Growing as a writer

CindyCarrollEAt my writing meeting last night we talked about what we learned last year as writers. How we grew as writers. I like to push myself as a writer. Write outside my comfort zone by trying new genres, new formats. A few years ago I didn’t think I could write short stories. I’d been writing full length novels for ten years and didn’t know if I could tell a complete story in a shorter format. That’s when I started searching for calls for submissions for anthologies. I started with genres I liked, genres I read and ones I thought I could write. Then I started looking for calls in genres I didn’t write. And discovered I liked writing them. That expanded my genre base of stories I could write.

I tried other things last year too. My husband pointed out that in all of my stories my main protagonists are women. I decided to fix that when I did a writing prompt exercise at one of my writing meetings.  I wrote the beginning of a story with a male main protagonist. And I actually liked it. But in a later writing exercise I took that even farther. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like first person narrative. I changed that male main protagonist exercise from third person to first. It was an interesting exercise. It made me think differently. What would a man notice in this situation? What would a man think about this? What would a man say about this? Despite not liking first person I wrote a short story in first last year as well. And I actually liked it. So never say never when it comes to writing.

IMG_1402Part of growing as a writer is to read more and in a variety of genres so I’ve gathered books for my to be read pile for this year. Some of the books in that pile are first person (gasp). And I will try to get through all of them plus ones for my book club. I may even go back to books I started last year but never finished. I did something similar for a TV show. When it first started I watched the pilot of Fringe. I think I even watched the second episode. It was right up my alley so I thought I would like it but at the time something about the second episode bugged me. I had a problem with something in it. But the second time around I made it through the whole first season and now I’m on season two. Whatever it was that bothered me didn’t seem to bother me this time. So maybe I’m getting a little more open minded about my TV shows.

Anyone have any recommendations for books to help me expand my reading material?

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ReflectionsFinal2A road trip goes wrong for a group of friends trying to help one of them get over a break up. They find an inn where the mirrors are cursed and they realize they don’t know each other as well as they thought they did.

A road trip without a plan sounded like a good idea when Lena and her friends hit the road. A mini vacation and support for Steve, recently dumped, have the friends travelling through small towns and back roads. After hours of driving in the heat in a cramped car they’re all ready for something to eat and a good night’s rest. Reflections Inn looks perfect for the group of friends. A little run down, it hides a supernatural horror.

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1avH00L
Buy on Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/19Ti2ux
Buy on Kobo: http://bit.ly/13CBz9M
Buy on Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/15oFc4a

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About Cindy Carroll

Cindy Carroll is a member of Sisters in Crime and a graduate of Hal Croasmun’s screenwriting ProSeries. Her interviews with writers of CSI and Flashpoint appeared in The Rewrit, the Scriptscene newsletter, the screenwriting Chapter of RWA. She writes screenplays, thrillers, and paranormals, occasionally exploring an erotic twist. A background in banking and IT doesn’t allow much in the way of excitement so she turns to writing stories that are a little dark and usually have a dead body. When she’s not writing you can usually find her on Twitter.
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9 Responses to Growing as a writer

  1. Doris says:

    What a great year you will have. I love that you keep challenging yourself. Even though I do a lot of non-fiction research, I do enjoy reading and writing all genres of fiction. I wish you the best. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines

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  2. It’s interesting how you’ve written out of your comfort zone. Good luck in your endeavors.

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  3. Good information Cindy. Thank you for sharing. We can always expand our capabilities and you seem to have things in place to do that this year. I always write in first person, so one of my challenges will be to write something in third person this year. Your post is a great motivator. Thank you and good luck with your writing year!

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  4. Wranglers says:

    I’ve done the same thing. My first novel (still in the drawer), was a teen POV, my second is a young man close to 30, the next a tween boy, the next a young female. Maybe next I’ll be ready to write in an old woman’s POV. Lol. I read all kinds of genres, but I like GP ratings. Sounds like you are doing great. Most of the authors here on Writing Wranglers and Warriors have some great books. Many different genres. I’m working my way throuh the members in the order they joined WW&Ws. Great writing group you attend. I have only been to ours twice since I’m normally in another state for work. Cher’ley

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  5. Neva Bodin says:

    Interesting to hear how you challenge yourself, and motivating for me to do the same. I like inspirational historical romances so have written one, started another and now also working on a western contemporary romance. Then started one on time travel for teens where a girl travels back to a wagon train. But I did write a murder mystery short story which was published by a college press but shocked the socks off my friends. So guess I like different things within limits. You’ll have to blog next fall and let us know how your plans went and what you learned.

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    • Mike Staton says:

      I like the idea of reading books of different genres and from different POVs. I too prefer third-person, especially in novels. I’ve been experimenting with first person in short-story writing.

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  6. Nancy Jardine says:

    My TBR pile is so large it makes me nervous! I’ve given myself some writing challenges for this year of 2015 but not quite so fundamentally different as yours, Cindy. I’ll still be writing in 3rd person – my comfort zone for a bit longer.

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  7. Great insights, Cindy — thank you for sharing. My great challenge has been going from writing about dogs, both fiction and fact-based on fiction, to attempting a fictional romance, totally out of my comfort zone! I’ve put it aside for the time being as other projects have called for my attention, but I plan to pick it up again (and maybe start all over!). Good luck with your writing endeavors — you are an inspiration!

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  8. S. J. Brown says:

    You have a great list of potential books right here on the blog. The writers here write from a number of different prospectives and a variety of subjects. Hope you continue to spread your wings and have fun with it.

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