writers / writing

#IWSG Am I a Risk-taker?

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s 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?

No, no and no. I’m very conservative in my writing (and life). I don’t like confrontations, arguments. I don’t like upsetting people. I’m happy to make readers think but not at the expense of their peace of mind. I like logic, rationality, connecting the dots, that sort of stuff. I want the elephant behind the door to show itself so no one is surprised. I’m not afraid to fight but I’ll always fight fair (even if you don’t).

I hope that shows in my stories. I think my prehistoric fiction theme works perfectly for my natural inclinations. I have had some pushback from creationists (because my early man characters lived 1.8 mya and 850,000 years ago) but our discussions have remained amicable and knowledge-seeking.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on this. Another interesting topic, Alex!

#iwsg #amwriting

@TheIWSG

More on #IWSG

Is my favorite reading genre different from what I write?

Why I Don’t Finish a Book

Why I write


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.

105 thoughts on “#IWSG Am I a Risk-taker?

  1. Pingback: #IWSG–Unexpected Reader Reactions | WordDreams...

    • That’s interesting. But, if you read through these comments, you’ll see an awful lot of people agree with you which make a mild character compelling.

      Waiting for your first book, Ken.

      Like

  2. *sticking my hand up* Me too, Jacqui. But I am trying to be brave and take a few more chances. Will see how it goes (and how long I can be brave for).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are such a nice – and versatile – person, Jacqui. While I am not averse to sharing my opinions and using my own unique voice in writing, I actually hate confrontations as well and it is never my intent to offend anyone. You might be straightforward in your writing, but the worlds you create offer lots of adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting to read your comment as I see you and your characters as risk takers. I know the setting of period for you stories are about survival but they take risks each time they journey to find a home. I see that in you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was a little surprised by your answer, Jacqui. I think writing prehistoric fiction does require a leap of faith (a risk) to some extent. But I know what you mean by avoiding controversy. That’s not really my thing either. Happy Writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, as I think back on it, you’re right. I wrote the first prehistoric fiction book over 20 years ago, too afraid to publish it because who would read it? So I wrote my two thrillers, worked up my courage and published the prehistoric fiction. To my surprise, it’s a niche read but people who like that niche are devoted! Nice.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for sharing!!… I try to refrain from confrontations, rantings, etc also.. BUT life is either an adventure or it is nothing and sometimes one need to leave safe harbor… YOU do so every time you pen your thoughts and share them.. and I have no doubt as long as you let your fingers do the walking (typing/writing) while your heart does the talking, you will not go wrong… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like you, I hate controversy, arguing. I try to be tactful. Unfortunately, some people are so direct they don’t get tact. Still, in my writing, I’m not afraid to try something new. That could be considered risky–to, say, change POVs. I do have fun doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great question, Jacqui. I was much more of a risk-taker in my younger days. Now at almost 70, I’ve become more cautious and logical. I love making my characters take risks and can live vicariously through them now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is actually quite a tough question for me, Jacqui. If your answer is no then I suppose mine would also be know given that I’ve just finished reading your book The Quest for Home and I think you touched on some quite controversial topics. I think you have to in order to make a book interesting and a good read. That being said, you never know how some people will react to certain topics.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think we all cringe when we read bad reviews, Jacqui. I do take some risks, although my poem I just posted about Covid is as edgy as it gets, at least for now. Although increasingly, devout Catholicism is getting edgy as the pendulum moves left.

    If it’s any comfort, Catholics should have no theological issues with your early man/woman series. We’ve long taken a hybrid approach to creationism, viewing the seven days spoken of in Genesis as seven time periods. Given that viewpoint, evolution and creation can dovetail nicely. I was taught this back in the seventies, so it’s hardly new thought in the Church. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love hearing you say that. Instinctively, that is my feeling–that time in the Bible isn’t as structured as we think of it today. So, my 850,000 years could be God’s one day. Who knows! Thanks for adding some meat to that idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Creationist pushback? It takes all types to make the world go round… I suppose.
    Humans need to accept that diversity is part of life.
    When we learn mutual respect for differing world views, things will be okay. However, we still have a long way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I inherently respect all opinions. I think it’s part of being a lifelong learner. The more I learn, the more everything–really, all ideas–make sense. But yes, we sure do have a long way to go.

      Like

  12. I’ve definitely been a risk taker in life and in writing, but like you, I avoid confrontations, arguments, and upsetting people. I’ve started my adult life over/reinvented myself completely three times, but it all worked out. I avoid arguing with Creationists, if at all possible. It’s like getting pulled into a power struggle with third graders. Give them a way to save face and exit; there is no reasoning with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your personality sounds like mine, Jacqui. I’m not a pushover, but I sure don’t go looking to instigate trouble. The people I find the most tiresome are those who never seem happy unless they’re in the middle of a bunch of drama. My least favorite thing I ever did in education was to serve as bargaining chair for one year. Life is so much easier when we just get along with those around us.

    As far as taking risks in writing, I haven’t done it long enough to determine that. My sense is that I’m more willing to take risks in writing than I am in most other areas of life, as I plan on broaching some topics that might make others uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am not generally a risk-taker. However, I did take a big risk when writing my historical fiction short story and novel. Mostly ignored by those who didn’t want to hear about the injustices in life and those good people who were causing much of it…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pushback from creationists? They apparently didn’t realize you were writing fiction, not rewriting the Bible? I wish we had more people with your attitude in charge of things. We could do with a bit less incendiary emotion in the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can actually see room for both but it must be challenging for them when my characters are unabashedly early humans from ancient times. Not apes by any means (though I love the great apes) but not quite us either.

      Like

  16. Jacqui, my answer is a perfect match for yours–No, no, and no! I know my strengths as I writer and I stick with them. My characters may take risks, but the gal penning their moves likes to play it safe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I took a big risk when I made a commitment to write Einstein’s Compass. The financial investment alone is huge. I like being creative in my life and take calculated risks like travel to locations around the world. I changed my hair color to a brighter copper and Iove it. At age 70 I am not afraid to expand my imagination into the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m with you. I make my characters take risks because I don’t like to. And I don’t react well when I’m forced to make changes. I deal with it (it’s not like I have a choice), but I think I hate it more than most people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The one thing that can push me out of my non-risk-taker mode is if I’m expected to do something because everyone does it though not necessarily right. Then, I force myself to be brave.

      Like

  19. In the last several years, I’ve been taking what I would consider risks in my writing. I’m taking a big risk with the new novel I’m working on, but if the risk doesn’t pay off, the novel can always be revised to become something else.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Hi Jacqui – I too am not a risk taker … but I will jump into life and then get on with it as best I can … I’d have never gone off to live in South Africa for years, or taken that time out in Canada for a year … it’s life and we live, each to our own … I’d have said you’re a risk taker … especially with your Crossroads of Life trilogy and the research. All the best – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

      • I guess if we take risks we feel comfortable with, we don’t really consider them risks. Others might if they wouldn’t take the same risks. Like mothers watching their child climb to the top of of a fort, higher than they can reach. We would consider the child to be a risk taker, but the child wouldn’t.

        Like

  21. I am like you and tend not to like upsetting people. I tried something a bit different with Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind but it seems to have worked ok. As writers of course, we can’t please everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

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