The WIM Experience

Weclome to my end-of-experience ramble. 😅

I really loved free-styling last year’s WIM. I waffled about signing up because I was sure that if I did the official thing, nothing would work any more. In the end I did it anyway. (I argued that I could still drop out if I couldn’t whip up a shitass story in the first week.)

I already needed help from a friend (Thanks Erin Fulmer 😊) signing up. Might have been a sign. Almost missed the prompt too.

I like the picture, don’t get me wrong. But last year, I took one look at the prompt and the story flowed out of my veins like liquid smoke. This year – not so much. I was work. I stared at that winter landscape and didn’t know what to do with it.

The first thing that came to me was the feeling of being cast immovable over the ocean, hanging in the sky frozen with this view. Nest step was thinking what could get you into that situation. And then my general, undirected anger with the obsession with protagonist’s agency kicked in.

I cobbled together something that might pass for a story. If you squint. With a lot of goodwill. The first draft ended up feeling like a short version of my current novel WIP. (Though is is definitely not. It’s just a brainsoup thing.)

The first draft ended up about 200 words too long. I also did some soft editing while stitching the pieces together. Well, almost together. I left a gap I didn’t care for and just put a scene changer in there. 🤷‍


Self-editing now. Where do I even start. I hate editing. I hate it with a passion. Short stories are especially difficult for me because when I write them down and get to finish them, usually I think they’re really neat already.

This time was no different. I like how it came out and dig the prose. Some polishing, sure, but big changes? I don’t see it.

That’s also why I signed up because if I can’t see where the story need editing, maybe somebody else can?

I did what I thought necessary and helpful and sent to my CP. Asked for help cutting stuff. I’ll see how it goes. Ngl, I am worried about the editor round because I don’t know if I can cut 200 words and still love the story. And I’d rather have a story I love than a pass with an editor.


The edits of my CP were stuck in the outbox so I got them a little later than I would have liked. Unsurprising to anybody but me (again) it was not a detailed take-down of how the story is trash and I should find something else to do with my time. 🤷‍

Some of the feedback was surprising. Mostly in a prolly takes one to know one or target audience kind. Others was not. I knew I could save up on A Lot of words if I cut down my pretty prose. Some of it showed that what I wanted to do worked – my CP just didn’t know what to do with it.

I’m a little sorry because I am currently ranting against prescriptive writing advice and publishing wisdom in my shorts. The Power Of is basically me giving the finger to the idea that a protagonist needs to have agency. The protag does shit nothing in the story.

I thought about all the questions. I like getting questions as feedback because it makes me think about what I want to achieve with my words and if it is working acceptably. Took some of the suggestions. Called stet on others. Didn’t cut many words.

Accordingly, I agonised about the length of my story and the edit looming on the horizon. The choice I had was to send a story that was too long and not get an editing eye on it. Or to cut it down into 1k which I didn’t care if it rolled into Satan’s asscrack.

Being nd doesn’t help. I have a thing about rules. I like them if they are clear and consistent and easy to understand. I understand when I do not follow. And I am ready to accept the consequences. I could not – could not – send a thousand words I care nothing about to my assigned editor.

I explained myself and sent my too long story with little hope.


I started off this part by dying. You can kill me with the smallest bit of kindness. I don’t expect it, I’ll never see it coming and it will always knock me over. So getting the edit anyways did just fine.

Unsurprising to anybody but me (again) it was also not a detailed take-down of how the story is trash and I should find something else to do with my time.

Not sure how fun it is to find out the noun you were certain is a noun isn’t really a noun after all. 😬 Thanks for nothing Marilyn Manson. OK, I looked it up and it seems to be a noun after all. Maybe not a terribly common one. Anyway, stet. 😅

One of my writing quirks seems to be the casual use of “you” constructions out of the blue. Not sure where that will lead me but since this is a thing that’s followed me for years now I will look into it. One day that will be its own blog post, I guess.

Also not sure if the number of times I called a stet on the editor suggestions bodes well for my tradpub future. I understand where the changes come from. I get it. On the other hand, I have chosen the words and punctuation carefully. Does it read like a slightly disjointed, unrelated staccato? Yes, yes it does. I actually meant to do that.

It feels a little like moving the “only” around in “She believed him” and thinking any position would do the same thing. Even if they are all perfectly fine. Moments like that I have to take deep breaths and remember that this is my story and my vision. Yes, it can be made more palatable. Yes, it can be streamlined. But I wouldn’t think of editing the nose off Barbara Streisand either.


Overall, I really need to learn to trust my process more. I need believe my inner voice when it tells me something is fine (for a first draft), it’s FINE.

The story didn’t change much. I thought about the feedback. I have made changes based on it, even if sometimes those went a completely different direction than suggested. I leant hard into poetic language in this story and I understand that that doesn’t always work with common grammar. Common grammar is a sacrifice I am willing to make. 😅

And something I need to learn even more, something I need to lean into hard, is that I am writing for my own pleasure first and foremost. I am old and I am stubborn. I know what I like and since I rarely get it served in the writing world, I’ll create my own.

And that’s where it may stop. My own. For me and maybe a couple of people who get to see it in the process. And that’s okay. Because I still have it to make me happy. Maybe someday somebody else in a relevant position will get it and lets me show it to the world. Hope dies last.

Anyway, see you next year for WIM. 😄

OMG You’re Hilarious – Thanks I’m Autistic

—no no bear with me. Those two a not only intricately intertwined, they are causative.

