The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.
Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.
This month's question is:
"What's one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?"
Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. If you want to see how I answered the question, have a look below.
"Simon, look what I got you!" I set a bag covered with tiny paw prints on the table and looked around for the large, gray cat who somewhere along the way had taken up residence on my sailboat.
After checking his usual hiding spots, I resorted to a surefire trick to get Simon to come running - pouring milk into a saucer.
A gray blur of fur tore past me and landed on the table.
"Hand it over, lady," Simon growled. "And it better be that full-fat milk, not that skim crap you keep trying to pawn off on me."
After he lapped up the last drop of milk, Simon pushed the saucer off of the table. Fortunately, I'm used to this sort of thing and caught it before it landed on the floor.
"What's this?" Simon asked, sniffing at the bag on the table.
"It's a present for you." I opened up the bag and pulled out a red harness and leash. "Now we can go for walks around the marina."
Simon stared at me with those strange clock face eyes of his. It wasn't a pleasant stare either. It was the type of stare that's usually followed by a demonstration of how sharp Simon's claws are. Just ask my throw pillows.
"You think I would ever wear a harness and leash," he hissed as his tail started swishing back and forth angrily. "You're even dumber than you look, lady, if you believe that I would ever put that on."
"But it's the marina rules, Simon. All animals have to be on a leash if they want to go outside."
"I'm a cat. The rules don't apply to me. If you want to put something on a leash, go talk to that beagle on the boat next to us. Dogs are stupid. They love to follow rules. I'm sure he'd slobber all over you in excitement if you took him for a walk."
"Enough, lady," he snapped. "Jeez. You'd think with all of these writing groups you're a part of and this stupid book you're working on, you'd at least have learned one simple thing by now."
"What's that?" I asked as I put the harness and leash back in the bag. Maybe I could exchange it for some catnip instead.
"A leopard can't change his spots," Simon said as he stretched out on the table.
"I'm a cat. You can't go around changing things in these stupid stories of yours and have me start acting like a dog. No one is going to believe that a cat is going to jump for joy over wearing a leash."
He rolled over onto his back and added smugly, "Especially a cat as smart as me."
"Just because you can travel in time, doesn't mean you're smart," I said.
Simon glared at me. "I wouldn't be too sure about that, lady. After all, who got who to start buying full-fat milk. Now, rub my belly and then get back to rewriting this story so that the characters are believable."
One of the lessons I've learned while working on this book of mine is the need to keep characters true to themselves. There's nothing worse than reading through a draft and thinking, "Huh, why would so-and-so do that? It doesn't make any sense, especially after the last scene where he said he hates doing that."
While my main characters are pretty well fleshed out in terms of motivation, habits, traits etc., the secondary ones aren't. Which makes for some leopards who seem to have changed their spots halfway through the book.
I guess it's a good thing I have Simon around to point out the error of my ways. And insist on getting full-fat milk. It really does taste better.
Do you think a leopard can change his spots? Do you think a person's character can change? If you're a writer, what's one valuable lesson you've learned?
Internet connection has been really scarce lately while we've been cruising in the Bahamas, so apologies if it takes a while before I'm able to respond to your comments and/or visit your blog.
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