Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG - Personalizing Characters

Happy Insecure Writer's Wednesday! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop where writer's get together to share their insecurities and advice. Join us by clinking on the the IWSG link HERE.

Today's Question: Have you ever slipped any of your personal info into your character, either by accident or on purpose?

I've done both. What's more interesting is my readers seem to project my protagonist's traits on to me. On the flip side, when I wrote a hat tip to H.P. Lovecraft's short, He titled The Tunnels where I intended the protagonist to be female (without introducing specifics) my male readers assumed the protagonist was male. 

On a side note, many of Stephen King's protagonists have been writers. Most writers write from what they know, because people want to read about the intricacies of work. When they're reading about a writer they want to be informed on their process. When they're reading about an exotic dancer, they're expecting to be walked through her dressing room.
How do you inform your characters?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Surprise Product! Sometimes we don't know where we're going until we get there.

It's that time of the month again. No, the other one. It's time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group post. Join us in our collective insecurities as we offer advice and release our inner demons here!

I'm always surprising myself with my writing. I never know what I'm going to get. I used to think it was an issue due to lack of experience, thinking if I just outlined heavily enough and followed the right formula I would get out exactly what I set out to create. 

Stephen King's, On Writing is arguably the best book he's ever written. I realized it's ok not to know where you're going before you get there. I love his analogy of excavating an artifact. The stories already there, you just don't know what it is until you start chipping away at it.

I started my master thesis as a mystery novel and through two years of workshop it morphed into an autobiographical fiction.

What are some of your surprise products? Feel free to list them in the comments below. Hope everyone is having a fantastic start to fall! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Being Championed by Strunk and White - My Pet Peeves

Let's get insecure together, because it's IWSG first Wednesday! Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. This blog hop is a brave space for writers to share what we're insecure about and offer others advice and support. CLICK HERE TO JOIN!

This post may come off as high-handed, so let me preface my point by saying I cringe daily reading old work of mine that has lots of problems with bad editing and obnoxious sentimentalities. 

Living in San Francisco, I currently work as an editor-in-chief for, senior copy writer at, and a writer for I'm considering tacking on advice columnist to the list, because I want to be Cheryl Strayed, E. Jean, and Jenny Lawson. 

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to reading, writing, editing is when readers/writers point out inconsistent grammar and editing flaws, inconsistently. This. Happens. I have one image to give them. 

 If Strunk and White said to keep the Oxford Comma, then I'm gonna use the Oxford Comma. Can't settle an argument on grammar and the Google Oracle is only creating more confusion? Look above for divine intervention.

Thoughts? Feelings? Am I being too prickly?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fielding Rejection Until You're Carved Out of Wood

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group post! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a brave space where we share our insecurities and offer up useful advice. Click the link to join!

The most valuable lesson being a writer has taught me is how to take rejection. Whether it's losing contests, being denied grants and residencies, or just flat out denied representation we learn where our deep inner strength lies and how to tap into it. Finding strength is a breakthrough! If you don't have "the breakthrough" it's only a matter of time until you say, "I suck." and give up.

Every time a pitch gets shot down by an editor, I'm told by a publisher, "This is not for us.", or I'm given a scathing review I tap into the strong core center of my being. That hardened core has taken so many beatings it's now carved out of wood. If I wasn't a writer, I wouldn't have learned to be this strong. My breakthrough and the IWSG community are obscenely important to me. 

Do you feel the same way? What's the most important lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Saying, "I quit!" Then laughing at myself.

It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group post! IWSG is a safe place for writer's to share their insecurities and support one another. Click on the link to join: SIGN UP FOR INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP!

My website is down. I can't upload any media. After spending a small fortune to get multiple hacks off my site I can't link to my new published work. Every freelancer knows. This. Is. Bad! You don't get offered more assignments when publishers and editors can't see your latest feats.

So I leave my apartment in disgust to brainstorm a new career path, and it only takes a few blocks of marching for me to laugh and turn around. Being a writer is like being a show person. What else are you going to do?

Above is my article, It's Okay to Be Selfish with Your Writing in Author's Publish Magazine. I should take my own advice.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG - Weirdest Research Project

It's the first Wednesday of month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group post. IWSG is a blog hop where we discuss our insecurities and share advice. Join HERE!

 The weirdest writing project I've researched was/is a resent one. I've been teaching a writing workshop called Bare Naked Prose once a week, and I've been rapping out with other San Francisco writers on crowd funding a poetry workshop for homeless in the Tenderloin district. 

It's been years since I lived in the Loin, and to prepare myself for more recent street activity I been re-reading books like William T. Vollmann's, Whores for Gloria and back issues of SF Gate

It's helpful to know prices for hair, sex, and other things. Also, if Vollmann's report is still relevant special rates go for scholarly interviews and portrait photographs. None are topics I've ever been familiar with.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


It's the first Wednesday of the month. Time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group! IWSG is a brave space where writers get together to commiserate with each other's insecurities and share our support. Click on the link to join.

This week's been rough. While it's great to be waiting on a release date from a small publishing house on one of my novels, I'm crushed.

I just got rejected for the UNLV PhD BMI Fellowship in Fiction. I wanted this bad.

They were nice about it.


At least they didn't start off with Dear Looser, but...

We thank you so much for your application to the UNLV Creative Writing program. At this time, we have filled the fiction PhD spot for the 2017-18 academic year. I'm very sorry to inform you that you will not be offered admission to our program. We accept one candidate in poetry and one in fiction every year, so the program is very competitive. 

One candidate! They only accept one candidate?! It's an awesome program, too. It's so awesome I'm 100% sure I will never get accepted, ever. While it's not the FINISH LINE dream it's been THE dream for the last few months. I've spent so many hours working on this application it's hard to even quantify how much work was put in.

That's my insecurity for the month. My life in academia is probably over. 

I've been writing, writing, writing, but it's hard not to dwell. Any creative ways you keep your spring from clouding over?