Wednesday, March 3, 2021

IWSG March: Risk Taking in Writing and Author Bio Question

 


It's IWSG Blog Hop Day! A time to consider our writing, to share our insecurities, and to encourage one another! Many thanks to found Alex J. Cavanaugh, the whole volunteer admin team, and the co-hosts this month:  Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose!

OPTIONAL QUESTION FOR MARCH - Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

(Eek, I have the wrong question up! Sorry. It's actually about reading. Okay, so is this the question for next month? Idk. Oy.) Well, here's the answer for the question I asked myself, I guess. 

In brief, I am a risk taker in my short fiction and poetry. I've tried writing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd POV for short fiction and poetry. I've tried experimental fiction forms and poetry forms I didn't know existed ten years ago. I've written in present and past tense. I like experimenting with short fiction and poems.

When I write anything longer than 5,000 words, I fall into a pattern of third person point of view in past tense. I tried to write a first person novel in present tense and somewhere between the second and third chapter in my rough draft, I switched back to third person in past tense. I tried rewriting the chapters, and reverted again. I ended up with a mess. So, for now, I am a third person POV writer who experiments in first and second person only in short stories.


AUTHOR BIOS

I have always struggled with author bios. I have said too little, too much, and written things oddly in a way that raised a few eyebrows like in one bio when I described my family and used the phrase: multitalented husband. I didn't mean it the way it was taken, but yes, it was commented on, my daughters were embarrassed, and my husband had a few chuckles.

Here are a few of the bios I've used, and one more at the end. If you have time, please let me know which one you think I should use and why in the comments.

1. The longest one is actually a page on my blog and I decided not to rewrite it here. Let's just say I plan not to go with it in the future.

2. I love words. I love the shape and taste of them. I find refuge in words and stories. I don’t always get it “right,” but I write anyway. It’s in my bones. – Tyrean Martinson

3. Tyrean Martinson lives near Gig Harbor, has a BA in English Education from WWU, works as a property manager and tutor, enjoys walking, and has recently taking up kickboxing. She’s the mom of two college-age daughters who are both into engineering and who don’t like Star Wars or Shakespeare, which means their mom didn’t brainwash them enough, although she really tried. Tyrean is an indie author of several books, both fiction and non-fiction, and has had over 100 short works published. She’s an admin for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and a member of the SCBWI. She’s on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and has a blog at https://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/

4. Tyrean Martinson, lifelong SFF fan, fenced foil and saber in college, once acted in plays, and then became a teacher and writing tutor, which gives her plenty of opportunity to use Star Wars and Marvel movies as examples, and gesture theatrically when she makes a point.

5. Tyrean Martinson (she/her) changes her bio nearly every time she submits a story. Why can’t she decide on the best one? Because decisions are hard. Life is too full of possibilities and wonder. Tyrean writes science fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, terrible poetry, devotions, and any idea that feels shiny with wonder. Her newest novella, Liftoff, was something she wrote to entertain herself during early quarantine, a “popcorn movie” style YA novella she hopes will be fun for readers, too.

6. Tyrean Martinson writes for her old self: the child who found refuge in the library, who found hope in stories, especially those which showed evil defeated by the roar of a lion, a small hobbit with a sword, a faithful friend, a bar of chocolate, or a band of unlikely heroes. Writing is in her soul and her bones, a part of who God created her to be as a daydreamer, creator, teacher, and believer. Tyrean is a member of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a critique group, and the SCBWI. Tyrean has written and published The Champion Trilogy, Liftoff, Flicker: A Collection of Short Stories and Poetry, Dragonfold and Other Stories, A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts, 5…4…3…2…1…Write: Speculative Fiction Prompts; Light Reflections (a poetry chapbook), and Dynamic Writing curriculum. She has also had over 100 short works of short fiction and poetry published in various magazines, ezines, and anthologies. Tyrean has a BA in English Education with additional teaching certificates in social studies and humanities. She has certificates from the Commercial Fiction Class of 2000, and the Advanced Commercial Fiction Class of 2001 from the University of Washington continuing education program. She also continues to take classes and teach classes in creative writing.

*Tyrean pronounces her name with a hard “e” sound in the second syllable. Her parents created this name for her, and only later discovered it was out there in the world already, with other pronunciations.  

What do you think? Are any of them useable? The last one just feels way too long for me. Do I take out some of the specific titles? And, do I include a pronunciation guide or is that a nerdy/rude thing to do?

In addition to these options, there's one where I tried to include that I'm the daughter of an amputee and someone with mental health issues, and have a multi-racial extended family. I was trying to give reasons for writing a story with an amputee and diverse characters, but it all felt wrong and awkward.

Please help, otherwise, this is me, running between options, probably way more confused than The Weekend in this gif:

via GIPHY

26 comments:

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Tyrean, even I like to take risks in my writing, by choosing themes for my short stories that other writers will run away from!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I always write in third person.
I like the third one best.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

For the bios, I think it depends on where you're using it. Some places want really brief ones, others only want one link, etc. I think I remember reading somewhere that we should have more than one bio at the ready, like a short one, a longer version, etc. (But don't quote me on this since I really do need more coffee.... :))

Nick Wilford said...

I think number 3 is the most informative and also has a splash of humour. 5 is funny but probably a bit too much so!

Short stories are a great place to experiment because you can try different things out without committing to thousands of words in that style. Sounds like you've got a good approach.

