Thursday, August 06, 2009

Writing to Your Strengths

I read an article in the latest RWR about writing to one's strengths. It's a great article. Everyone should check it out.

It got me to thinking. What ARE my writing strengths? And how do I incorporate those into the things I DON'T do so well? And what are those?

And how do I find out? I mean, I am definitely a contest slut. I've got judges sheets on all three of my manuscripts - bunches of 'em. And of course, being human, I tend to look at the negatives, the things they DIDN'T like and obsess about them. How can I fix this? What is wrong with it? Why can't I do it?

So now, I've looked over the sheets and tried to find the things the judges DID like, the consistencies. Once I get a bead on those, I think I can use them to make my weaknesses, less weak.

So, after much research, here are my strengths - my dialogue and my love scenes. I can work with that.

How about you? What are your writing strengths? How can you incorporate them into all aspects of your writing.

Only the good stuff here. What things do you do REALLY well? Inquiring minds want to know!


Jeanie said...

Hmm, this is tough. Hard for me to think about my 'strengths.' I guess I'm pretty good with dialogue and I like to think I can be funny. Weaknesses? Lots. I struggle with conflict and angst and being serious, and I need more structure as a writer and less writing by the seat of my pants! And conflict --did I mention conflict?

Carla Swafford said...

Wow, this was hard. I actually obsess over the negative comments in contests and my poor critique partners have to listen to me rant about the crazy ones.

Anyway, it was hard to find a common thread as judges love to use a thesaurus.

What I found was I know how to rack up the sexual tension and I have a strong voice.

Good blog, Louisa.

Christine said...

Excellent blog! I think my strengths are I have tons of great ideas, and I am workhorse when I sit down to work. I think my voice is getting stronger, and I've been told my sex scenes are pretty darn good.

Weaknesses: a few grammar gremlins (past perfect/perfect etc.) but my darling CPs help out with them. Dialogue? Well I am told I swing both ways--judges either love or hate my dialogue. Characterization--working on that and building it.

Louisa Cornell said...

Jeanie and Carla,

We ALL obsess about our weaknesses and I think that is a problem. You want to be aware of your weaknesses, but I think we really need to own our strengths and use them to work for us, to bolster the weaknesses. So everyone needs to write :

My writing strengths are .......

And post it by your computer to remind yourself that there ARE things you are good at !!

Both of you have terrific strengths. Be proud of them and realize that there are writers everywhere who just WISH they had your strengths!

Louisa Cornell said...

Christine those are GREAT strengths! Especially the workhorse part. And hey, lots of writers would KILL to say they have a lot of ideas! Good for you!

Naima said...

I really liked this blog, because I also tend to focus--okay OBSESS over my negatives! But, you helped me to stop and think about what I'm good at. Something I don't do as often as I should.

So, here are my strengths. I've been told my dialogue is a good aspect of my writing and I'm getting more and more comfortable with love scenes. I'm also learning to think more outside of the box with my plotting, so I intend for that to become one of my strengths.

Whew! That felt good! LOL!

Karen Beeching said...

Loved this blog, Louisa.

Okay, no negative. No negative. No negative.

Dialogue. Love scenes. Breakneck pacing. Good twists.

This is what people have told me, anyway. Okay, I have to say I REALLY DISLIKE writing description. Like, the house had yellow curtains that matched her dafodile pants or whatever have you. Yuck. Hate that.

Probably cause I don't like reading it. Not a strength.

I tried, Louisa. I really did.

Audrey said...

Good point! It's way too easy to see the negative!

I'm pretty new to the game, so I only have a little to go on...but its appears I'm able to flush out characters' flaws. For better or worse, I guess that is my "strength". I'm afraid EVERYTHING else needs A LOT of work!

Louisa Cornell said...

Congratulations, Naima! Those are some great strengths! Now, remember what I said, Print them out in a really eye-catching font and post them next to your computer! And every time you want to hang on to that negative look at those words and smile!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey, Karen, those are some great strengths! I envy you the pacing one!

Try to incorporate that breakneck pacing and those twists into your descriptions. It's worth a shot!

Louisa Cornell said...

Now flushing out a character's flaws is NOT easy to do. That is A LOT to work with. That is something that goes to layering which is a very advanced writing skill. You are off to a great start, Audrey!

Diane Richmond said...

I like writing description and I get lost in my head in the scene and sometimes forget to show as much as telling. Guess Karen and I should pair up. We'd have it made.

M.V.Freeman said...

I write "creepy" very well.
Weird, I know. I like to plot.
Its the nit picky things like transition scenes that I really struggle with and some dialogue. I have a tendency to tell not show, and grammer is one I struggle with (I think I've over come my semi-colon addiction)

Bottom line, just like to write...LOL now I have to clean it up.