts befriend a dragon prince, become dragon friends, and ride dragons. In Cradle Rock, Flora is on the cover and she's an integral part of the story - innocent and shy, but strong-hearted, and she has allergies making her sneeze fire at the worst times...

I still dream dragon-size. I even dressed up as a dragon for a sci fi con this summer...


How about you? Do you like dragons? Have a fave? Remember any collections from when you were a kid?

Thanks so much for having me, Ken! I hope you all had a great holiday and are starting off the year on a good note! La!

Thanks again, Tara.  I don't know anyone who doesn't like dragons.  
By the way, the other co-hosts for this month are Eva @ Lillicasplace, Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardnerso be sure to stop by their blogs and thank them.



WELCOME BACK TO THE FOREST!


CRADLE ROCK, Beast World Book Two
by Tara Tyler

Gabe the goblin just saved his town Broken Branch Falls from splitting apart. He also revealed that humans--horrible creatures of myth and legend--may actually be part of their history! But seriously? Nah!

Now Ona, Gabe’s girlfriend, is headed thousands of miles away to Camp Cradle Rock for Spring Break seeking evidence of humans. Gabe knows better than to tell a stubborn ogress she’s crazy, so he’s letting her go and spending the break at the beach like a normal teenage beast. And he’s determined to have a good time without her, whether he likes it or not.

But when Gabe hears Ona went missing, he and his friends set out for the wilds of the west to find her, no matter what dangerous creatures get in his way. Not even humans.

Check out the Book Trailer!

Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently she has two series, Pop Travel (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures). To squeeze in writing, she economizes her time aka the Lazy Housewife. Make every day an adventure!

Talk to me!
Author Blog ~~ @taratylertalks ~~ Facebook ~~ Housewives Blog

Sign up for my quarterly newsletter if you'd like to find out more and you could win something!

69 comments:

  1. Sometimes I worry that I tell too much rather than show, but I try not to get too hung up on it. Good writing is good writing, right?
    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. That's what crit partners are for, to tell you when those teling sentences need to be shown.

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  2. Ken - The show don't tell rule stresses me out and I spend way too much time thinking about it. I do wonder if readers notice or care. Thanks for co-hosting!

    Tara - I love your dragon costume!

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    1. I've finally gotten into the mindset that telling sentences are opportunities for me to improve the story by showing, not necessarily requirements.

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  3. Great attitude to begin the new year!
    Showing and telling can boggle my brain too. Sometimes I think I'm showing and it turns out I'm telling. ACK! My editor lets me know...

    Happy New Year and thanks for co-hosting!!!

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    1. It's doubly hard to tell the difference because not everyone agrees on what's telling. The drove me crazy for a while before I accepted that showing and telling wasn't black and white.

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  4. I agree: show, don't tell is the most annoying advice! Telling is very important in action scenes.

    I liked "Puff the Magic Dragon" as a kid (they even animated it for a TV show, as I recall...)

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    1. I liked Puff too. Probably my first dragon love.

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  5. Happy New Year!
    So nice to find another writer who mentions the trap that show don't tell puts a writer in.
    Thank you so much for co-hosting, and I wish you an awesome 2017.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

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    1. It's a balance, Pat. If showing helps, then do it. Otherwise telling is still okay.

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  6. Thanks for co-hosting, Ken!! Your graphic is my new motto for 2017! How inspiring. And thanks for letting us meet Tara (since I always think dragons speak with Sean Connery's voice!).

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    1. LOL at the voice comment. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy.

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  7. I'n seeing this one pop up a lot today: showing vs telling. I totally agree! Sometimes you have to tell something. I've seen many best-selling authors do this occasionally. It works. Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. That's what finally clued me in, the fact that best selling books often have plenty of telling. The trick is to write in the least boring way as possible.

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  8. Agreed - showing is good, but it butts up against another rule - leave out the parts people skip. Minor transitions or details need less "show." Thanks for co-hosting and a happy new year to you.

