If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Dash to 'The End'

                                 


I’m on a deadline right now. I’ve said that phrase so often, it feels like a mantra. Sometimes the deadlines are self-imposed, other times, not so much. This time, it’s both. I have a new manuscript due at Henery Press by June, and I promised it for December – gulp. And I’ve taken on a lot of blogging obligations. Oh yes, there’s those pesky romance short stories that I write for the Trues. I consider the shorts to be my writer’s version of a vacation. Different genre, different style, different outcomes from my usual fare. Did I mention I have a day job too? Yep, I’m a full time paralegal who puts in eight to ten hours a day. Then there’s eight cats, three birds, and a husband. All rescues. Well, maybe not the husband, but some days it feels that way. So, you know where the time goes.

Let me say this loud and proud, “I am not a workaholic.” My writing life is fun time for me. I manage to fit it in a couple of hours before work, a couple of hours after and one day a weekend. It works for me. I don’t feel whole without a story perking along. Sounds like I have it all figured out. Not!

Whenever I get near the end of a project, I get the heebie-jeebies. My hands sweat. I fumble for words. I just know that whatever I’ve written is the worst thing known to man and no sane person will ever want to read it. It’s happening right now. I’m sure this is the worst blog post ever. Who cares what I feel? Deep Breath. Put one finger in front of the other, and soldier on with the post.

Over the years, I’ve learned writer’s anxiety is my best friend. Articles and stories I’ve written that flowed from start to finish are my albatrosses, I worry if I type ‘the end’ and feel like Stephen J. Cannell looks when he rips the page from his typewriter. My knee jerk reaction is to put those stories in a drawer and pull them out in a month. I nearly always find they need to be handled with tongs and only from a distance. The stuff I was sure was junk, well, that’s the stuff I put away for a week, then when I pull it out, I nearly always find it’s got great bones, good storyline, and well developed characters.

The heart pounding, OMG, this is awful anxiety I feel when writing tells me that I’m hitting my own nerves. I’m going deep into the story and the characters and I am putting something of myself on the line. That’s my goal as a writer, not to change the world, but to share the human experience and have my readers enjoy the experience. I always hope that some of that painful honesty bleeds through the story to the reader and he or she comes away with something new from each of my works.

Writer’s anxiety? Embrace it; it can be your best friend.

What about you? Do you feel the gut wrenching anxiety as you write? Readers, how does a well-crafted story make you feel?

22 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

I think we all suffer from anxiety that what seemed so good as we wrote it is really terrible. I've discovered that I can manage to convince myself that I've spelled my own name wrong if I worry about it too much. I think your procedure of putting it away for a while is a good one. Of course it needs tweaks--when I read my own things that have been edited and published I wish I could tweak them--but rereading them after a break does give a new perspective. And thank goodness for critique groups and beta readers!

E. B. Davis said...

I admit that I fear making mistakes I see in books I read, mostly by novice writers. The ability to analyze other writers' work deserts me when I read my own. I nit pick my words, and then another writer will point out that the entire scene could be accomplished in an entirely different way--as if I can only see trees and not the forest. Fear swells in the pit of my stomach, and I take another few days to put the manuscript away hoping the next time I see it, fresh eyes will reveal the best way to execute my plot! Anxiety--more like High Anxiety, Kait!

Kait said...

@KM - Oh so true. I call it a cold eye read after the story has been put away for a bit. It helps to see what is there, not what I think is there. I haven't found a critique group yet, but I do live and die by beta readers.

Kait said...

@EB High Anxiety indeed, I'm so glad I'm not alone in my suffering.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I am a pantser, followed by a slow and deliberate revision and self-editing process. It’s unlikely I will produce two books a year, let alone three. So I don’t experience that anxiety. I know the early stuff sucks and I know I’ll revise it. I only get anxious when I say I’m done; until then I can fix anything.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

Deadlines and anxiety, oh yes. But when I don't have a deadline I get anxious that I need to be writing.

Gloria Alden said...

