How Can Anyone Be Sure?

Infinitely round and round… 

The first Wednesday of each month, the Insecure Writers Support Group hosts a blog hop. A blog hop is accomplished through internet magic where links to all of our blog posts end up congregated together on a page. Each month a question or questions are generated to stimulate the bloggers’ thoughts about the insecurities of writing. Bloggers can choose to answer the question(s) of the month or discuss other aspects of the insecurities of writing. 

This link is to the page listing those who have participated in recent months and are probably participating this month:

The 2nd of June questionsFor how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Photo by Angely Acevedo on Unsplash

I’ll answer the second question first.

Of course it depends on my writing experience and the number of stories under my belt!

Since I’ve never competed writing a book and I’ve completed very few stories, it therefore follows I’ve not really developed a pattern of shelving first drafts and taking up the re-drafting at some point later.

That was quick, so now to the first question: for individual scenes I write them one day and mercilessly edit them the next day. That’s as close as I ever get the the idea of re-drafting. Usually I mercilessly edit them over and over and over and then bury them in a binder, never to be touched again.

I’ve written a dozen or more first scenes for a dozen or more stories, the initial seeds of the ideas I come up with. Before I let anyone see them I lose my nerve. I become afraid of what others might think of where I’m going with the story. I shelve them indefinitely and rarely finish them. They go nowhere.

I seem to be intimidated by the dire warnings from the writers who give writing advise. When I see I’ve violated some dictum one of those established writers lay out there for people like me, I edit my first scene over and over, trying to follow every bit of guidance. Maybe it’s because I haven’t found my voice. Do I want to write a dark mystery or a light, cozy mystery. Is it a romance or a thriller? Is it a mystery or suspense? I seem to find myself producing a platypus (“Hey, where’s Perry?”).

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

I became very discouraged at one point when a writing advisor asked me I should write my passion as nonfiction. I had written a discussion of differences between interpretations of a religious issue as a dialog between two characters. He thought I should just write it as nonfiction. I wanted to explain I like to write dialog, or conversations between multiple people, where the characters are trying to hammer out possible answers to questions where no answer is really verifiable. Any or all of the characters in a fictional discussion might be espousing ideas which are “wrong” but at least they get the viewpoints out-there for consideration. By having these ideas come from fictional character’s mouths (or as thoughts revealed through a 1st person point of view, or by an omniscient narrator), I have a way to think-out-loud. I don’t need to say to my readers, “This is what I have been taught to believe is true and all the other viewpoints I am discussing in my writing are viewpoints from other schools of thought.” Actually, most often, I’m not sure there is any way I can be one hundred percent sure the way I have been taught to believe is true. Often those other schools of thought are just as consistent and have just as much merit. It’s often just a matter of differences in how things are prioritized.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

When this writing advisor asked why I don’t just write nonfiction, I became angry because I though he was contradicting other advise I believe he had given. He had advised to write-from-your-passion. I am passionate about these questions about which I struggle. The thing is, these issues are not the kind of things where there is any way to really prove the truth of one interpretation or another. You take a stand and hope you picked the one closest to the truth.

Y’all may have discerned I am passionate about things related to how I should live my life attempting to follow the way the Christian Bible is trying to advise me to live, if I could just understood it correctly. I have more difficulty because I am blessed (or cursed) with the ability to appreciate the different interpretations of Scripture which seem to direct me to live my life in slightly different ways. If I can see things from all these different viewpoints, how can I make up my mind? I can never really know for sure who really has got the right interpretation. People in real life can argue at length about these differences in interpretation. It’s fun to write about fictional characters hashing over them.

Photo by cloudvisual on Unsplash

Are there others of you who are writing a kind of fiction where your characters are wrestling with “unprovable” positions related to interpreting religious writings? Have any of you written fiction with characters who struggle because they don’t know which religious school of thought might be the bandwagon on which they should ride?

Photo by Maria Thalassinou on Unsplash

I’ve found an example of this kind of fiction. I’m reading this novel written by a person with whom I have connected. I present it as an example of the kind of fiction I’m wondering if any of you also write. The title is Caught in the Winds, written by LD Wenzel. He has also just begun posting to a YouTube channel where he plans to discuss writing fiction about folks who struggle in shifting environments while navigating through life still honoring the sacred dimensions of their lives.

6 thoughts on “How Can Anyone Be Sure?

  1. One of the first things I learned when my career began was that not everybody’s advice is for me. You have to listen to your instincts. You have a passion for writing. Follow the passion and see where it takes you. We all have our own path. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Returning the blog visit; thanks for stopping by my blog!
    My comment is for this month’s and last month’s posts of yours:

    You have an interesting passion! I would read a book that pits characters against each other and grapples with opposing religious ideologies. I don’t think it has to be nonfiction, either.

    My suggestion (not advice) is to write an epistolary novel. Create a group of fictional characters who blog about their ideas. Maybe add fictional tweet essays, social media posts, and dialog in the fictional comment sections of your characters’ posts.

    The amazing thing about epistolary novels is they seem so random, but when the randomness is woven together, it tells a compelling story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks. I’d like to drag you in as a reviewer.

    I’ve got the first scene of a story LIVE on Kindle Vella, but who knows when they’ll ever open it up for readers. I’ve got first drafts of most scenes of the main plot, as it is now. I’m thinking I may make what is now a subplot become more of the main plot.

    Thank you for suggesting an epistolary approach. It’s a great idea. It will work well when I move the subplot more to the front and center.


  4. Hi Larry and blog readers.
    Was quite surprised to see my novel “Caught in the Winds” feature on this blog post. Would very much like to be a part of this conversation. Greetings, L. D. (Larry Dean) Wenzel


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