Wednesday, 4 December 2019

#IWSG post for December 2019 - Goals, sort of...for 2020.

Hi all! Welcome to the final IWSG post for 2019. I'm sure we're all shaking our heads, wondering where the year went.


Alex's awesome co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!

Visit if you can!

  And be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!


ALEX HAS NOTIFIED US THAT DUE TO NEW YEAR'S DAY FALLING ON A WEDNESDAY, WE WILL BE POSTING JANUARY 8 RATHER THAN JANUARY 1!


My topic for this month -

Did you reach your goals for 2019? 

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but nevertheless I would have liked to have begun publishing in 2019 but life got in the way. You know. The traveling life. But I wasn't turning down trips to Italy and France where I got to walk in the footsteps of some of my characters. Wow. Early 2020 works fine for me. 

When I was a rookie blogger, I hosted what I called a Publication Party. Can you believe I hosted Alex when Cassa Star was just getting off the ground? If you'd like to travel back in time, here is the link.

What's all that about? 

When I hosted new authors, all blogger friends at the time, (a pity I've lost contact with most), I think every one was published by a small press. If history repeated itself and I hosted about-to-become-authors today, even though small presses are still popular, many would be planning to self-publish.

Okay, I know some of you just stopped reading because you have a thing against self-publishing, but if you're still here ... 

I'm addicted to reading comparisons between traditional and self-publishing. There are pros and cons for both sides, but most of us accept that traditional publishers take on very few new authors and even if you're one of the chosen, it can take years to actually see your book on the shelves. 

Which is a good reason to embrace the do-it-yourself publishing route or just write for fun with no expectations of being published. 

Even though I do have a novel languishing with a traditional publisher, I'm planning the self-pub route for everything else -- rapid releasing my short novel Renaissance vampire series, my collections of short stories and flash fiction etc. 

Which is why I'm behind all those authors I hosted way back when.

Another reason publishing has taken me so long is that I totally suck at plotting. I'm at heart a pantser, which has left me smashing into metaphorical brick walls in about 5 NaNo novels. It wasn't until I gained two face-to-face critique partners who've nailed plotting, that my stories have been shaken into some semblance of order.

Have you, oh clever much-published authors, mastered plotting? 

This is your opportunity to name drop. Which plotting master/mistress is your go-to for narrative arcs? I admit I read too many and get confused and my brain fuses into a big blob of outline rejection and I need my critters to drag me out of the mire.

Then I had to go and read a post on Writer Unboxed -- the post title -- The Fun of Pantsing. But pantsing which includes a lot of outlining...

Anyway, here's to a successful finish to 2019 and an awesomely successful 2020.

Happy writing!

SOME HOLIDAY SNAPS - FLORENCE - NOVEL LOCATIONS



The breathtaking Medici chapel which I think challenges the Sistine Chapel in Rome


Part of the courtyard entrance that features in Book One of my vampire series - you can imagine my excitement walking in the footsteps of my Renaissance man


The private Medici chapel of the Magi - they say it's much the same as in the time of the Medici - nicely golden with original artwork




And if you'd like to join us, WEP is about to run our final challenge for the year. The prompt is from Tyrean Martinsen from the IWSG. If you haven't closed down your blog for the year, please come by and read some great entries. The prize this month is a 3-chapter critique from author/editor J.L. Campbell. Hmm. Pity I'm not in the running...






60 comments:

  1. Wow, you hosted me for CassaStar? I'm honored! So long ago. Yet here you are and here am I! Thank you.

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  2. I wouldn’t give up chances to travel to the awesome places you’ve visited. I’m a combo pander plotter. It’s a good balance that helps to not have so many revisions.

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    1. Anything that lessens revisions is a good thing.

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  3. I do have trouble with plotting, but things generally seem to come together in the end.

    As for goals, mostly met if a little delayed compared to my plans at the start of the year. Novel draft finished and critiqued, and short e-book published. So on the whole I'm happy with progress.

    And it must be amazing to walk the setting where your story takes place. Given my genre, that will never be possible for me.

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    1. We have to find what works for sure Ian. It was super amazing to walk into my novels, LOL.

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  4. Your travel photos are always so beautiful... and they always give me itchy feet!! :)

    I mainly read the kinds of novels I love to write. Occasionally I'll dip into a how-to book for a refresher, but I try not to over-think it. I've also found that every book I've written has been different. I've plotted, I've pantsed and I've done everything in between. Can't say I have a favourite method. Wish I did. Then I could stick to it. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, as you know I read in my genre/s. How-to books mess with my head.

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  5. I was going to do it Jerry Maguire style and just stick my manuscript into people's mailboxes.

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  6. Travelling over a little delay in publication any day! Such beautiful places, and beautiful photos. Glad 2019 has been good to you.

