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Q & A: Round 1

Renee Stevens


Hey All!!!  Hope everyone is doing well. So, this week we're going to start one of our new features. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten the Author Guess Who, but we'll start that one after the new year (new year, new feature!). This week, we're going to take a look at the Q & A questions I asked. These features are for Authors, Readers, and Editors, so something for everyone!  Let's take a look at the questions and answers.





Authors: Have you experienced writer's block? If so, what helped you get past it?


@Mikiesboy - Yeah I"ve experienced it. What to do? After moaning and whining?  Just try to wait it out. Keep reading, do some editing. Try to write a prompt response. But mostly listen to those who know me best. Who say, you will write again. They have always been right.


@CassieQ - Yes, many times and there are usually three solutions I found that worked for me.


First one, is leave the current project and work on something else, if you can.  If you are a one story at a time type of person, maybe try a prompt or some free writing.  Then come back to where you were stuck.  Usually giving a difficult  to write scene some time and space, then coming back to it helps get unstuck.


Secondly, skip the scene and write something else in the story.  Usually jumping ahead will help.  Sometimes, it will even help me see what needs to happen in the previous scene, which will resolve the block.


Thirdly, try to take a good hard look at what is keeping you from writing.  This is my least favorite, but if I absolutely cannot get past a point and nothing else helps, then I am usually doing something wrong.  If I’m bored with the scene, I need to spice it up.  If I can’t get a character to act a certain way, then it is probably not in his character to act that way, and I’ll have to find a way around it.  My worst writer’s block was somewhere in the NTS series, when I was trying to get one of my characters, Jordan, to act extremely out of character and it just wasn’t working and I couldn’t get past it.  I ended up going back and cutting thousands of words out, which really sucked, but once I did that and let Jordan act like Jordan, the words came again.





Readers: When reading, what is one thing that will make you stop reading a story?


@blake_logan - When something happens in a story that makes it impossible to continue suspending disbelief I stop reading.  For example, one thing I can't get past is zombies.  I don't have a problem reading about vampires, sorcerers, shape-shifters, etc., but as soon as a zombie shuffles into a scene, I find another story.  Inappropriate use of computer jargon is another example of something that can be enough of a disconnect to cause me to stop reading (you can't back-trace an IP address from a damaged SIM card in a burner phone to locate someone).


A close second is when the narrator of a story starts describing themselves in the first couple of paragraphs of a story.  "But first, I should probably tell you about myself..." is the kiss of death.


@Thorn Wilde - A story that is poorly written. I mean grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. The odd typo is fine, it happens, it can get past editors and beta readers. But if I feel like a writer just couldn't be bothered to check their work to create a good product for their readers, then I probably won't bother reading it.


@Timothy M. - Mouthwash. I hate mouthwash because it's a commercial scam based on the hoax of halitosis. I first heard about the latter in the British QI program with Stephen Fry. He said halitosis is a fictional problem invented by Listerine who was the first company to sell mouthwash. Every time anyone writes a story where using mouthwash is promoted as a good hygiene thing, they are buying into this lie and perpetuating it.


from an Australian Dental Journal paper from 2008:

"Whilst many of these products [mouthwash] may have been shown to be effective in penetrating oral microbial biofilms in vitro and reducing oral bacterial load, it would be wise to restrict their use to short-term therapeutic situations if needed. ...

There may well be a reason for the use of alcohol-containing mouthrinses, but only for a particular situation and for a limited and controlled period of time. ...

mouthwash use should be restricted to adults for short durations and specific, clearly defined reasons."


Bad breath is best 'cured' by good dental hygiene, cutting down on food giving you smelly breath, brushing your teeth and tongue. Mints or sugar free chewing gum can help momentarily and certainly taste nicer - or so I'm told by the few people I've talked to since I haven't tried mouthwash.


@mollyhousemouse - my biggest turn offs are grammar, and word usage.


there are just too many opportunities to have an editor, or beta reader give your story the once over.  i understand that we have many fine authors for whom English isn't their first language, and that's OK, great in fact!  what better way to become familiar with the language, it's idioms, and idiosyncrasies than to write short stories.  but please, check your ego, and ask someone to look it over.





Editors: What would be your number one tip that authors should do BEFORE sending their story to their editor?


@Timothy M. - If you have a blind spot for a specific error which your editor has pointed out several times in previous chapters / stories, then you'll probably lessen his or her irritation if you check your text for this before sending it.


@Thorn Wilde - Don't send your first draft. Check your work to the best of your ability, and send it to your editor when you feel you have done everything you can do on your own. This not only makes the job a bit easier for the editor, but it helps you become a better writer as well.





Want to keep this feature going? Check out the Round 2 questions!  I've only received a couple of responses to the questions (mostly the Author question). Make sure to get your answers in before December 5th! I look forward to hearing from you!

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4 hours ago, CassieQ said:

Great feature!  And props to @Timothy M. for the most specific answer.  :2thumbs:


Thanks 0:)   I first sent Renee a one word reply - but later I decided to add the explanation. And I really do stop reading in most cases - or skip the liking and commenting.

Edited by Timothy M.
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*whispers* Hey, Poets! I've also added something for you in the Round 2 questions :D  Hope to hear from you!

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8 hours ago, Puppilull said:

Mouthwash...! 🤣🤣🤣


So, @Timothy M., I'm not totally clear on your opinion on Mouthwash :unsure: Can you maybe clear this up for us all :P




Great Questions and Answers!!!

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2 hours ago, wildone said:


So, @Timothy M., I'm not totally clear on your opinion on Mouthwash :unsure: Can you maybe clear this up for us all :P


I'll rant at you about this topic any time you want. :fight: Just ask the poor authors who accidentally included it - especially in a story I'm editing. @lomax61

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1 hour ago, Timothy M. said:


I'll rant at you about this topic any time you want. :fight: Just ask the poor authors who accidentally included it - especially in a story I'm editing. @lomax61


Been there. Done that. Made appropriate changes. ;)


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Ha, ha, mouthwash. But the truth is, mouthwash could make a problem bigger because it dries your mouth and makes bacteria grow back with a vengeance after the initial 'cleanse'.

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