Tuesday, 18 September 2018

#GuestPost #Augustchallenge #winner, Tanya Miranda on being STUCK IN THE STORY

Hi! Denise here!

A huge congratulations to Tanya Miranda who won the WEP/IWSG Inaugural August challenge, A CHANGE OF HEART. 

Her winning flash fiction was described by editor/judge Nick Wilford:  "Tanya's flash made the biggest impact on me and posed a profound question that makes us all ponder as humans." If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Tanya's entry, GO HERE.

All WEP/IWSG winners are asked to write a guest post. Tanya is sharing a very personal experience regarding being:


Thank you to the WEP team for selecting my story as the winner for the August Challenge, and for having me here today. I was taken entirely by surprise at the win, which ended my summer on a tremendous high note. Today, I’m going to talk about a moment when I hit a wall while working on a project, and what happened that helped me overcome this obstacle.

A few years ago, I completed my romance novel A Selfish Moment. It was technically done, but I had that sneaky little gut feeling that something was missing, something important. I didn't know what it was.

The story had a great ending. My beta readers raved. My editor and I went through the rounds smoothly. I was ready to start the publishing process, but this uneasy feeling was like a pesky woodpecker that would not stop pecking! There was something about the ending that wasn’t right, and my gut was telling me so.

A thousand self-doubting questions filled my head. I lost a lot of sleep. I couldn’t proceed with publishing until I addressed this nagging sensation. Out of pure frustration, I put this project on hold. I was miserable, being so close to the finish line.

For the next few weeks, I read tons and worked on other unrelated projects. I watched movies and read books on writing. I forced myself to forget about it for the moment and move onto newer things since my efforts to “finish” my book were proving to be futile.

Then, a novel-based movie came out that caught my attention. I LOVE reading the book (or series) before watching the movie adaptation and comparing. Yup, I’m that annoying person in the theater that whispers, “that’s not how it happened in the book.”

I devoured the trilogy in a couple of days and loved it. The movie was good too, but not as good as the book. Then, one night, as I was lying in bed and comparing book to movie, I had an AHA moment. I figured out what was wrong with the ending to my novel.

The ending to that story had a format that stung—a story BEYOND the end of the story. It’s not a new revolutionary format, but nothing I had experienced at the time stood out the way that did. I wrote the last chapter of my novel in a couple of hours, and I slept soundly for the first time in weeks.

And, I learned a lot in dealing with a "difficult" or "stuck" manuscript. These bullet points can work for any project.

1 – Trust your gut.

It was illogical for me to doubt the story as it was, especially since I got so much positive feedback, but I was not budging. My mom claims I have always been stubborn, and this time it worked for me. Listen to your gut; it knows you better than you know yourself!

2 – If you’re stuck, step away.

When you’re stuck, and I mean really stuck, like I-will-burn-my-story-if-I-read-it-one-more-time stuck, sometimes you just need a serious break. Go bike riding. Work on your next project. Take up art. Read loads of books and short stories in different genres. Try reading and writing poetry. Clean your mental pallet and give your mind a break.

3 – Sometimes you have to stop trying.

At the time I had that AHA moment, I wasn’t trying to fix the issue. I didn’t even know what the problem was let alone how to address it. I had re-read my book a dozen times looking for errors, to the point of resentment. I was at a loss, and I almost gave up. Luckily, my break recharged my brain and opened it up to new ways of thinking. New ideas can come from anywhere, so be open and ready.

I hope my experience helps anyone who is stuck on a story and feels hopeless. It's a horrible feeling, being unable to pass the finish line, but I think it's one of those experiences that are good for the writer's soul.

After decades in I.T. building software for the e-commerce industry, Tanya Miranda finally gave in to her lifelong love of writing. She writes stories and poetry in many genres and posts some of her pieces on her blog for the world to read.

Visit her at http://www.tanyamiranda.com to read her flash fiction and poetry, and don't forget to sign up to get a free copy of her fantasy novel, The Box Of Souls.

She's still super giddy about winning the August Challenge and has been spotted breaking into a happy dance in the streets of North Bergen, New Jersey. Her children have begged her to stop to no avail.

Thanks Tanya!


As most of you would have picked up from our posts, Yolanda Renee, Denise's right-hand woman and co-host extraordinaire, is retiring from the WEP team after the October challenge which she is co-ordinating. Florence has been giving Yolanda a hard time. She had to evacuate her condo in South Carolina. It was lovely that Yolanda was out of danger, but we all know the disruptions weather can cause, but like a true author, Yolanda used the time to write her horror story for the next challenge!