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    1. Yep. too much telling leaves a story sounding flat. Too much showing and I'm ready to fling the book across the room.

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  9. Nice outlook, Ken! I agree. I had a pretty good 2016 and I'm off and running this year as well. Nothing to hold us back but ourselves . . . and phooey to that, I say! Loved the dragon tales. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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  10. Great attitude! Go forth with no insecurities.
    Dragons will always be cool, Tara. Although I'd like to know where all you geek dragon girls were when I was in high school.

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    1. They were probably at home with their stuffed dragons.

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  11. I love dragons as well. My (small) collection was pewter dragons, some holding colorful crystals, way back in high school and college. I still have them, of course!

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  12. Great attitude to start the year. Just tell them it's a fireman, no need to show it in an entire paragraph - where the fire-retardant yellow of his outfit and the smell of smoke could be a dragon ;-) Happy writing.

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  13. The show don't tell has always bugged the hell out of me, too. Though I am glad I heard it. I can choose for myself now. Do the telling deliberately, if I choose. Happy New Year, Ken. Thanks for co-hosting. Yay, Tara!

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    1. It's your choice, as it should be. In fact, I finally realized last year that part of an author's voice is how much they follow the show vs tell rules.

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  14. I loved the Pern books when I was a teen. I even found a stuffed dragon that doubled as a fire lizard.

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    1. Definitely one of my favorite series. I still have the books on my bookshelf, ready for me to peruse whenever I'm looking for writing inspiration.

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  15. As you say - balance; follow the rules when they work for you, but otherwise looks on 'em as guidelines ;)

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  16. Thanks for co-hosting today, Ken! And thanks for the post on dragons, Tara. I LOVE dragons and I'm with you: How to Train Your Dragon is my all-time favorite!! When you find out where we can get our own Toothless, let me know!

    Happy new year!
    Jen

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  17. I agree telling has it's place. All writing rules, I think, can be broken under the right circumstances.

    Happy New Year!

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  18. Happy New Year!

    I don't regret learning any writing rules - although there are some I don't follow.

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  19. Being secure and being a co-host is actually wonderful. :)

    I've always said to show AND tell. Both are useful and have their place. It's good to have a balance of the two.

    Dragons will never go out of style. ;)

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  20. Yay for heading into the year with optimism! The rule of show, don't tell never bothered me all that much because I couldn't tell when I wasn't showing. I'd get comments from a CP indicating if a line was telling and I'd scrunch my brow and wonder why it was telling. I guess ignorance is bliss, right? I can't tell if I'm telling so no point in wondering if I'm telling or not.

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  21. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG blog hop this month, Ken - What an optimistic and inspirational post! Yes, show/tell is one of the rules I have problems with too. :)

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  22. Good for you, Ken, and keep the optimism alive! Regarding dragons, as a kid I had a purple dragon very similar to the one in the photo. He didn't have sunglasses, but otherwise he was very similar.

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  23. Can't say that I have any particular insecurities about writing either, but that's not why I missed this month's IWSG post. Just too much going on with my blogging that I'm not keeping up with.

    Can't say that I'm particularly enamored with dragons, but the origins of the mythology does interest me. There must have been something tangible and real that first inspired the stories about dragons and that fascinates me.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  24. I knew the show not tell ruler was flawed early on. I wrote fan fiction for years and while that's not the epitome of writing to many, I learned fans just want a story that engages them or they can relate to. Either way if the story doesn't work, no amount of fancy writing will bring the reader back. No one wants to be bored. Hey fellow co-host! Also congrats to Tara and dragons are cool. Love the pic with Hiccup and Toothless. How to Train your Dragon is one of the best movies DreamWorks Animation ever put on screen. Even the Netflix series is amazing.

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  25. Yeh for "unbridled optimism"! And I love the pic/quote about not giving up our day-dreams. :)

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  26. Not giving up on my day dream is now added to my list of resolutions! Great uplifting post. Thank you for co-hosting. Happy New Year!

