Each month, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group gives us a question to answer. I usually forget about the question, or I choose to ignore it because there’s something else I want to/need to talk about. But this month, the IWSG question gets to the heart of my chronic insecurities.
When do you know your story is ready?
Short Answer: As soon as I have a story that’s ready, I’d be happy to tell you.
Long Answer: My Tomorrow News Network short story series has been “ready” several times now. The first time, my stories were ready because:
- I’d set self-imposed deadlines for each story. When a deadline came, whatever I had had to be good enough because I needed to move on to the next story.
- The problem was that most of my stories were rush jobs. They felt amateurish to me. Even though I’d created my own world populated with my own characters, at times my stories read like bad fan fiction.
So I worked with an editor and did a lot of studying on my own. I learned a bunch of writing rules and editing techniques (remove adverbs, avoid the verb to be, cut your manuscript’s length by 15%). After all that, my stories were ready because:
- I’d fixed the specific issues my editor had identified, I’d cut my manuscript’s length by the recommended amount, and I’d conformed my writing style to the rules I’d learned. My stories definitely felt more polished, more professional, but….
- I realized that my stories now suffered from something that I now call generic narrator syndrome. I can’t put my finger on what defines a generic narrator, but I know it when I see it. I think it happens because when everyone follows the exact same writing rules, we all end up having the exact same narrative voice.
So my challenge now is to establish a unique J.S. Pailly narrative voice for my stories. Not sure what that means. Don’t know yet what differentiates my voice from everyone else’s. But I think I’ll know it when I see it.
At that point, my stories will be ready. I hope.
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Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support group, a blog hop where insecure writers like myself can share our worries and offer advice and encouragement. Click here to find out more about IWSG and see a list of participating blogs.