So, to ensure the ongoing success of the WEP/IWSG partnership, we needed a new addition to the team. LG Keltner was chosen. She's been an enthusiastic participant for a long time and has talent which will enhance our success.  

Hey folks, Renee, here: just stopped in to welcome Laura, the new co-host. Yes, Hurricane Florence did tragically impact North Carolina where it made landfall and has hit South Carolina, my new home, with ongoing flooding. We were lucky. We evacuated. Thanks, everyone, for your concern, and you, Denise for your lovely words. You're right, I worked on my October Challenge, in fact, I wrote two short stories. But that's not why I'm here, today.

I'm here to welcome Laura. The newest member of the WEP Team. When Denise told me she'd chosen Laura. I immediately said, "She's a perfect choice." I've known Laura since 2008 when I first joined the IWSG, and I was always impressed by her skill. She's an incredibly talented writer, blogger, and publisher. As a natural storyteller, I've no doubt that she'll add depth, creativity, and expert editing skills to the WEP. While she's your go-to girl in all things science fiction, she's just as prolific in the other genres. But more importantly, she's a great blogging friend.

WELCOME, Laura! I'm thrilled that you'll be a part of the WEP family! I’m genuinely honored that you’ll be considered my replacement. A compliment in itself!

A quick word from L.G.:
Hello everyone! I'm looking forward to being a part of this fantastic team and reading some excellent submissions in the upcoming challenges. I'm honored to have been asked to come aboard, and I hope to contribute all I can to the success of this group.

Not long to the next exciting challenge for the WEP/IWSG 'writing together' partnership. Please consider joining us for the eagerly-anticipated October challenge. GO HERE to gather ideas for how you might like to approach this challenge, but really, there is complete freedom to write it your way.

                           And Laura!

We'd love if you'd Tweet this post or share to Facebook or your favorite social media site.

Come join the August 2018 Challenge winner, Tanya Miranda, for Stuck in the Story @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @theIWSG https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2018/09/guestpost-augustchallenge-winner-tanya.html #amwriting #flashfiction

Tips from Tanya Miranda for when stuck in your story @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @theIWSG  https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2018/09/guestpost-augustchallenge-winner-tanya.html #amwriting #flashfiction

See our latest winner as she stops by for a guest post, Stuck in the Story, and some breaking news @DeniseCCovey @YolandaRenee @theIWSG https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2018/09/guestpost-augustchallenge-winner-tanya.html #amwriting #flashfiction


  1. Trusting our guts is wonderful advice - on all sorts of levels. Thanks Tanya.
    And, on the rare occasions I go to the movie I am also the infuriating person muttering 'the book wasn't like this'.
    I am so glad that Renee is safe.
    And a big welcome to L.G.

    1. Sue, I was very, very lucky! Thank you!

      I'm also a person who hates when they change the story, but sometimes I will admit that it works.

      Great post Tanya, and you are so right. Walking away does bring surprises when your muse finally works it out. I love that moment!

  2. That's such good advice from Tanya! I often find a 'cooling' period reboots the creative muscle when stuck. Stepping back is the way forward.

    I am so relieved and glad Renee is safe, awful news of disasters coming in from both sides of the globe. Disturbing and worrisome.

    A very warm welcome to Laura. Looking forward to the October challenge now - thinking cap's on :)

    1. Nila, it's unbelievable the weather stories that are covering the globe, but will we, the humans in charge take notice? I hope so. So much misery caused by fierce winds, water and the non-desire to protect our home, our planet.

      I'm thrilled Laura is here!

    2. Thank you for being so welcoming!

  3. Thanks for having me Denise! It was fun writing this piece.

    So thankful they evacuated as many people as they did before the hurricane. It could have been so much worse. Stay safe Renee.

    1. Thanks, Tanya. We're blessed. We had the ability to leave. So many didn't, and don't.

      Loved the post, a reminder that sometimes the deadline just can't be rushed! You always know when it right!

    2. Thanks for sharing such a great post with us! You had some wonderful advice!

  4. Congratulations to you Laura for joining Denise in the WEP seat, as you all move forward to joining in with IWSG ... the collaboration will be really good.

    Congratulations to Tanya for your story - I'm on my way over to re-read now ...

    Yolanda/Renee - I'm so glad you're safe and I hope not too waterlogged ... Madame Florence hasn't been kind ...

    Well done Nick on making the winning selection from the entries submitted - lots of them ...

    Cheers to one and all - Hilary

    1. We are fine and home again. It's been a long week, but much longer for those who are still in shelters. Thanks, Hilary!

