HOW TO FIGURE OUT YOUR WRITING WEAKNESS
I hope everyone enjoyed Memorial Day. I certainly did, even though I’ve been sick for the past few days. That said, I cooked up some elephantine hamburgers yesterday by mistake. I couldn’t stop laughing at these fist-sized loaves of meat. But I digress.
As writers, it’s important to know what our strengths and weaknesses are. Many people don’t want to admit their blind spots, which ultimately hinders their writing.
For me, as many of you may already know, I have trouble when it comes to fight scenes.
So here I am writing my trilogy that must have fight scenes, but I always freeze whenever I get to them. I perform my mantras, and eventually a well-crafted scene emerges, but it takes thought, practice, and advice.
Some writers have trouble with grammar. I’ve read some works that need a serious red pen, but the writer must have assumed that he needed no assistance. One exercise that will help us more than most is to think of our writing challenges and either list them or file them in the mental file cabinet.
How does this help? Well, it will give us the drive to find the right tools to make sure that we are writing our best.
There’s no reason for us to have redundant repetitions, misspelled wurds, and flighty and weightless jargon.
I attend a writer’s group that I found on meetup.com, and I also bounce ideas off of one of my good friends. If you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or you need someone to edit your work, I currently edit for free.
So please know that I’ll give honest feedback. Just don’t ask me to review a published work since it’s already in print and my feedback really won’t assist with your current WIP.
I say all this to say, know that I truly am an advocate of writers because I know how therapeutic the practice can be.
Anyway. I’d like to hear what some of your weaknesses are when it comes to writing. Please comment below.
Thanks for stopping by.
That’s very kind of you to offer to edit. I wonder how many zillions will take you up on it! ;o)
I hate writing action scenes. I much prefer writing slower scenes where the characters have got time to think and take things in. But I get through them. They just take a bit longer and a bit more crafting. But practice makes perfect!
how many zillions indeed haha.
And yeah, I like the slower scenes where the characters process the information and the tension builds within their relationships. That said, I like you, must labor through the action. I do find myself taking my time through those action scenes though, just so I can clearly get my point across.
“I much prefer writing slower scenes” << I totally read that as "shower scenes" at first glance :p
*Must get mind out of gutter* *Must get mind out of gutter*
Lol! Funny that u say that bc when I read your reply, it read like “shower” to me too lol. Taking your advice and keeping my mind outta the gutter haha
Actually I don’t mind writing naughty scenes as long as the couple are taking the sweet sweet time about it. ;o)
hahaha might have had something to do with the Rachel Gibson romance I was reading last night :p
Ahhhh yup that’ll do it 🙂
Lol that’s something I’ve never tried to write haha
It seems like we’re opposites. I’m great with fight scenes, but I often neglect character development, which is one of your central concerns. For fight scenes, I think of what physical action the characters perform, piece by piece. It’s kind of like writing a list of those pieces. Then, I check to make sure I vary my verbs (Character A threw a punch, Character B blocked then drove his fist forward). And, lastly, there’s the environmental details. A character who falls on the ground should scrape his skin or get dirt in his mouth (if they’re outside). Weapons make it slightly harder. Take swords for example. You have to decide whether you want to use simple vocab (Character C slashed) or specific vocab (Character D blocked, then riposted).
When I wrote stories as a kid, I did them PURELY for the fight scenes, so they come natural to me. As I matured, I realized having all of those fight scenes would overwhelm my readers. Also, I realized that character development stuff was important, too (so they say). Because I TRY to make a multi-faceted character, I sometimes get lost in deciding which facet is the one that needs to be resolved. Something I had to learn (the hard way) is that every character is in some way cliche. Therefore, I shouldn’t make up overly complex characters in an attempt to not be cliche. Now to put that principle into practice…
Man that’s impressive. I usually find myself coming to a fight scene and freezing. I take long deep breaths and just try not to get overwhelmed. I can usually knock out a battle in one sitting. In fact, it feels better to get it over with. The crazy thing is this: whenever I go back and read the scene, I usually feel the tension and the fear that I was trying to portray, which is a good thing. So I do enjoy reading fight scenes, but writing them can be a bit overwhelming at times.
