Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: Camping & the Tick Tock Anthology


Hello and Happy April! Today is the April meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

This month's IWSG question is: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

This seems to describe my writing life for more than a year now, and anything I've done to "dig down" hasn't made much of a difference up to this point. So this month I'm trying something different and going camping, thanks to the encouragement of my friend Madeline of the Shellshank Redemption


I've never tried Camp NaNoWriMo before, mostly because the past few times I've tried NaNo itself it's left me even less motivated than I was at the start, but after hearing about the relaxed retreat-like atmosphere of Camp I decided to give it a try. I set the modest goal of simply finishing the first draft of the Paris story I've been struggling with for almost two years. I'm hoping to get comfy in my writing tent and emerge at the end of the month with a draft, no matter how messy it may be. 



I'm also excited to help spread the word about the latest IWSG anthology, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime. Gwen Gardner is here with some tips for solving mysteries. Welcome, Gwen!

Thanks for hosting the Tick Tock mystery writers, Julie!

I hope you have some mystery lovers here today, because this year’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group anthology, Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, is all about mystery, crime and thrillers.

I’m a complete mystery fanatic in all its forms—except psychological. I lean toward the lighthearted, cozy side. And I am an excellent armchair detective, if I do say so myself. It helps when you read, write and watch mysteries!

How do you solve a mystery?

If you have a literary amateur sleuth or armchair detective in your life, here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

1. If someone is looking way too innocent, don’t count them out! Just because Aunt Agatha seems frail doesn’t mean she’s a sweet little old lady. Trust me, Aggie’s been around the block a few dozen times and probably has moves you know nothing about. Even Julia Child was a spy during World War II! Spies come in many shapes and sizes. Aunt Aggie might still have a decent karate chop in those gnarled, arthritic hands. I watched a scene just like this on Midsomer Murders once, so it must be true.

2. Never take an alibi at face value. It doesn’t matter if the Queen of England says she was on the royal throne at the time. If nobody saw her (close up, because it could have been a body double), then her alibi is no good. I love her dearly, but you know she was a mechanic during WWII, right? All I’m saying is that the woman knows how to wield a spanner!

3. If you’re sleuthing it’s because you’re connected to the victim in some way, however tenuous. So if you find the murder weapon, for the love of god, please don’t touch it! Because once you touch it, your fingerprints are all over the murder weapon. And boom! Now you’re a suspect. And now you really have to dig yourself out of a hole. I tell my sleuths this all the time, but do they listen? No. They do not.

If you enjoyed these tips, you’ll enjoy the anthology even more! There are lots of stories to choose from in nearly any mystery/crime/thriller sub-genre. It’s on pre-sale now at all major venues and will be released on May 1st by Dancing Lemur Press.

50 comments:

  1. I hope Camp NaNo is exactly what you need, Julie.
    Gwen, I'm going to be suspicious of every older lady I meet now...

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  2. Hmm, was it encouragement or was it more that I was afraid to be all alone out in the deep, dark woods...? :o

    And messy is good! After all, s'mores are messy. :)

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  3. Have fun at camp, Julie, and thanks for the Tick Tock shout out!

    Great post Gwen, and I too claim great success as an armchair sleuth!

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    1. Yolanda, I think it's great fun. Also, I think the police department needs me. LOL.

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  4. I hope this camp works out- I've been waiting to read that Paris story!!

    Good stuff, Gwen. I knew there was more to the Queen than meets the eye.

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    1. Oh, the Queen totally has it going on, Elizabeth ;)

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  5. I'm a terrible armchair detective - maybe Gwen's tips will help :-)

    Camp NaNo is probably what I need right now, but April is never a good month - too many people at home for the Easter holiday and too many distractions. Good luck with your draft!

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    1. Annalisa, these are sure-fire tips ;)

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  6. Good luck to both of you at Camp NaNo. Let the words flow and your friendship grow. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  7. NaNo is always difficult for me, but I praise people who do it. And as for Aunt Agatha...love her! :)

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  8. Oh, Camp NaNo sounds fun! Now I want to do it. Maybe next year.

    Thanks for hosting the Tick Tock mystery writers, Julie!

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  9. Good luck with NaNo. Enjoy the drafting. Thanks for the great shout out for Tick Tock. It was fun reading about how to solve a mystery!

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  10. Julie, I wish I could join you on that outing. One day. Meanwhile, I'm sending all the writing fairies your way and sending a measure of cheese to help.

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  11. Good luck with Camp Nano! Hope you have fun, and get the story finished as well!

