Insecure Writers Want to Know
Two things trouble me in my longer works. One is that I stress over whether I’ve said the same thing before. Oh, not the exact words or situation. No. I wonder whether I’ve discussed this same point or theme before, and I’m just rehashing it again with no difference in outcome. Yes! I’m talking about repetition. Many times, I can’t see it in my own writing. Have you ever had this problem?
In my college memoir, I talk about the mother’s job as teacher to her children. I talk about how my kids come first—even when I went to college. I talk about my inferiority and the struggles I had while trying to raise a family and go to college. I talk about the struggles my special needs daughter has.
I still sometimes receive comments that say, “you’ve said this before.” And I’m thinking; “well, I’m reminding the reader what happened in chapter 4, or I’m trying to tie back to that first scene in order to move forward with the story line.” I think I’m making it easier for the reader to remember what I’m talking about. So she doesn’t need to look back to understand what I’m talking about in the present.
In a situation like this, what the writer needs to understand is whether another mention of the same point is different enough to warrant a new scene or new thoughts on the matter. Each scene, whether action or simply thoughts, needs to make a point. Needs to move the story forward. Something needs to change in the story or character to make the topic necessary to bring up a second or third time in the story.
If your next scene deals with the same points as before and the character is still lost in the same interpretation of the topic, it is repetitious and needs to be left on the writing room floor.
The second thing I have trouble with in writing longer stories is whether or not my character is changing and growing from her experiences in the story. Each scene is supposed to change the protagonist in some way. I know this. I teach this in my workshops. But can I see if it is working in my own writing? Not necessarily. Do you struggle with this?
Mostly, this problem is linked to my feelings of inferiority. It’s pretty much all in my head. I rarely receive comments back on this one because I made a scene and point document for the college memoir. I know about the interior and exterior problems of a story. I just wish I could feel more confident about accomplishing it.
As to what delights me in my story writing, it has to be finishing the story revisions to the best of my ability. And moving on to another story.
*Please feel free to offer any insight on repetition in story or whether or not your characters are growing or changing throughout your story. It would be truly appreciated.*
It will be interesting to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s wonderful having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors in this writing and publishing journey.
Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web. Please come again!
This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’d like to thank our co-hosts for December: PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray! Please visit them if you can.
Our group posts on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.
14 thoughts on “What Stresses You the Most in Your Writing? What Delights You?”
Your honesty and wisdom co-mingle in a delightful way, Victoria Marie. And, because I grew up in the Midwest and no longer live there, I cherish your pictures of ‘fall color.’
Hello PJ and welcome to Adventures in Writing. I’m so glad you are here.
Thank you so much for your kind words. I truly appreciate them. Yes, I love my seasons. Please stop by again! Have a beautiful holiday season!
I struggle with repetition as well. But mostly because I forget how often I’ve already mentioned the issue!
That’s true, Alex. Some of my repetition is like that. Mostly my repetition is saying the same thing a different way. Nuts! I just wish I could “see” it and correct it each time.
Thanks for all you do to assist your fellow writer. Have a great weekend!
I struggle with repetition, especially using the same phrases I’ve used before.
Oh my gosh, Natalie! I find myself using the same phrases and sentence structure all the time. Most times I can see this and change it up a bit. But not all the time.
Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful weekend!
I, too, am concerned whether or not my characters grow. Is there a good character arc along with a story arc. Most of us have those insecurities. Repetition is something I see in other’s writing. Hard to see it in my own. LOL
So true, Diane. As writers we need to be sure there is, in fact, a character arc along with our story arc.
Thanks so much for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Have a beautiful weekend!
Hi, Victoria Marie! I, too, appreciate the members of our group, their expertise, and their willingness to share it. I’ve learned so much from other members. A scene and point document is new to me. I have so much to learn! I hope I don’t have a problem with repetition. I have to watch out for cliches! I admire the priority you placed on your children and how you went to college to help and to inspire your special needs daughter. I have a waste paper basket like yours and a littered floor ~ LOL! Have a happy holiday season with your loved ones!
We learn so much from other writers, don’t we Louise? IWSG is the best! A scene and point document helps a writer be sure there is a reason for the scene in their story or memoir. So often in memoir, we write “this happens” and then “this happens” and then this… Creating a scene and then making sure it has a point in the overall story helps a memoir not become a journal or diary of things that happen.
Thank you so much for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. I truly appreciate it. Merry Christmas, my dear!
Doesn’t everyone repeat themselves? Don’t be hard on yourself, Victoria. You’re growing by asking these questions. I repeat myself. I do a chapter breakdown when I’ve finished the first or second draft just so I can see where I’m weak. Under each chapter, I list the POV, tense, hooks, conflict, disaster, and resolution (if there is one). It really helps me see the bigger picture. If I’m really struggling, I set coloured cards on the dining room table, a colour for each POV (if there are 3 or more). I look for weak spots, but I also see if I’ve repeated myself. It works like a charm.
Thank you so much, Joylene! I’ve copied these steps down and put them on my desk tackboard. You are the best! Truly appreciate this insight.
Thanks for sharing this insight with the followers of Adventures in Writing. Happy Holidays, my dear!
I made it here to your place… finally.
At some point in the writing journey, character growth is a challenge faced by many writers.
I love Joylene’s methodology mentioned above. I also need to copy these steps down and pin it up somewhere.
Welcome, Michelle, to my little spot on the web. I’m so glad you’re here.
You are so right. Character growth troubles many a writer. Joyene’s tips are wonderful. I try to keep them handy when I’m writing.
Please stop by my website again. All best to you!