Sorry for the title (which would make sense if this was about reading), but I didn’t want to title it, “My Strengths As A Writer” because it sounds like one of those back-to-school reports we used to have to write in elementary school. “What I Did During Summer Vacation.”
So what are my greatest writing strengths? I’d have to say dialogue and plotting. I’m also rather prolific. These are probably the three things I have going for me, on top of being persistent and constantly working on something new.
Of course you can only say so much about your strengths as a writer without mentioning weaknesses. My greatest weakness is description. That’s something I have to work at because when I *see* my characters I view their thoughts and feelings, their actions and reactions, but rarely do I stop to describe every outfit or hairstyle or even the intricate details of the world around them. Why? Because stories are about characters.
I’m one of those readers who tends to skim long paragraphs of description in other people’s work. I tend to be very imaginative and can fill in the blanks without the writer spoon feeding me. Actually – I prefer filling in the blanks anyway. Consequently, that’s kind of how I write. I give the reader the a bare minimum of description so I can tell a story about the characters. Of course my editors are always directing me to fix the lack of description and you’ll often catch me adding descriptions after the initial story is written for that reason.
On the flip side of that, dialogue is one of those things I’m not often asked to fix. I started out in journalism and during my formative years and a writer I was taught to write tight. That is, say what you had to say clearly in as few words as possible. I think perhaps this has been both a blessing and a curse for me. A blessing because a lot of people tell me they love my work because it’s clear and concise. Especially the non-fiction. A curse because my novels tend to be short and to the point. In a world where 80K novels are the standard, my average novel is usually in the 50-60K range. I also tend to write a good number of novellas and novelettes.
Plotting is a different animal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Believe you me, if it isn’t, there will be an editor breathing down my neck with a, “What the hell were you thinking?” or “Um, that doesn’t work, my dear.” So while I sure can write the intricate plots and my editors generally love them, they’re not always good the first go round and require tweaking.
So what are your strengths as a writer?
About The FM Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour
Today’s post was inspired by the topic Your Strengths as a Writer. This month’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and read their thoughts on their writing strengths, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. I blog with this tour the 25th of every month. Up next on the tour: Becky Pratt!