IWSG March 2022- The Rigor of Decision Making

It was only a few days ago that I answered last month’s question on the IWSG Day and it’s time to do the same once again. On another note, it’s already March 2022 and no, the world is no better than it was in 2020 or 2021. This month’s question although about writing, made me philosophical about the world in general because right now it’s all about the conflict of adding a scene or not to the story.

Let me straight away jump to the question.

March 2 question – Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not?

I have several instances where I’ve wondered about adding a scene or not, or even about writing a story. Sometimes, the stories feel a bit too personal. You wish to write about your experience but there’s an underlying fear about having that out in the world. Especially, if you like to guard the personal with all your might. As a writer, it’s hard to escape not having a bit your life out there. But on many an occasion, it is a conflicting situation.

And then, there’s always the conflict between what’s socially/ ethically acceptable and what’s not and yes, what fits the theme and what doesn’t. Let me be specific with this one. Last month, I sent in a story submission for a writing contest. When the story was read by my writer-friend and critique partner, I received the feedback about how the end of the story did not justify the theme. The point that had been made was very valid and she was even kind enough to suggest an alternative end. After all, she said, the character should emerge stronger in the end.

I made my notes and sat down to edit the story, almost sure of the end that would justify the theme. However, by the time I was doing the final edits, I didn’t want to change anything even if it didn’t fit in. My heart did not agree to the viable changes, no matter how logical they seemed. I had a vision for my character and I didn’t want to change it, even if it meant making it appear vulnerable.

I recalled that when I had written the first draft I had probably conjured up a similar conclusion as suggested by my critique partner because that’s what the theme demanded, but by the time I had finished, the story had taken a path of its own. Yes, there are times when our stories wish to be told in a certain way and the writer then must take a back seat. That’s what I did with my submission, the result of which is awaited.

Coming back to the world we live in, do our leaders too have conflicting ideas about adding a scene or not? I am sure. No one escapes the rigour of decision making. The difference is that their decisions impact real lives, while as a writer my decision only impacts stories on paper. I can take that risk, right?

I enjoyed answering this month’s question. Thanks to the IWSG, which is a database resource site and support group for writers and authors. Featuring weekly guests and tips, a monthly blogfest gathering, a Facebook group, a book club, and thousands of links – all to benefit writers! Thank you to our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! If you’d like to join, visit here.

The awesome co-hosts for the March 2 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, Pat Garcia, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence! Do visit them and show some love.

How do you take some of these writing decisions? Do let me know in the comments below.

21 thoughts on “IWSG March 2022- The Rigor of Decision Making”

  1. That’s so true. Its hard to escape having a bit of you out there.
    Also about your question on how to take the writing decisions, I will say I go by my gut.

  2. I am also hesitant with writing “too personal” scenes. I have walked my way through one, and it is hard. Sometimes, though, it just makes the story really pop with reality. Readers can feel the realness. But boy, is it hard!

  3. Discovered your blog/website through the IWSG site. I like how you have divided your website into the types of writing that you do. I chose to divide mine more by topics but then again I haven’t written poetry in a long while so there would be the tab at the top and then nothing underneath it. I like what you said, “Feedback is helpful, but it shouldn’t change the bones of your work.” Very good to remember as we open ourselves up to critique and edits.

  4. Hey Sonia.
    I enjoyed reading your post and the comments that follow from other bloggers/writers. All that I would’ve said has been said.

    In my case, like you, I believe the story decides its course. We, as writers, become the story’s medium.

    Enjoy the journey:)
    Arti xx

  5. Stories really do go in their own directions. Sometimes we need to wrangle them back to what we’d planned, and sometimes they become something better than our original vision. Both of those options are OK.

    Good luck with your submission!

  6. Characters refusing to do what we want them to do are fascinating. I agree with other commenters that critique partners may make suggestions but you have to go with what you feel is right. Ultimately, the job of a critique partner is to bounce ideas off them.

  7. Some stories go in directions you don’t expect, and some stories just don’t go anywhere. More than once I’ve sat down and gotten 10, 20, even 30K words into a story to realize that it’s not doing what I wanted it to and I don’t feel like it’s good enough to struggle through. So back in the Closet it goes and I start on another.

  8. The “too personal” and “ethically acceptable” do constrain me. Then I think of the bold barrier breakers like Nabokov and Miller. They pushed the boundaries and shocked the corseted minds into censorship and opened the way for more liberal thinkers-writers to explore topics. I’m more timid than N and M, and perhaps that’s why I’m comfortable inside the young adult and middle grade categories. I enjoyed reading your post today.

  9. You should always trust yourself more than your critic partners. Take their advice when it feels right and disregard it if it doesn’t. Because even the best of them, with the best of intentions, don’t really comment on how to improve YOUR story but more often tell you instead how THEY would’ve written it.

  10. Very thoughtful answer!
    I haven’t submitted to agents or publishers because I want to tell my stories my way. A little bit of stubborn mixed with a little bit of determination goes a long way 🙂

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