IWSG: Conflicted about Content

Logo for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Picture of a lighthouse with text reading "THE INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP"

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the March 2 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, Pat Garcia, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

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?

Writing that kind of scene isn't something that bothers me. I can write it, and then edit it out, later. I write a lot of scenes that just don't--for whatever reason--work.  So, just having qualms about a scene doesn't seem like a good excuse for not writing it.

Sometimes, it's something that needs to be part of the story, and sometimes... it's just something I need to get out of my system.

On-page organization.

No one really needs to see most of it.

I try to avoid graphic violence. (Yes, I know. Let's have a brief pause while my beta-readers stop laughing.) I'm squeamish about sex scenes. (So, if they don't really, really have to be there, they won't be.) And politics? Well, I'm still saving up for therapy after a childhood where the only thing anybody ever agreed on was... well, shoot. That's a suppressed memory, too.

How do I decide whether to let a scene out into the wild?

I write the scene. Then... I put it aside, and think about it for a while. What does it feel like when I come back? How does it fit with the rest of what I'm writing? Now that I've written the thing, can I envision the piece without it? Does the thought of publishing it make me reach for that therapist's phone number? Or remind me of the family reunions I hated when I was a kid?

Can I live with the direction it would take my career?


  1. Helen Mathey-Horn


    Does it fit. Yes, I think a little distance (through time) is a good way to see/feel if something belongs in the writing. Thanks for the insights.

  2. Diane Burton


    Good questions to ask yourself before sharing. Putting some distance between writing and sharing helps.

  3. Reply

    I have a similar approach. Write it. Get it all out there. Then let it sit, then revise, asking myself questions like yours.

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