    2. Thanks you! I'm glad to be a part of the team!

  5. Congrats L. G in your new leadership team role.

    Tanya loved the story. I love the emotional aspect of your writing.

    Yolanda I am so glad you are safe. I am in Florida. This one missed us but last years went right over us, so I know how unsettling it all can be. Hope you found your home safe on return or at least better than expected.

  6. I like your bullet list, Tanya. I'm often stuck at the end of my stories for some reason, and I can affirm that your advice is a sound one. It helps to step away, to put some distance to your project. Often, the right ending comes along when you're not trying.
    Laura, welcome to WEP. I'm so glad you'll be here. Less stress for the rest of us, especially at posting time. :))

    1. Ditto less stress, Olga. LG is going to be an awesome addition to the team.

    2. Thank you! I'm glad to be here!

  7. Renee, I'm so glad to hear you're safe! And congrats on using the situation to get some writing done. And congratulations to Tanya on the much deserved win! Your story was haunting and posed a fascinating question.

    1. Thanks, Laura. WELCOME aboard! You'll love it!

    2. Laura. I just can't say WELCOME in enough languages!

  8. How true this rings! That nattering inner voice should never be ignored. How smart of you to stop and listen. Congratulations on your WEP win. Great job.

    1. It's a great guest post for sure, Clem!

    2. It was more like a gnawing tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat... you get the idea.:-D

  9. Nice post! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Stepping away and doing other things sure can make all the difference as that "poof" moment arrives.

    1. Poof, Pat! Thanks for the awesome tweets!

    2. Stepping away for a time has definitely worked for me. Solid advice.

  11. So glad you are safe, Yolanda. (I have been following the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC, luckily away from Florence but influenced by it.)

    Informative post, Tanya - congratulations again on the win.

    Glad you've stepped on board, Laura - well forward.

    1. Florence sure got a lot of coverage didn't it Roland? But my heart really went out to the Philippines, Hong Kong and China -- so much harder hit. Nature sure packs a punch!

    2. Thanks Roland, we were very luck!

  12. A lot worse than the US or Caribbean - also see that some WEG events were cancelled due to Florence, but that's minor.

    1. I agree. All loss of life is to be bemoaned. I think it'll be awhile til we see the true number of Philippine dead. :-(

  13. Thanks for sharing the tips, Tanya, helpful information is always welcome. Also want to wish LG welcome as one of the admins! October is coming up fast, but I plan to be there when the signup starts for the next challenge.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Looking forward to seeing you at sign up DG. Always an exciting time.

  14. Thanks for sharing your story Tanya. Trusting your gut is important in a creative field like this.
    My heart goes out to Yolanda. I know you're not going away just stepping down, still you will be missed. At least we still get to read your submissions.
    Congratst to LG. Happy to have you with us.
    I'm so excited about the October prompt.

  15. Great advice, Tanya. I've told my daughter, daughter-in-law, and all first time mothers to trust their gut with regard to their infants. The same is true with our writing. Best wishes and congrats on your win.

    Welcome, Laura. I'm sure you'll do a great job.

    1. That's great advice Diane, to the new moms. Motherhood can only be navigated with your gut instinct.

  16. Great that you were able to honor your inner guidance system, Tanya,even when everyone else was not seeing it.
    Yolanda,glad you made it through the storm and sorry this is your last challenge. I will miss you.
    Welcome,Laura. I look forward to hearing your comments and appreciate your support already. :)

  17. Oddly, I can relate. My novel had a good ending. People liked it. But then I realized that the neat little bow... it was all wrong. Took me three months. But once I changed it, my Beta's were like, "Ohh...yeah, that is better. I miss the old ending but... yeah... this one is better." And there went the neat little bow and on came the publishing.

    Sorry to see Yolanda Renee go. That sucks about the hurricane. Those beasts are awful! Glad it didn't blow the muse away though.

    Hey LG / Laura! A favorite humor author of mine.

  18. Congrats to Tanya! Her story is fabulous.

    I'm so sorry that my computer woes took place during the August WEP time frame and I didn't get an opportunity to respond to blog comments on my Change Of Heart story. It was a Windows problem... At one stage the tech guy said he couldn't retrieve any documents. A nightmare!! But eventually he sorted it.
    I just hope that I managed to visit all those who visited my blog, from the previous challenge. Apologies if anyone was left out...

    I'm so happy to hear that Yolanda is okay! Take care of yourself, Yolanda!
    Welcome to LG! She's an amazing writer!

  19. I agree about trusting our instincts over a story. I think we know if something isn't quite right, and we'll never be satified until we find and fix whatever it is.

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