But, how, I hear you ask. Autistics don’t understand humour! 🙄

Well, firstly, fuck you.
And secondly, fuck off.

I know humour is hard. You know what else is hard? Socially acceptable replies. There’s so fucking many situations. It takes forever to learn them all. I am far from done, I tell you. Just recently, when I couldn’t fall back on a joke in a conversation I was floundering. Absolutely lost.

But in 80% of situations, you can get away with a joke. Make that 95% if you are willing to take a little awkwardness. (Not comparable with the Big Awkwardness™ resulting from a Bad reply.)

And you know what autistics are good at? CORRECT! Pattern recognition. And humour has a pattern. It takes some time to recognise. I don’t think I was very funny before I turned – oh, 30 at least.

It is a tentative estimate and I put it with me starting to write my hilarious PoV which I have now honed very much. But it started back then and I learnt a lot from the kind people commenting on my updates and telling where they laughed. I put that to good use.

And once I mastered the trick – it worked.

I rarely have to fear spouting a Bad Reply nowadays. If in doubt, joke it out.

The time before tended to be excruciating. Learning humour isn’t fun and having jokes fall flat or bite you in the ass hurts. It was, overall, easier than learning my replies to all possible social situations. (Full disclosure, I don’t think you can do that.)

I also don’t know how I did it in detail. Trail and error at least because I remember some ear-burning shame for really bad jokes that didn’t make it. The positive enforcement from humour that did land would have been double, though: getting around a social interaction I had no idea how to master plus being seen as a fun functional person.

I may or may have neglected my snooping out how to properly react skills. (I think I did.) I’m a waking joke-machine. And while I like it for obvious reasons, I am not sure how good it really is for me.

Also, maybe I am completely wrong about this and the gods just gifted me with a late-blooming talent for utter hilarity. 🤷‍


I am playing connect-the-dots
with the bruises on my skin
each a silent memory
tiny cuts of glaring red
like strokes of paint and splotches of ink
retelling the recent past on brittle skin
and my hands hurt
and my head hurts
and my heart is aching, too
but it’s alright
it is all fine
just a memory of you

Nobody Writes like You

Do you have those moments when you just feel like putting down the pen because it doesn’t even matter? The idea isn’t new, the characters resemble archetypes or worse, clichés. The plot is just hobbling alone and who wants to read all that rambling inner monologue anyway?

Let me tell you a thing: Your story is going to be a unique work of art and only you can do it. Because there is nobody else in the whole wide world who writes as you do. Doubly.

Let me explain.

Firstly: nobody writes like you.

Ideas are a dozen a dime. They wait everywhere, there’s generators for them. The real work is fleshing them out and writing down the actual story. When you tell people ‘I write stories’ how often do they reply: ‘I have this great idea, why don’t you write that?’ Because, let’s face it, the actual writing is the short end of the stick here.

Few people bother with it. Why put down the story in words when it is so perfect and shiny in your head already? Why fight the battle we do when the words don’t come out the way we want or expected? You do. And your voice is unique. The vampire romance in the zombie apocalypse you write has never been done like that before. Your struggling heroes have never been these exact people. Their thoughts and words are new.

The shy girl finding she has superpowers and finding her place in the ‘real’ world and the world of heroes is yours. She will not get her say if not for you. We will never know her. We will only know her sisters. That would be a shame.

You’re slaving over a fix-it fanfic for your fave characters? So what if others have used the same characters or even the same way to fix things? They could never use your words. Your take on things is your very own. So will your story. Nobody before you has taken the words you took and put them the way you did.

You are unique and so is your story. Don’t be discouraged by feeling like an impostor. There are many heroes’ journeys out there, a deluge of coming of age stories, uncountable romances and still people always want more. They want your take on things and they want your story.

Secondly: nobody writes like you.

And I mean your process. It is as unique as you are.

There is a lot of writing advice out there. It will tell you to outline, to plot, to research, to do three arcs, to do five, to use the door system, to know your characters every detail, to avoid adverbs, to avoid ‘said’ to use ‘said’ whenever possible. There a character sheets that tell you what you MUST know, manuals on how to force your story into a certain structure.

But nobody writes like you do. You can find a lot of helpful advice out there. It is still likely that none fits you 100%. You have your own process that works for you. Experimenting to find it is a great thing. Sticking to what you know will work for you can be difficult.

I am a 97% pantser. I do not outline. If I am lucky I have a few places to visit while my characters work their way from the beginning to the end. Yes, I do know the end when I start. It’s like going on a road trip. There’s many ways I can take to the destination. And no, I don’t have character sheets either. Do I know the colour of their eyes? Possibly. If it had relevance at some point. I write those bits down in my little wikis as I go.

I have spent years in anguish over my inability to craft a plot and killed several stories by trying to outline them. But I wanted to write stories and if there was a right way to do this, I needed to learn that, right?

Then one day in my thirties (don’t laugh, ok, well if you have to) I found a summer class by Brandon Sanderson. He took the time to explain several ways of getting an outline for a novel done. Then he said not everybody does it. There are published authors out there that don’t use an outline. I was saved.

So look at what works for you, tweak it, poke it, make it work better. Your best practice can change over time – give it breathing space. And shrug off anybody who tries to tell you you’re doing it wrong. If at the end of the process you have a story, you are doing it right.

Nobody writes like you.