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  27. I LOVE that. I am never giving up my daydream! Happy New Year to you, thank you for co-hosting,for the positive energy and for introducing Tara! Happy New Year.

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  28. I'm a fan of unbridled enthusiasm! And dragons. So this has been a splendid visit. Thanks for doing such a bang up job of hosting the IWSG this month.

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  29. I'm sharing your attitude for the new year too. So, 4 days in, it's working. I do love dragons, good, bad and in between.

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  30. Happy 2017 & thanks for co-hosting! That show, don't tell rule has always been irksome to me. Used to stress over whether I'm telling more than I'm showing and lose a lot of good words that way.
    Speaking of dragons, my husband started this new game to counter my Harry Potter nerdiness. Whenever I go Harry Potter fan like wishing I'd receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter, he says he'd like to be a dragon. Because he's Lord of the Rings and I'm not. And I'm Harry Potter but he's not.

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  31. "Experience has since shown me that readers just don't care about details like that." Did your readers tell you that or show you that? :-) Just kidding... I think there is room for showing and telling and just like with anything in life, it is all about finding a good balance between them.

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  32. Yeah, show VS tell is only when your in the action of your story. Any time you have to share a snippet of backstory quickly, it's perfectly acceptable (and preferred) that you tell. However, for active voice (and this is a skill all writers MUST develop), learning HOW to create mental images out of a story is paramount.

    And Tara! What a fun post. I adore dragons too. One of my favorites is Kazul from the Dealing with Dragons series.

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  33. Great plan for this year. Write at your own pace, just keep writing. :)
    I'm big on show vs. tell, but there are times telling works.
    Happy 2017!

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  34. woah! look at all the comments!
    thanks so much for hosting me today, Ken! And for hosting IWSG!
    or should I say...
    My eyes are bulging and my heart is pounding so fast at all the comments!
    (ha ha, show don't tell - sometimes necessary, sometimes not)

    i'm going to say a blanket THANK YOU and WOOHOO! for the fun dragon comments - and I'll be visiting these lovely people at their blogs. Yay!

    Happy Septendecdischili!

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  35. When I write fantasy I write about dragons. I love then to bits and back. :-)

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  36. I'm definitely a dragon fan! One of my favourite series is Anne McCaffrey's PERN series! :)

    I agree with you, Ken! Don't quit those dreams and keep moving at your own pace :)

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  37. Hi, Ken! You've got a great blog here. I've joined your blog. I love the quote about not quitting the day dream. I try not to as well. Good for you to think positive. All the best to you in 2017! I think all dragons are cool.

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  38. Love your attitude, Ken. Optimism and day dreams are the best medicines for every malady: from sadness to cancer.
    Tara, I like dragons too. They are so versatile, they can be adapted to any size or situation in fiction. Whatever you need there as a dragon for that.

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  39. I don't think I could quit day dreaming even if I tried.

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  40. I do spend a lot of time worrying about that, too. Grr.

    Thanks for co-hosting!!

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  41. Love the attitude. Love the quote. Congrats Tara and I love dragons too,
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  42. Ken: Great quote! Of course, I'm a chronic daydreamer, so it would be pretty hard to give up. I also see that you have much in common with my mad scientist Harry Potter-loving hubby!

    Tara: I love your dragon costume - wow! Reminds me of how I used to chase my little nephews around the backyard in this comfy Tyrannosaurus outfit they had. (Wonder what happened to that?)

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  43. I didn't get into dragons until I started reading some of the amazing stories of fantasy writers. At that point, who couldn't like dragons?

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  44. I've always loved dragons! So cool!
    Happy 3017!
    Stay positive!

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  45. Thanks for being cohost this month, Ken. I agree about staying positive. We can work wonders when we believe. Tara, my fav dragon has the voice of Sean Connery (Dragonheart). What's not to like about that??? Best wishes for a great 2017.

