IWSG: Risktaking in Writing

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The awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!

April 7 question – Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

Am I a risk taker? I’m never sure what the answer to that question is in real life or in writing. The short version? I’m not a stupid risk taker.

In real life, that means I like safety equipment. A lot. Something’s gotta catch me if I fall, right? My usual risk taking process is come up with an idea… research how to do it right… and then work my way up to scale.

In writing?

Are there extreme writers? Is that even a thing?

The short stories I’m working on for the 52 Week Challenge give me a perfect low-risk way to play with ideas. If something breaks… well, at least I haven’t spent a hundred thousand words on it. Sometimes that works out, and sometimes, it doesn’t.

In longer work…

I do tend to multi-task. Which means that I’m usually working on more than one project (with varying levels of enthusiasm) at a time.

The risk taking usually occurs in those back-burner projects that I haven’t really committed to, yet. If it works out, I keep writing them. If it doesn’t… Well, there you go. Now, you know it doesn’t work.

As of right now, I have a back burner project that stalled out because the tone was uhm… wrong for me. It was a little less optimistic than what I usually write. A little? Well… maybe a lot. If I go back and write a little at a time, when the mood strikes me (which, it doesn’t) the thing has to get finished eventually.

I think it’s probably, objectively, pretty good. It’s also not something I wish to live with full time.

I also have a weird habit of starting out to write YA, and then realizing that I was never actually a teenager, at which point I wind up with something that doesn’t really fit anywhere.

And most recently? I’m writing a novel where the “little quirk” is that it has no named male characters. (Obviously, that’s YA, too… because, why not?)

And then, I have my “safe” projects. Those things that feel so beautifully, perfectly right. Things that feel like me, and which will inevitably wind up in places I really want to go.


  1. Reply

    Ir seems like you know exactly what kind of risk taker you are, Not everyone likes to take big risks.
    Have a great month of April.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

  2. Reply

    How did you manage to bypass adolescence?

    About your observation, I’m starting to think longer work (like novels) need to be more plain in style. I remember reading a YA that used a lot of strikethroughs as part of the narrative. At first, it felt fresh and new. But after a while, I found it distracting. I wanted to just read the story, not look at all the things the protagonist wanted to say but redacted. However, if a writer used that in a short story, I don’t think it would have annoyed me nearly as much.

    Good luck with your writing!

    • Reply

      I’m not sure I bypassed adolescence, itself… but I definitely skipped a lot of the social context that YA novels rely on. There were a lot of factors that went into it, but… the experience just wasn’t there.

  3. Diane Burton


    Usually, I multi-task, too, with big projects. Then, something clicks with one and I have to finish it. Lately, nothing is clicking. Good luck with finding what works for you.

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