The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.
Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.
This month's question prompt is:
"Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?"
Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. If you want to see how I answered the question, have a look below.
|Image via The Graphics Fairy|
I felt something furry brush up against my leg while I was making some coffee in the galley. We've had a problem with spiders on our boat, so, of course, I logically assumed one of them had mutated and grown into a large, hairy creature and was trying to attack me.
As I screamed, I spilled milk all over the counter and it dripped down onto the floor. That's when I noticed it wasn't a mutant spider, but rather a large, gray cat. While he was busy licking up the milk from the floor, I reached down to pet him. He had really soft fur. Much nicer than a mutant spider.
"Hi kitty, what's you name?" I asked.
He turned around, looked up at me and said, "Meow."
I was going to ask him to elaborate on his answer when I noticed that he had the weirdest eyes. Well, they weren't so much eyes as miniature clock faces.
He meowed again, this time much more loudly and dug his claws into my leg. This is the problem with living on a sailboat in southern Florida. It's hot here and you're always wearing shorts. Cat claws just sink right into your flesh.
"Hey, watch it," I said sharply. I was beginning to think a mutant spider might have been a more welcome guest.
He sat back down on his haunches and blinked slowly at me. His clock face eyes were mesmerizing.
He swished his tail angrily and said, in English this time, "All right, enough now, lady. Give me some more milk and sit down. We've got stuff to talk about."
He jumped over to the settee and I put a saucer of milk in front of him on the table. He lapped it up greedily and then washed his face for a few minutes.
After a last wipe behind his ears, he said imperiously, "I'm Simon, the Time Traveling Cat." We don't have much time. Yeah, I know it's ironic, isn't it considering I can travel through time, but that's the way it is. Now, your personal life coach, Esme, told me about this month's IWSG question. She figured you'd find it challenging."
I frowned. Esme could be so annoying. "What right does she have to meddle in my business?" I demanded.
"Frankly, I could care less," he said. "Unless it involves milk, cat food, scratches behind my ears and time travel, I'm really not interested. My only job is to take you forward in time. Now look into my eyes and count to ten."
Did I mention how mesmerizing his clock face eyes were? I felt myself fall into a deep sleep as he blinked his eyes slowly ten times. I was having all sorts of pleasant dreams about mutant spiders when I felt a sharp jab on my leg.
"Wake up already, lady. We're here," Simon said.
I rubbed my eyes and looked around. "Here? We're in the same place, on my boat."
"Oh, don't tell me, you're one of those people who expects everything to be dramatically different in the future. No, everything is pretty much the same. We're seven years in the future and you still live on a boat. You might want to think about a dye job though. You sure have a lot of gray hair in the future."
"But, you're gray."
"That's different. I'm a cat. Cats look good in gray. You just look washed out. Now, get on with it. Look back at some of the work you've written over the past seven years and put aside because it was so awful. Are you going to rework any of it?"
I booted up my computer and poked around in the folder labeled Crappy Stories. I opened up a file. "Hmm. Here's an interesting one. It's about a time traveling cat named Simon. I don't remember writing it though."
"Whatever," he growled as he stretched out on the settee. "It's all that time travel, paradox, mumbo jumbo nonsense. Like I said, if it doesn't involve milk, cat food..."
"Yeah, I got it the first time. You're a typical cat. It's all about you," I said. "This story actually looks pretty interesting. The structure is all wrong and you can tell I didn't know what I was doing, but it's a fascinating idea - a cat who travels through time. It's amazing how much I've learned about writing in the past seven years. I bet I could rework it into something much better now."
Simon rolled over onto his back. "Good answer. Now pet my belly."
After a few minutes of belly petting and purring, Simon got up, stretched and said, "Okay, time to go. You know the routine. Stare into my eyes."
Next thing I knew, I was standing in the galley watching milk drip onto the floor. I looked up and noticed a tiny spider scurry across the counter. I screamed and thought to myself that maybe I should get a boat cat to keep the insect population in check.
Before you go, here's a shameless plug for the IWSG anthology, <<Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life>>. It will be published on May 2nd, but you can pre-order a copy from these online retailers:
Barnes & Noble
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Do you ever worry about large, mutant spiders brushing against your leg? If you could travel in time, would you go forwards or backwards and why?
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