E.B. I'm on a deadline with myself for my fourth book. I'm in the reformatting stage which requires making it smaller and then revising as I go along changing words and phrases here and there so there aren't big gaps in the lines plus looking for those glitches neither I nor my critique partners or beta readers found. My granddaughter, who is working on my cover, wants to know how many pages there will be so she can create the spine of the book. Until I finish the reformatting, I only have a vague idea of that.

And yes, we always have those insecurities. I think it's the rare writer who doesn't.

Gloria Alden said...

Sorry, Kait. Since E.B. posted this, I thought it was her even though I was confused by the cats and birds. :-) I didn't think she had them. I know cats are cats, but what kind of birds do you have. I have two old African ring-necked doves I got for my classroom many years ago, who refuse to die and a canary named Pavarotti, who is also aging, but still sings.

Terry Shames said...

I'm a "crash on through to the end" writer. Like Jim, I know I'll be revising so I don't worry so much about the first draft. And then it becomes a matter of the business end of writing--editing. Like Warren, what makes me anxious is not writing. I'm on a month-long promo blitz and don't have much time to write. It makes me much more anxious than whatever I'm putting down.

Kait said...

@ Jim - I envy you your calm.

Kait said...

@ Warren - I so agree, that's why I do the Trues sometimes, always want a project in the hopper.

Kait said...

@Gloria - self-imposed deadlines can be the most stressful. The reformatting process is always difficult. I use Calibri for mine, and follow that with Amazon's preview for the Swope books. It seems there is always something from format to format. I'm glad I'm not alone in my fears.

Kait said...

@ Gloria - ah, the birds. My husband 'adopted' a harlequin macaw and an umbrella cockatoo. I added a turquoise green cheeked conure to the mix. All are very young birds, the oldest being 10. The macaw and cockatoo talk, often. The conure, s/he tweets.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Kait,
High Anxiety is it! I'm so grateful for my beta readers/editor who rakes me and my manuscript over the coals. The hard part for me is being finished, really finished, and letting the story out into the world. The perfectionist in me is a drag.

Di Eats the Elephant said...

I never thought of it before you said that self-imposed deadlines are the worst. I think you are onto something there. I never want to end up having to stress myself over failing to meet a self-imposed deadline and so I don't at them. They are false anyway. And I don't want that anxiety. Then again I sometimes work best with an external deadline. And of course would then love an extension to do some clean up and tweaking. How does one resolve this dilemma? I mean I will seriously send myself into tailspin for missing a self imposed goal and wonder if I need to be committed. Maybe I should confer with a different kind of professional, lol.

Kait said...

@ Terry, I'm beginning to think I need to take a page from your and Jim's books. Good luck with Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek. It's on my TBR and I'm looking forward to it.

Kait said...

@Shari - so true, beta readers are the best. Yes, sending the child out into the world is always hard, but it's satisfying too.

Kait said...

@Di - LOL - When I let myself down I tend to beat myself up the most. External deadlines, I can always meet those, the self-imposed ones - well, I should know what's reasonable...and if I miss them...I am a goal oriented person, it's taken years to figure out how to be realistic about them.

Peg Brantley said...

You always think it's going to be "different" next time. After all, you've grown as a writer, right? There will be no anxious moments (well, days) and the story will come together perfectly because you've tweaked the way you oh, say... named your characters. And then you discover that your tweaking and growth made absolutely no difference. You are in the same place you were before.

And then you remember that you turned out a darned good book before and just need to learn to Trust Your Process.

Great post! Thanks!

Kait said...

Thanks Peg. Yep, it is exactly like that. Except, there are times when I crave the anxiety. It lets me know I am pushing the edges of my story. It's an odd concept, but it does work for me.

Polly Iyer said...

I commiserate with you, Kait. I've never experienced anxiety like I had with my last book, and that's because I announced a release date. Never again. I've now pulled out a book I wrote about 10 years ago and couldn't believe it had been that long. My views have changed, the story slightly, but it will be finished and published. There will be NO pressure.

Kait said...

@Polly - Glad that you are not putting yourself under pressure. This job is hard enough! Looking forward to the release.