Wednesday 3 September 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group - September 2014 - IWSG

Anna Nordeman

This is author Roz Morris

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for starting Insecure Writer's Support Group.

Message from Alex:

Today marks three years since the very first IWSG post. Next month marks one year since the IWSG site and Facebook group opened. And we’d like you to help us celebrate! 

I wrote this IWSG-post before I read about, "Life is Good"-blogger, wonderful person and very special Swede, Tina Downey, who passed away Saturday night 23rd August. I don't even know what I was doing that day. I'll write more on this blog for her tribute on 8th September. Anyway, the IWSG-post is written; I don't think I could have written it now.

This is my seventeenth post for IWSG.  

Here in the North, Summer seems to end abruptly around the middle of August. With a thunderstorm that cools everything off and the heat never returns. At first it feels like a relief. But by the first of September there are already yellow leaves lying in the gutter. It's as if someone pulled a shade down over Summer and made it Autumn.

Yes, I know. One of the Cardinal rules of writing is to never, ever begin your novel with talk about the weather. But I am obsessed with the weather; and with the change of seasons. And I am not alone. The farther North you go the more people think in terms of what the weather is like today or how it will be tomorrow. I can't help it.

I read to fight my depression over the end of summer. 

Listen to Roz speak on this author video on her Amazon-page here.

I've read another wonderful how-to-write book by Roz Morris. I really enjoyed reading Bring characters to life, her second work in her Nail Your Novel series. Granted, Roz says a lot of things that I have found in other books. But she says it in a way that makes me feel like writing.

There seems to be some basic truths when it comes learning to write. Certain slogans such as "Show don't tell" or "Write a good beginning if you want to be read", appear in all of these books, only different authors express it in different ways. So which how-to book is best?

I think it is a matter of personal choice. Whom do you choose as your writing-buddy? Read a book that helps you keep writing, one that is genuinely encouraging. I like Roz' books because she gets to the point quickly and clearly. She does not waste time. She has a good sense of humour;  She never insults me. And instead of saying "Kill you darlings", meaning discarding them, throwing them into the dust bin, she suggests puting those story ideas, that don't fit into your present work-in-progress, into a special file, because they might fit in better somewhere else. Like a good craftsman, she never throws away useful scraps pf material, be it silver, wood or fabric, that could be used for something later. That's my kind of writing teacher!


Roz has convinced me that she knows what she's talking about. So I've decided to read her novels. After writing stacks of best-selling novels for other people as a ghost writer, she has started writing novels in her own name, first, My Memories of a Future Life and the Lifeform three

The first novel, My Memories of a Future Life, seems to be about time travel, but I don't know yet. I think the title is intriguing. It's about a concert pianist who for some reason is not able to play the piano anymore. (Perish the thought! I hope I will be able to read this. Just that sounds frightening.)

The second novel, Lifeform three, I don't know that much about. Sounds science fictiony. 

' ' ' ' ' '  
Johan Theorin, Swedish author

This summer, I have actually read an entire novel, Rörgast, in Swedish; Johan Theorin's last suspense novel in his quartet set on the Baltic island of Öland. Each of these four novels represents a season, and this fourth and last one is a summer's tale. 

The main part of the novel is all about the chaotic life of summer, on an island that is practically empty most of the year, except for summer, when the tourists arrive. The other part of the novel is about a man and his stepson who leave Öland in the 1930's and emigrate, not to America, as everyone expects who has read the earlier books, but to the Soviet Union. They are not able to leave the USSR. The boy, who is the same age as the main character, Gerlöf Davidsson, lives a very different kind of life than Gerlöf and he always wants to come back home to Öland. But when he does finally return, after so many years, it is not the way he had dreamed and hoped that it would be.

I don't want to give away the story, in case some of you can read Swedish or will try to get a hold of an English translation. (The other three novels are already translated into English.) But my point is that in order to write the parts of this novel that are about the USSR, Johan Theorin had to do a lot reading about Soviet history.

It brings to mind one idea that I have found in some of these how-to-write books. Some say, that you should only write about things that you really know well. Here is an example of an author studying a subject in order to make his story believable. Johan Theorin is a journalist, so he has probably done a lot of research in that capacity.

I'm not sure I could do that. But I guess this is part of what being a real author is all about; being able to write about places where you have never been, about people whom you have never met, and who don't really exist, except on paper.

Thanks for reading!

Best wishes,

First Commenter:
Duck and Wheel With String

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