Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It’s 11:20PM here in the Pacific Time Zone and I’m just now writing my IWSG Post. Not surprised, are you? Let me explain.

I like to publish snippets of my memoir, as I work on collecting stories from my past. If you’ve read any of them you probably have met my parents and you would know that they were bigger than life itself. They liked to live life out loud and not miss a moment. That’s a hard thing for a kid to live up to. I personally believe that children of folks like this go one of two ways…they find a way to live life even bigger or they become those beautiful little shrinking violets who are content to live in the shadow of others. Don’t believe me; ask my kids, I have one of each.

I’m willing to bet that right about now any of you reading this have a very definite idea about which way this kid went. I admit I’ve spent most of my life center stage, living large and loud. Never had a lot of money, but I’ve also never let that stop me from going where I want and getting what I need. Have I been burned…oh you bet, plenty of times, but I have also tried to never let that stop me,

 Now let’s talk about my writing. This is an area where I am probably more insecure than most. I have all these stories swirling around in my head, many of them about my family, that I want to tell. But, I don’t want to tell them just any old way. I want them to be special. I want you to enjoy them. I want you to know these folks the way I do, whether they are real of the characters of my imagination. This would be the reason that I have three full length novels written and not fully edited, sitting around waiting to see the light of day.

This year, 2017, I made two promises to myself. 1. I would post every month on my blog for the IWSG, and 2. I would dust these novels off, edit them, send them out to beta readers, and hopefully even hire a professional editor. Then query them and try to have them published.

So, today I’m late, but this IWSG Post is gonna go up .

The question of the month is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? How did that turn out?

Yes, yes, and yes. I just recently took one of my novels and tried my hand at adapting t as a short story for submission to an anthology. It was painful. I agonized over it for weeks. When I had what I thought was a pretty tight little story, I sent it off to two beta readers. Both are trusted friends, published authors, whom I know to be honest and insightful. Their critiques were brutal. Honest, but brutal none the less. My short story was gonna require a complete rewrite, if I was gonna take their advice, and why wouldn’t I? Did I mention that they both said basically the same thing.

I thought seriously about scrapping the whole idea. But, I rewrote the story anyway. When I was finished, I really thought it was pretty good, but I didn’t like it much. Why? Well other than the characters it had very little resemblance to my original story. I had to eliminate my favorite character and give what was predominately ‘his’ story to someone else.

I sent it back out to the betas anyway. The one who was able to get back to me, said I had basically nailed it. I still didn’t like the story much, or at least I didn’t like the changes I had to make, but I started cleaning up the little errors and formatting to submit it anyway.

Deadline for submission was midnight yesterday and more than once during the day, I serious thought about scrapping the whole idea AGAIN. To console myself, I went to something I had written that I really liked. It was a memoir piece about my parents. I was reminded of how they lived their lives and how I lived most of mine. I started to wonder how, when, where and why I had become so insecure, such a coward. I sat right back down at the computer, finished up the work on my short story and hit that SUBMIT button.

I went to bed exhausted and had some pretty strange dreams. This morning I woke up feeling like a winner. I don’t know if my story will make it into this particular anthology, but I made it.l I made it past a hurdle. I found a little piece of me that I want to cultivate and protect. I want to write and I want to be published and I’m not gonna stop trying.
First post I read this morning was by my good friend Donna Hole (one of those terrifying betas, by the way) and she inspired me to write this. Her musical selections also inspired me to post the song at the very beginning. One of my favorites. Thank you Donna. Thank you IWSG. Today I really needed this.

Now go on over HERE and click on some of the other posts for the IWSG. You know you want to. I know you won’t be disappointed by what you will find.


  1. You finished the story and you hit submit. Whether the story gets selected or not, you've accomplished something important and real.

  2. I relate to so so much that you say here that I could have written something very similar except for the parts about actually writing stuff to give to beta readers and submitting and stuff like that. Kudos to you for doing something at least and actually getting something done.

    Don't stop trying!!! ...which is what I should be telling myself as well.

    But I'll cheer you on--Don't stop trying!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  3. How WONDERFUL to wake up feeling like a winner. Hug that to yourself on dark days and darker nights. And keep writing.

  4. Better late than never :) I am so glad you kicked yourself in the butt, found inspiration in your own writing, and got that story sent off. Woohoo! Yes, feel good about your accomplishment.

    I love Garth Brooks; and really love this song. It is great for the ego booster, and does make you want to "live life out loud" to the best of your ability. I see you have frequently done much more than just survive your life, you've made it awesome.

    Congrats on hitting that submit button. I hope all that sun and salty air helped clear your writing mind.

    Later Girlfriend. Be safe out there on the road.

  5. It's hard when you don't like a story despite what your critique partners say. That added to the pressure. But you did it.
    And who knows? Both writers who've won the IWSG Anthology Contest had crazy stories like that, coming so close to not sending it at all. But that's why you send it.
    I was the good kid who never got in trouble. Yeah, boring.

  6. You never know unless you send, can be more of a pain when you don't like it though. But feeling like a winner is sure a win any day.

  7. I never tried to turn a novel into a short story. It must be extremely hard, cutting out 90% of your tale to fit the short story word count. Kudos to you for even trying. What I did attempt, and successfully, was turning a chapter of an unpublished novel into a short story. I did change the characters but I left the main conflict intact and most of the text. It worked beautifully and was published long ago.

  8. Cheers to finishing, submitting, and making the best of what you could. Pruning down a story always hurts, because of course you have to remove things you loved. I guess just take solace in knowing that other great ideas will come in the future. It's not like you've exhausted your 'great idea' bank. Besides, the experience from this alone has to be worth it. I don't know if I could trim down any of my stories like that.

  9. FAE ~
    I borrowed my philosophy on writing from Mark Twain:

    "Never put off until tomorrow
    what you can do the day after tomorrow."

    That, of course, accounts for the large body of written material I have produced in my 57 years.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    Check out my new blog @
    (Link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

  10. Ah! I missed your post because I was in bed by the time it went up. And have I been back? No. Not until today. Good on you for actually submitting. Whether you get in or not, that was a HUGE win. It will be that much easier to hit the submit button next time. You can't succeed if you've never tried, eh?

  11. I've got a really old one still simmering in the back of my mind. I WILL write it. If I live long enough. lol