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  46. What a fun post Ken. I agree with your pick on he rule. We all have a need to see and hear the thoughts of our characters too. It's part of voice in my eyes. And Tara, also cute comments and thoughts on dragons. I recently bought my children he movie Pete the dragon. My favorite will always be The Good luck dragon in the never ending story. Thank you both :)

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  47. Hey, nothing wrong with starting the year on a positive not and resisting insecurities!

    And yup, I like dragons, too. Love the Pern books!

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  48. I love dragons too!! I also collected them and have a bunch of books about them.

    And, Ken, I'm not a huge fan of that rule too. Yay for optimism.

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  49. Yay for unbridled optimism! We all need more of that. You wrote: "However, the time I've spent stressing over whether a minor phrase is or is not telling has cost me too many sleepless nights and brought my productivity to a standstill." Yes, yes, yes! Telling has a place because it deepens the readers' understanding of the character. It's right to contemplate whether to tell or to show, but trust your judgment and then hope your CPs agree, as I do (and they sometimes mine don't!). You wrote, "Experience has since shown me that readers just don't care about details like that." Yes, most readers look for a great story and characters they can root for. But craft plays a role, it's just usually -- and should be -- below the radar. Good writing will often be "felt" if not exactly recognized by those who are blissfully unaware of craft.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog! You mentioned that in the beginning, it took you a while to figure out what "Show don't tell" meant. If you ever need help with any facet of craft, I've spent a lot of time learning and teaching others and would be very happy to help, so feel free to contact me and we can discuss it! laura.6eg(at)gmail.com

    Tara - I loved the McCaffrey series! Who doesn't love dragons? Wishing you much success with your series!

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  50. Thanks for co-hosting, Ken! It's always a fun thing to do, even if it takes a lot of time. I've torn my hair out over teaching "Show, don't tell!" to legions of second and third graders.

    I tend to view writing rules as important and based on centuries of English language writing, but not as an absolute. I used to tell my little writers that writing rules helped the writer communicate better with his or her audience, and that once they had a solid foundation in writing rules, then they could break them occasionally.

    Tara, I love dragons too, even the scary Chinese ones, and Smaug is my all-time favorite! And I'm loving Game of Thrones Daenerys and her dragons! I got a kick out of seeing your high school room! I was pitifully conventional decorating mine with pictures of the Beatles. Although I did hang a drawing I did of the Lonely Mountain and Smaug once I finally got my hands on a copy of "The Hobbit" in grade 11. Loved that costume too! Happy dragon writing in 2017!

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  51. I'm with you, Ken on starting the new year on a positive note. Love that inspirational quote! Let's hope 2017 is a fabulous writing year for us all.
    Thanks for being a co-host this month.

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  52. I love dragons, too. There's even my 'dragon man' in Forbidden. Check out my blog if you have time. I'm gathering support for the launch of Forbidden - and offering a gift worth $200 for the bloggers and reviewers who post during my launch Feb 14-18. Thanks http://www.featherstoneauthor.wordpress.com Blessings

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  53. Dragons are awesome. If I lived in a world where they existed, I'd be rescuing them as I do with stray dogs and cats. Except, I'd need a bigger house and garage. I enjoyed finding your website/blog with the IWSG - thank you for hosting it this month. Happy new year and happy writing! www.dianeweidenbenner.com

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  54. holy dragon! so many amazing and fun comments! thank you so much. I'm still working my way through this huuuuge list.
    thanks again Ken !

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  55. Awesome - Chemist Ken - you've got no insecurities this month - great way to start the new year.

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  56. Show not Tell gets old after a while. I've worked hard to get better at showing most things, but it's those little things, as you say, that drive me crazy. It's fine to tell some stuff on the way to showing. Thanks for sharing your optimism. Oh, and I like dragons too.

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  57. Awesome that you have no insecurities. And I think we need to do whatever works to survive the bitter cold weather. At least it's warming up on Monday.

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  58. The rule about never using adverbs is dumb and just totally wrong. I can write "totally" if I want and no one will care! HA! Of course, overuse of them is a problem, but never using them? So dumb....

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