Monday, June 11, 2012


"It may not be my weekend, but it's going to be my year."

Has there been a time you fisted your hands, firmed up your stance and say, "Never surrender!"? To a bully? A dream that tried to slip away? Hope or fear?

Never Surrender is my new motto as of today.

I came back from a writers conference defeated. I've NEVER felt like that after a conference. I'm usually rearing to go, conquer those pesky adverbs and find the inciting incidents. Not this time.
Let me explain.
No, let me sum up. (Name that movie)
I'm a pantser writer. That pretty much sums me up. I love to turn off the inner editor and let my fingers fly across the keyboard, telling a story I didn't know was inside me. I feel free and gypsy-ish and rogue.
Then I go to classes or talk to an editor and they ask all sorts of questions I couldn't answer:

  • What's the question at the beginning of your book and is it answered at the end? (What if your memory came back and reveled you were a serial killer? That's the question at the beginning of my book. But the answer wasn't satisfying to the editor even though she did request to look at my full manuscript).
  • What's the inciting incident? (Um, her old boyfriend comes back? Or she remembers not killing a friend? Or she finds out her dad is lying to her? Yeah! I like the last one).
  • Does your character grow during the story? (Yes!)
  • What genre do you write? (YA) YA what? (Psychological thriller? Possibly horror).

Oh, I could go on and on with my insecurities and I might scare you off thinking I'm puddle of nonsense. I really try not to be but sometimes my own scared-y self catches up with me.
I've been doing everything to avoid to writing! I'm feeling overwhelmed with what I think I need to do to my story.

Girlfriend Pic!
Then last night I went to Elana Johnson's book launch and sat by Lesli Muir who told me some of the best books in the world are done by pantsers. She told me her story and inspired me in a few minutes more than three days at the conference.

So today, I WILL NOT YIELD!  I will stand strong and I will write. I just needed a reminder that I am unique and so is my writing. I have something to offer. And it's totally okay to free write my story.
I will not surrender!
Today I will edit and write and love my story.  I will not weed the garden or mop the floor or wash the car (that's what kids are for, right??). I will concentrate on the flow of words and sentences. I will stand on hope and conquer my fear of inadequacy.
I will not surrender.

What about you?  What have you done where you have stood tall and didn't surrender?

Disclaimer: Don't misunderstand me! I LOVED the conference. I meet so many new people and caught up with friends and had a great time. I learned more about querying and editing that will help me. The conference was the best organized one I've been to so far. I just wasn't as inspired as I have been and I CLAIM the fault as my own.


Lauren said...

Princess Bride.

Don't ever give up! Don't surrender!

I'm a pantser too, and I'm sure I'll run into the same problems, if I can ever get an editor or agent interested. The thing is, the people who actually read my stories like them. They're unpredictable. They don't fit a "mold." My readers usually can't figure out how it's going to work out from the first page (or even the 200th page) and they seem to LIKE that.

I don't like stories that go along from point a to point b to point z in a predictable fashion. Life isn't like that, why should books be like that?

If you look at your story you can find the answers to the "stock" questions, but that doesn't mean it has to be a stock novel.

Never surrender!

Aidyl Ewoh said...

Hey, great post! Writing… So many long process. You asked about our moments… Well, I linked up too, and you can check out my post here:

Taffy said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Emily R. King said...

New follower here!

What a great blogfest. It's so tough not to give in, especially in the face of adversity.

Matthew MacNish said...

I think it goes like this:

Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up.

Otherwise, awesome post! I totally agree. Those are some tough questions to answer, and I'm sure we all struggle with them, but the key is definitely never giving up.

Taffy said...

Thanks for the follow, Emily!

Taffy said...

MacNish! I should know better. My husband always quotes that line.
THANKS for stopping by!

Peggy Eddleman said...

I love when someone says exactly the right thing, just when you most need to hear it! So perfect.

And I say Heck yes! to skipping the garden/floor/car and writing!

Jessie Humphries said...

What???!!!??? This totally surprise my pansting pants off! Your story was/is awesome. You are so fun. So cool. And so talented. DOn't let the man get you down. (there's no man...I realize...its just...shut up jessie). Anyway, get your pants back on girl!

Alleged Author said...

Right on! Here's to all of us never surrendering!

Leslie Pugh said...

You surprised me too with your sharing how you felt after the conference. You and the other more experienced writers I met at the conference seemed so confident and like you know where you and your stories are going. I came home kind of feeling the same. But I'm trying to get back into enjoying writing and just loving the process. And I'm not 100% sure what I am yet -whether I'm a panther or a plotter (slightly more plotter at this point though).

Anyway, I'm glad you found your mojo again and can't wait to hear how your story goes!

Diana said...

I just started following your blog! I love your opinion on child labor ;) I always hate hearing those knock-me-down words, but it always seems that there's encouragement right around the corner and it just makes you even more determined than before!

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Taffy,

Cheers for the follow and glad to hear NO SURRENDER :)

Good on ye, and keep heading toward getting 'er done :)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Taffy ... great post! Thanks so much for following me; I enjoy all of your blogs and this one just hits the spot so I am your newest follower on here too.

Kathy M.

Taffy said...

Thanks to the new followers!
And thanks to everyone for your shout outs. Who says writing is lonely?

Jeremy Bates said...

Everyone has a story to tell but the ones who keep at it and tell it in a unique way with interest will be the ones rewarded.

Keep on keeping on!

No quarter!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, man! I so hear you! I am not a pantser, exactly. I timeline... I need to know where the story will go in a broad way. But all those analytical questions? erm. No thank you? If i try to delve into it to that level I get SO DRY. I need to be fresh and fluffy, not dry!

ali cross said...

And there you stand, smiling brightly with Miss Elana herself, who IS--a pantser herself.

OWN IT! And ... ROCK IT!!

Kimberly Gabriel said...

The Princess Bride! And I love that MacNish knew the exact wording... love it.

Stopping by from the blogfest...Great post. I think you perfectly capture the moments we all have with insecurity - a nasty beast in this process. *new follower*

Elana Johnson said...

Oh my heck! I have been to so many conferences and read so many blog posts that have made me come away feeling this way. You are not alone in feeling like a loser after a conference.

I'm so glad Lesli helped! She is an awesome inspiration! And you CAN do this. Just think of me next time you're sitting in a class going, "I have no idea what my inciting event is." Because I DON'T EITHER.

Carrie-Anne said...

I also write organically instead of planning and plotting everything out exactly. I like to have a general outline/notes and tentative list of chapters (I name my chapters) for my superlong books, but other than that, I just memorize the storylines in my head and write them as they go along. There are many surprises along the way, and some events happen differently than I'd originally envisioned them. I'd go insane if I were forced to exactly plot everything out in a certain way, partly because I write books that are more character-driven instead of plot-centric.