Tag Archives: Kansas

IWSG and What’s Up, Wednesday

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

InsecureWritersSupportGroupPurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG)

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Nancy Thompson, Mark Koopmans, and Heather Gardner.

Some weeks are hard, some weeks are harder, and some weeks are a virtual walk in the park in comparison to the others. I’ve had a rare good writing week. The writing went well, the editing has been on track, and I’m making forward progress for the first time in months…well, it feels like it anyway. We all need spurts of inspiration that will send us forward when the energy is lagging. This happened for me when one of the creators of one of my favorite TV shows (Early Edition, remember it?) followed me on Twitter. (Shout out to Vik Rubenfeld.) He was ahead of his time, and his show helped spur the many shows that followed later which pursued paranormal themes. Not vampires but more ghostly tales. If you never saw it, check it out. It also launched Kyle Chandler‘s career. Hello, Friday Night Lights.

At any rate, interacting with other writers, especially people whose work you admire is a great way to keep your own fires burning even when your energy ebbs. I’m not saying abandon your writing for social media. I’m just encouraging you to utilize social media effectively. Get to know other writers. Learn from them. Pass it forward to the writers who will one day admire you. Or already do and you don’t know it.

What’s Up Wednesday?

ButtonSmallNoBorderI finished Her Last Breath and now I’m reading Enigma Black. Linda’s book did not disappoint as usual. I’ve just started the other so I’ll update you on it next week. 🙂

I’ve had a crazy week. We had company, and I traveled across Kansas. Somehow, in spite of that I managed to complete a polish of 25 pages for a submission for this week. I also finished three more chapter revisions of The GAP Project. The bible for it is also coming along nicely. I am really pleased with the progress this week so feeling positive, I’m jumping in with ambitious goals for next week. Five chapter rewrites. I can do this. I can. It is totally within the realm of possible because NO ONE is coming to visit, and I’m not traveling. How’s that for positive thinking? How did your week go?

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Flat Kansas

The stereotype of Kansas is that it’s flat, as in from corner to corner, dreadful to drive across, flat. For those of us who live in the state, it’s debatable where this rumor began but where do most stereotypes begin? They begin with a tiny kernel of truth stretched to become more than it is. Thus, a small truth about Kansas – that parts of it are flat – has somehow become the entirety of our image. The funny thing about this is I’ve traveled all over the United States (Thanks, Mom and Dad) and guess what I found in those travels? There is flat land in nearly every state in our union. Shocked? I didn’t think so.

Our ranch in the southwestern part of the state has some flat land but is also bless with wonderful rolling hills, canyons and ravines, bluffs and buttes, and trees and vegetation. So much for the stereotype. The Flint Hills well-known as a completely NOT flat part of Kansas and our part of Kansas also not flat and the north-eastern part of the state is not flat either. Stereotype. What I love about my state is that I live here in these wonderful rolling hills and canyons and listen to the flat hype, and it’s this wonderful secret Kansas and I keep.

This is how writers need to approach stereotypes in writing. Find that kernel of truth, use it but also know where the kernel of truth butts up against that hype of type. The minute something becomes “everyone knows Kansas is flat” as writers we know we have a job to do. We have to show readers that what “everyone knows” is actually 1/4 of the actuality. As writers you’ve only succeeded if you do your research, and make sure that your cop is more than the stereotype who eats donuts and drinks too much, your librarian is more than a single lady with a bun who only reads classics, or your construction worker is more than a catcalling, macho guy with the intellect of concrete. Turn those stereotypes off. Take the kernel of truth and build characters of true depth with crags and hills and valleys and vegetation.

What tricks do you use to avoid stereotype in characters?

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Congratulations to our Kansas Jayhawks!

I couldn’t resist saying a big hallelujah! It’s never easy making it to the big dance as all the teams are so good. It’s a lot like publishing. If you ever get there, you deserve all the praise and celebration we can give you. Rock Chalk!

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