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    1. Who could turn down the opportunity to travel. Once published, our books are there a long time. A few more months won't hurt.

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  7. Can't pass up such trips indeed. I just sit down and go to it when writing. I know the beginning and end, but that is it.

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    1. I never turn down the opportunity to travel Pat. I'm lucky. Yep. Someone said they can't help me outline until i write the Black Moment. Not a hope.

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  8. I absolutely cannot outline! I think my brain goes backwards. I had this trouble all the way back in high school. I'd always think, how can I outline if I don't know what I'm going to write about? Teachers would ask us to pass in an outline, so I'd write the paper first, then create an outline of what I'd written. I still struggle...I'd say I have a general idea of what my characters are going to do, but spend A LOT of time revising.

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    1. That's what happens to me Lisa. My brain freezes. I stop and can't get going again. I write best when I actually write. Even though spending so much time in a chapter is slow...

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  9. Love the photos of your travels! There's real pros/cons of self publishing vs. trad publishing. One of the things I like about self publishing is being able to control ever step of the process, but I can see the attraction of trad publishing where they take care of many of the steps :)

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    1. Ellen I've closely studied both but I really think publishing is moving to self publishing. Of course self pubbing is scary with all the things you have to do but I'm up for it.

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  10. If the story is good, this small press is happy to take on a new author. And take a risk with a story that doesn't fit in big-publisher boxes.

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    1. Yes it's all about risk and the big guys just don't want to take them. Glad that small presses are still open.

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  11. Hi,
    Happy to hear you made it back to your home and that you enjoyed your trip on the European continent. I have developed my own method for outlining. it suits me and I plan to stick with it.
    All the best for 2020.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Pat, it was snowing in Paris the day we left. Awesome. You're lucky to have developed outlining that works for you. I've yet to hit the spot! All the best for 2020 to you too.

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  12. The pictures are amazing! I sit somewhere in between outlining and just hitting the pages, but if that works? Have a wonderful season and Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks. Whatever works for sure. I'm still trying to find out.
      You have a great season and HNY!

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  13. Here's hoping 2020 is your year. 2019 does sound like it was productive too, with all the research trips. Still not great at plotting. I like to go with the flow.

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  14. Your travel photos are amazing. Of course you had to go, if the opportunity presented itself. You could publish next year.

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  15. Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures. I'm a great fan of traveling to those exotic locations when writing -- or at some point during the writing process. Internet can fill in later with more research (as do books), but being there, remembering the smells, the sights, the tastes. Sometimes I think I choose exotic locations because I want to go there -- with my characters. And for me, outlining seems to emerge with the story, with plotting and drafting kind of meshing together. Yes?

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    1. Hi Beth. I'm surprised I haven't receive comments from died-in-the-blue plotters. Everyone seems to be like me - a bit of plotter, bit of pantser. I wish I could find a process that works for me and I could stick to it.

      Nothing like visiting locations. The best.

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  16. Isn't it interesting to follow authors from their beginning publications and see how they progress? I love that. I also love your pictures of this last journey! I have such fond memories of Florence. It's such a beautiful place. You've made me want to return.

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    1. I've read Nora Roberts' first book for Harlequin. Wow! So bad. But look at her now!
      Yes. I'd happily live in Florence in a villa overlooking the stunning city. Maybe that's another dream...

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  17. Dear Denise, thanks for all these insights into the pitfalls of publishing.
    Deadlines ? Goals ? New year resolutions ? Na! Did away with those when I left big business firms back in 2005. It all takes time, like in all artistic endeavours. And time takes care of itself, so no rush.
    Still hopeful of finding a publisher, even if a small time one, they will always have more connections than I do and more ressources to market my novel than I could ever afford.
    As to plotting, like Linda, my stories unfold like the fiction I read or the many films I watch. I can see the scenes in my head and hear the dialogues as they come up, so the plot is leading me along , not the other way round.
    Fellow IWSG blogger Yvette Carol has written a very interesting article on her website about planning . Plotting, characters, settings etc... very helpful I find . Check it out you may find some useful tips for your stories.
    Merry Christmas preparations. See you on WEP Footprints.

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    1. Thanks Susan. So useful. I will check out the blog post. All the best finding a small publisher.
      Great that you’re doing WEP.

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  18. Being a pantser at heart is one of my issues as well. I've found Libbie Hawker's Take Off your Pants to be the one book that makes sense to my brain.
    Good luck with your 2020 plans!

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  19. I love reading comparisons too--and watching youtube videos comparing self and traditional publishing.

    What? Say no to trips to Italy and France? I wouldn't either.

    I did CassaStar too!

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  20. One day, I'd love to visit France and Ireland where many of my ancestors are from.

    I love to publish my (in progress) books and the self-pub would the route I take. I'm fair with plotting; it's the character development I seem to struggle with.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

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    1. Thank you Carrie Ann. Maybe we could swop what we learn on the self-pub route!
      You too have a wonderful holiday season!