    And thanks for the shout-out about the anthology (great advice there, Gwen!). I'll add my advice, which my sleuth also is prone to ignore: don't enter the dark room!

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    1. I know! Just fumble for the light switch and turn it on! LOL.

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  12. Good for you, trying new things. I hope Camp Nono helps.

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  13. I love the mystery tips, Gwen! It is amazing how often our characters completely ignore our advice. And good luck with Camp NaNoWriMo, Julie.

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    1. Our characters have minds of their own. Thanks, Lee!

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  14. I hope you have lots of fun and get lots of inspiration at Camp NaNoWriMo, Julie. I'm so glad you're going.

    Great tips, Gwen. Writing about crime is what I dabble with when I'm not writing my self-help books.

    Elsie

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  15. Have fun with Camp Nano, Julie!

    Great tips, Gwen. I'm looking forward to reading this anthology!

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    1. Thanks, Carol, you're going to love it. It has something for everyone :)

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  16. Hope you have a great time camping Julie!
    Thanks so much for featuring Tick Tock! 😀

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  17. Thanks for promoting the IWSG. Great interview Gwen!

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  18. Best of luck with Camp NaNoWriMo! I've noticed a lot of writers doing that on Twitter, and they seem to be having fun with it. Hope the same is true for you, too!

    And great post from Gwen! Love the amateur sleuthing tips. Will remember not to automatically trust sweet, little old ladies, LOL!

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    1. Little ol' ladies aren't as innocent as they seem!

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  19. I've never tried Camp NanoWriMo, but I've heard good things about it from other authors. Here's hoping it works out for you and produces that all-important, messy first draft. :-)

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  20. Good luck, Julie. I'd be interested in any story set in Paris. My current WIP is a French inspired (fantasy) story too. :)

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  21. Thanks, all, and it was great to have you here, Gwen! Good luck to you and all the other Tick Tock authors on the release!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Julie. I had fun here on your blog today!

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  22. I love the way Gwen thinks. LOL Thank you for featuring Tick Tock.

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    1. Hehe. It's called Writer Brain, Diane!

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  23. Wishing you luck getting comfy in your Camper!!! Let the writing begin.

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  24. I've heard it said that all good stories, no matter their genre, work best if there's a mystery in them somewhere. So these are definitely good tips to keep in mind when writing.

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    1. It's true, every genre and story has a bit of mystery to it. It's fun to help solve the mystery too.

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  25. Oh, I loved these tips! "Do they listen? No. They don't." — That made me laugh out loud. Julie, how cool that you're trying out CampNaNo! I've never tried it, either (though I'm a big fan of the November thing), so I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think about it. And yes, hopefully it'll help you get back in touch with the muse. Not just for inspiration but for enjoyment.
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

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  26. I loved these tips from Gwen!!! I didn't know Julia Child worked for the OSS - I went and looked that up for a moment. She created Shark repellent! Definitely a different kind of recipe. :)
    I hope Camp is relaxing and good for you and your writing, Julie. Have a s'more for me. :)

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  27. Mysteries are fun. I just finished reading In the Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, and even though I figured out who-done-it, there were other things I missed and it was an excellent read.

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  28. Camp NaNoWriMo is fun. I hope it gives you that extra little kick of motivation you need :-)

    I love watching mysteries (I think I got that habit from PBS back when Masterpiece Theatre would take a break from costume pieces every summer for some murders)

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  29. I wanted to do Camp NaNo this year but with my tonsillectomy, I couldn't. Hopefully next year. Enjoy Camp NaNo!

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  30. Good luck with Camp NaNo! :) And excellent post from Gwen. Oh yes, please, no one touch the murder weapon!

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  31. Great tips, Gwen!

    Best of luck with Camp NaNo, Julie!

    A brief sidenote: I sent you an email about your UR story and the upcoming collection of Elements of Untethered Realms. Let me know if you didn't get the email.

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  32. Hi, Julie!

    Love the sound of your camp and new project! Anything that has to do with Paris is going to be a wonderful read.

    Thanks for the excitement about my memoir! It feels soooo good to be writing again. I have posted a snippet if you have a moment to pop over to my blog....

    Hope all is well!

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  33. I hope Camp Nano has been a huge success for you! The month is nearly over... I hope your first draft is, too. We're looking forward to reading it, lady... :)

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  34. Hope CampNaNo went well, Julie!
    I'm looking forward to the Paris story... Paris is one of my favorite places!

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  35. Great sleuthing tips! I hope you had a great time with Camp NaNo and finish that draft.

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