As far as character development, I greatly enjoy delving into the pysche of my characters. I like for things to be revealed about them as the plot unfolds, and I look forward to revealing their motives throughout the story. That’s usually where I thrive – almost to a fault. I tend to find myself too consumed with character development sometimes because it is a crutch, and I have to realize that if readers are to care about my characters, then the details about their lives needs to be succint and powerful rather than long and drawn out.
Succint and powerful is the name of the game. Some writers have a way of being overly critical of their own work. If your fight scenes convey the emotions you’re searching for, I would say “mission complete”.
I belong to the same writers meet up group. It’s very true – writers need feedback. Thanks so much for your generosity in offering your time to edit. I agree that writing is therapeutic, a cathartic that opens the floodgates for a swollen river of damned up ideas…
My weaknesses are innumerable and listing them is a challenge. For starters, I am shy about sharing my work. I am also terrible at spelling. My current WIP is a novel about innocence slipping into evil. This conversation is from a Neal Shusterman novel and sums up the theme of my WIP…
“At least your intentions were good.”
“But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
“So is the road to Heaven. And if you worry too much about which road you’re paving, you know where you’ll end up?”
I apologize for the lengthy rambling comment (another weakness!) Your blog resonates with me.
Wow, I’m already intrigued. Be sure to share when you’re done
My weakness is scene construction, i.e. making my scenes drive the reader to turn the page… I’m working on it.
I don’t have much experience with fight scenes… Only one I’ve done so far involved a young boy and a very large rabbit….
A young boy a large rabbit lol!! Can’t even imagine who won that fight.
And yeah scene constructing can be tough so I had to research that too. And it has since gotten better.
The boy won, with help from a Carrion crow 😉
Have you done a post on scene construction? If not, I’d love to host you on my blog if you’d like to do a guest post!
Nice!!! The rabbit was too fierce haha.
Actually I have done scene construction – at least three. They’re scheduled to be posted for the next three days.
Funny you asked about that though. Your timing is impeccable.
I look forward to them 😀
My weakness is tense lol……I mix past and present all the time and have to go back through and change it all lol. One minute my character walks to the door, two sentences later she walked out of it 😦
I drive myself insane!!!! Lol
Lol!! That’s so funny. The only time I have tense issues is when I’ve tried to write in present tense. I always always always flip right back to past, having my characters “walked out of the door” as well.
I was going to change my wip to present tense. I got 25% through book 2 in the present and realized that it was impossible for me to eradicate the past so I changed it back to past tense. It’s funny bc as I’ve edited book 2, I still find hints of the present tense lingering from where I’d once abandoned it lol
Wow, good on you for even attempting it! 🙂
I don’t think I could write a whole piece in present tense. Here in the UK present tense is very trendy at the moment, but, nah, sorry, I’ll stick to the old fashioned way 😉
You’re in the past, then the present, the past, the present. Relax. You’re too tense.
Reblogged this on christinaow.
My main weakness is length, which is a bit funny (and not the ha-ha kind) considering I’ve been reading your blog every day for the past few weeks. I write short stories. I’m an impatient writer. I get so excited to finish the story and get on to the next one. At one point, all I wrote was flash fic.
Lately, though, my stories have lengthened, and I’ve even written into the novelette/novella range. I’m more patient with my writing. For the first time since I began writing, I’ve wrapped my head around writing a novel-length work. I’ve loosened my pacing and allowed the story to spin out a bit more.
As I develop longer pacing, I know eventually I will write a novel-length work, as long as I stay patient as I write.
First of all, thanks for taking the time to read my blog!
And yeah length is a tough thing to overcome. The good thing for you is that you have practiced writing succinctly which means that once you write your novel, you’ll have such a command of language that every word will be necessary – which unfortunately I can’t say for myself.