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    2. If you struggle with character development, buy Story Genius by Lisa Cron. That's made a big difference to mine. It means putting in extra thought/work, but pays off.

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  21. Your photos are always beautiful, Denise!
    You've traveled extensively and you always return to my favorite spot - Paris! I know it's your favorite city too.

    It's been a hectic year, and with regards to writing, I dropped the ball more than once during 2019. My return to full time teaching has taken its toll and I'm really grateful for the 4 week holiday. I need to devise a plan for 2020.
    I can live with your comment: "embrace the do-it-yourself publishing route or just write for fun with no expectations of being published."
    Have a wonderful Christmas season and Prosperous New Year, my friend!

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    1. You're a wonderful writer and I"m sure a wonderful teacher, Mishy. I really hope you can find some time. We miss your flash fiction at WEP.

      You too have a wonderful Christmas season and Prosperous New Year, my friend!

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  22. Traveling has always been part of the dream for me. I have been to a few but not as many as you. Only overseas or out of country to London, England and Bahamas and most excotic the Big Island of Hawaii. Happy Belated IWSG! And Happy Holidays.

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    1. Thank you Juneta. I'd get more writing done if I didn't travel so much, but my writing would lack something if I did. I hope you manage more exotic destinations.

      You have a wonderful Christmas season and Prosperous New Year!

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  23. Never, ever give up travel to write. Your travels only add to what you'll share in your stories. I envy you your journeys. Really, where has the time gone. I had to give up winning NANO to get my book published this year, but it was promised for 2018. LOL So it had to get done. But I love the way you've tackled your goals. Me, I'm to impatient. :)
    I'm still working on my goals for 2020 and struggling to come up with something for the new WEP challenge. Just can't seem to get it right this time.

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    1. Thanks for popping in, Renee. I thought winning NaNo was the reason you published, but I was wrong. Oh boy. I began reading your latest and it thoroughly creeped me out. And I write vampire stories! All the best with sales! Yep. I'm still going with rapid release which means I get get at least 3 in my vampire series ready and am working on my fourth.

      I really wish you could get inspired for Footprints. My inspiration came from an old story from RFW I'd written and then a Foxtel show I watched, LOL. We'd love to see you! Missed you sooooo much!

      You have a wonderful Christmas season and Prosperous New Year, my friend! Hopefully see you around the ridges more in 2020.

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    2. And no, I never give up opportunities to travel. It definitely makes my stories richer as my setting is usually a character.

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    3. I'll see you for Footprints, but it's not because I have anything worth reading. But I do want to participate. Sorry for the creepiness. I tried to balance it out with the Quaids and their continuing struggles, and love story, but we'll, you tell me. Does it balance?
      Congrats on your writing. What fun you'll have when it's release time!
      Wishing you the same for the season!

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  24. First off, Denise: may 2020 be your self-publishing year with great reviews and soaring sales. Second, I'm a plotter - most of the time. Okay, sometimes the ending is foggy. Initially, Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey was my 'quest guide' - I even wrote one NaNo draft novel using the Heroine's version. In recent years/drafts, I've been guided by K M Weiland's version of the Three Act structure using her Scrivener template.

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    1. Roland, if I follow anything it's the Hero's Journey, especially for the Ordinary World and the Quest. Then it goes awry. Yep, I too use K M Weiland's Three Act structure but now I'm told you should go Four Act structure. No wonder I tear my hair out.

      You have a wonderful Christmas season and Prosperous New Year, my friend! Thanks for the good wishes for my self-publishing!

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    2. I looked at the Four Act structure - and other methods - before revising my WIP. But nothing worked as well as the 3 Act structure for the plotline. Hero/Heroine Journey only works for certain types of tale - like epic fantasy.

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    3. Thanks Roland. I'd just like to find something that works for me. I guess you have to experiment.

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  25. Wow! Do you go with a group of writerly friends when you tour your books' settings?

    As far as plotting--I once was a full blooded pantser. I wrote like I was watching a movie unravel in my mind. Now? Well, after pantsing for the past 30 plus years, I've become a bit more tame. I believe I've only hard-core outlined *one* of my books. It feels restricting to do that, but a lot of pantsing goes on in between the lines, you know?

    While I pants, I do a lot of research and pausing to see where the story may take me. There was once where the story ended about 20 chapters early (LOL!) so I had to go back a chapter and have the character choose something different. It's like a pick-your-own adventure book as the author writes it, right? xD

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥


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  26. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Sorry it took so long for me to stop by.
    Travel is the best reason to delay publishing a bit.
    I use to host a lot more authors than I do now, but once in a while I get so excited that I take time out to do it. Perhaps one day someone will get excited about something I've written and host me.
    I'm rally looking forward to your vampire series.

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