Jemi Fraser said...

Bios are hard! Love how "you" shine through in these - my fave is 4 ... or 3 ... or 5 ... or 2...

Ellen Jacobson said...

I love #5! It made me smile and think, "Hey, she sounds like a fun person that I would want to know."

I bet everyone is going to give you a different answer on this :)

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I like 3 and 4 the best. They tell me about you and also show your sense of humor. The last one definitely drags.

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

Also, I have been pronouncing your name wrong this entire time. I've been saying Tie-reen.

cleemckenzie said...

I like the 3rd person, past tense, but I've dabbled in 1st person, too. Like you, I experiment once in a while.

Oh, and I hate writing my bio. I guess I'm not comfortable writing about myself.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

#3 is the most professional. But bios can be of different length depending where they are being used. Back of book - very short. Inside book - #3 is good. Amazon - 2-3 lines professional stuff only. Anyway, you get my drift.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I only write in 3rd person so far. I like #3 best because it sounds more professional but also tells some interesting tidbits about you. I think you should mention your publications. Maybe look at the bios on book jackets to see how other authors do theirs.

M.J. Fifield said...

I don't know if I'm a risk taker, but I like to experiment with different things in writing. I've written in 3rd person, past tense a lot, but for some reason, anything I start during NaNoWriMo is in 1st person, present tense. I don't know why that is, but it happens every time.

I'm so bad at author bios. I recruit my brother to write mine because I don't like to do it. Like Lee said, I'm not comfortable writing about myself. I just ask that they be short and not serious. (You know, like me...) They change a little bit for each story.

For what it's worth, Number Four made me laugh.

Chemist Ken said...

I think #3 is the best, although I would change the "which means their mom didn’t brainwash them enough, although she really tried" to something simpler, like "much to my disappointment."

Now that I think about it, I need to get around to writing an author bio for myself. Sigh.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Awesome feedback so far! Thanks, everyone for reading those!
I might get back for individual responses, but for now I'm off to comment on your blogs. :)

Lee Lowery said...

I love #5, but then I tend to chafe at having to conform to someone else's idea of "professional."

I've struggled with both first and third person, and find it rather depends upon the project. I think it's about finding a rhythm that's comfortable.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I like to write in first person and third, past tense. I tried writing in present tense and kept screwing up...LOL.

If you are querying agents, I don't believe they want your entire life story because they get sooo many queries, just the basics about your publishing credits and your BA in English Education is a nice touch. As far as a bio for an agent, I would keep it simple. If a person doesn't have any publishing credits, you don't have to put in a bio.

If your bio is for a magazine article or something other than querying for an agent than I like #3.

Z.A. Waterstone said...

Short fiction is great for risk taking. I read an article on Writer Unboxed not too long ago about the difference between novel-length and short fiction with tips for those who naturally write long and short who want to try the other side. Not sure if I can use links here, so, the title is "Focus on Short Fiction" by Julie Duffy. Fascinating, seeing the differences between the two forms.

I write under this name and another one (*not* Julie Duffy). Under my other one, I've written a number of bios and found it really depends on the kind of writing it's paired with. So...it depends?

If you want to sound very professional, #3. But if your writing is funny, #4. And so on. Good luck!

Sarah Foster said...

I'm the opposite - I always write in first person past tense and when I try third person it goes horribly.

Jenni said...

I like #2, but that's because I always like hearing about other kids. I like more than a sentence, but not too long of a bio. I usually write in 1st or 3rd past, but I'm trying a 1st present. It seems like that's how the first couple chapters are coming out, but I'll see if I can keep that up through the whole book.:)

Carrie-Anne said...

My natural POV is third-person omniscient, though I do enjoy first-person interludes in the form of letters, op-eds, journal entries, love notes, etc. Most of my books are in past tense, though two of my family sagas are in present tense.

I like #6 the best, though I might break it into several smaller paragraphs.

Fundy Blue said...

I'll go with #3, Tyrean, although I liked #6 (If you end it after ezines and anthologies). But then, I loved all those wonderful childhood books and characters. I always read the author's bio after finishing a book, long or short. I think which you choose depends on where you are using it. I'm writing a memoir, so I'm using 1st POV. However since I'm working with a collection of letters written mostly by my father, I'm also writing third person from his POV. That may be a no no, but I'll worry about that later. I don't think a pronunciation guide for your name is wrong. I appreciated it. Also, I taught third grade for many years ~ I know how important names are!!! Take care!

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

Hi Tyrean, yes,total risk taker. Trying to write post modernist books, fan of Angela Carter, no one more risk taking than she was 🌹

Alice said...

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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - I admire you trying the various ways ... but I agree with Alex on both his points. You've got lots going on and have achieved lots ... all the best - Hilary

Diane Burton said...

My book group "forces" me to take a risk in reading. I love writing in 1st person (either present or past tense) because my quirky voice comes out. LOL Mostly, I write in 3rd person past. No risk there. For a bio, the shorter the better. If it's too long, I'll skip most of it. But that's me with my lack of focus.

Chrys Fey said...

#5 made me chuckle. My bio stays the same for the most part. I use a short bio for guest posts when bios are better short. Sometimes I tweak the beginning depending on what I'm promoting (fiction or non-fiction.) But I will change my bio when the time is right (when I publish a specific series).