Wednesday, October 2, 2019

3 Reasons You Have To Read To Write #AmWriting #CreativeWriting #WritingTools #IWSG

Welcome to this month's post of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group! The name says it all. If you're a writer in need of support, JOIN HERE!

October 2 question - It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 2 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

1. - Stephen King, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time (or the tools) to write. 

If you don't love reading, why are you writing? You have to a passion for what you're doing. If you don't, no one else will.

2. - Reading doesn't adulterate your writing. Guess what folks. None of our ideas are original. I've worked at four book stores and libraries. Everything under the sun has been written about before.

Most writers I have taught in my workshops have favorite artists they prefer to emulate. As you're developing your chops you use other peoples voices until they morph into your own.

3. - Hunter S. Thompson would type F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels one by one to emulate his syntax and cadence. 

This is not an uncommon practice. Why reinvent the wheel?

Do you agree? If not, why? Please leave your answers in the comment section below. I heart comments! I will always return a comment unless a house falls on me or I'm abducted by aliens. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

3 Reasons This Is Every Writer's Dream Retreat #ShakespearCo #Paris #IWSG #AmWriting

This is a place where we can share our doubts and fears with others who can commiserate!

Join Alex J. Cavanaugh's tribe HERE

September 4 question - If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

Shakespear Co., Paris. I'll give 3 reasons why.

#1. You literally live in a bookstore. No joke. And it's on the left bank. In. Paris. For free! 

They only except "tumbleweeds". You can't apply for the writer's retreat. You have to pack-up, go to Paris and charm the beret and clove cigarette off of whatever literati is working there at the time. No, 'first come first serve' or payment needed.

#2. You're surrounded by other artists from around the world. It's dense, and you're bound to O'D on inspiration. I've collected books about this artist in residency experiment. They write books about it. Enough said.

#3. They have archives from other artists who were sold there and have stayed there since 1919. You can study about them on old fashioned index cards. (Again, I have only bought the books.) 

What is your dream writer's retreat and/or place to write. Let me know in the comment section below. 

I always return comments unless a house falls on me or I'm abducted by aliens. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

#IWSG #Writing #Surprise

August 7 question - Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 7 posting of the IWSG are Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jacqui Murray, Tamara Narayan, and LG Keltner!

I've had one belated response to a submission, and it's not even note worthy. I do hold on to all my rejections. I have a friend who laminated all her rejection slips and made them into a large table mat. Mine could probably be made into a cozy tent.

I've had at least a thousand submissions rejected in my writing career. At. Least.

When I've written for others, trying to capture their voice I was sure I was off. Worried it would piss the interviewee off due to their feeling misread or attacked somehow. 

But sometimes, just sometimes, trying to capture another's voice helped me find my own. Does that make any sense? I've been surprised at the depth my own voice took when trying to sound like someone else. 

Maybe my skills show up better for others. 

What about your writing has taken you by surprise? If you've ever gotten a late response to a submission that was positive please share. I want to live vicariously!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

#IWSG 3 Things I Project Into My Writing

It's the first Wednesday of the month! Welcome to Alex J. Cavanaugh's writer's support group. Join us and/or check us out by clicking here -

The awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre,Jennifer Lane, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

The Question of the Month is "What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?" 

Those who have read my work probably have picked up on these three things. 

1. My characters are usually female, always loving and giving, yet can turn aggressive as a grenade when defending herself and her own. What do I mean? She can turn as black as the fat cat's market trade while her intentions are as pure and white as a dove's.

2. My protagonist is always flawed, and he or she is self aware enough to actively fight against it.

3. She/he constantly is second guessing herself, and shows up for others more than herself - even though she's self deprecating and will never admit it. My favorite quote from Brittany Wolfe (my latest protagonist). 
"Yeah, ok. I helped him out. But don't spread it around. You'll ruin my bad reputation."

I heart comments! I'll always return a comment unless I'm abducted by aliens or a house fall on me.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

#IWSG Top 3 Reasons Mystery Is My Favorite Genre

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world and lend support to our comrades! We post every first Wednesday of the month. Join us by clicking the link above.

The co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster,Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte! 

June 5 question:
Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I ghost write for artists and execs, I freelance when it comes to journalism and basic copy, but my all time high is reading and writing noir mystery novels.

1. Tying up loose ends.
When in life do you get to just wrap up all your problems? Yes, it takes a ton of plot preparation. Yes, you can't be assured it'll turn out the way you thought it would, but you have to go down to Hell to come back up and re-emerge from places where most wont take two steps out the door.

2. Noir mystery is great for satire and political commentary. It's easier to state your position when you sneak it into an unsolved mystery. There's a reason there's more fact in fiction.

3. My heroines serve as great female remodels. 
This helps me sleep at night. I keep them flawed, but in the end they always maintain an unshakable moral compass and a deep inner strength.

What are your favorite genres? Please leave a comment below. I will always return comments unless a house falls on me or I'm abducted by aliens.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

#IWSG My # 1 Experience Learning Language Has Power.

Alex J. Cavanuagh has created this blog hop to encourage writers to open up and share our perceived slights and concerns with others. 

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG. To sign up click HERE
The awesome co-hosts for the May 1 posting of the IWSG are Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin!

This month's question - What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I wanted to be a writer ever since I knew what writing was. The first time I harnessed its influence I was seven. I'm still looking for that same glimpse of power. 

My audience, my family of a considerable size, gathered around after Easter Sunday brunch. I had written (mapped out in story boards) a two act play about finding a baby on the beach. In front of the full audience in my grandma's house we walked onto the living room stage, I holding a baby doll wrapped in a towel, and my cousin following me around. 

Premise - We had found a baby on the beach and were looking for its mother.

Conclusion - We unceremoniously dropped the baby to the ground announcing, "We don't have to search anymore, because the baby is dead."

I was a bit confused about the resurrection, but felt drunk with power at the look of shock on everyone's faces. As a teenager the memory caused me deep embarrassment. Now, I can laugh. 

I'm astounded at the power of autocorrect. Whoever invented autocorrect can rote in ducking help!

When did you first learn language has power?

I love comments! I always return comments unless I've been abducted by aliens or a house drops on me. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

#IWSG 1 Wish - Writing About Uncomfortable Truths

Welcome to Alex J. Cavanaugh's monthly support group post. Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

April 3 question: If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

The awesome co-hosts for the April 3 posting of the IWSG are
J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken! 


I arrived in Japan to work for my friend Yukon on a ghost writing project. Dream job. I'll tell you even more about it when I get back stateside so I don't jinx myself. Paranoia, but that's why we're all here right?

I've been busy and allowing myself to have fun even though my writerly self doubt gets in the way. -Gasp- Deadlines.

For this month's question, my wish to help me write one scene in my shorts and novels would be getting out of my own neurotic way when it comes to my character's love consummating scene.

At the risk of sounding crude, I despise metaphor when it comes to sex and death. And that's what the human condition really comes down to, right? The use of metaphor is typically shame based. To be taken seriously and have the work pack a punch it's better to be blunt. This. Is. Hard. There's not enough wine in California to make me more comfortable when squirming with hard truths within my work.

What would your wish be? I always reply back and trade comments unless I'm abducted by aliens or a house falls on me.