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Writing strengths and weaknesses

Post inspired by robinellen.

This is all my own perspective, of course--whether I'm evaluating myself accurately or not, it's hard to say. ;)

Things I think I do well:

1) Characters--I think I do a pretty solid job of developing characters, giving them nuances and dimensions that made them three-dimensional, and portraying them in shades of gray rather than "good guy" and "bad guy." I have a lot of fun figuring out quirks and backstories even for relatively minor characters.

2) Endings--While they're never perfect the first time out, I find I'm usually able to pull off climaxes that tie the stories threads together and are emotionally satisfying, without being predictable.

3) Premise--I come up with lots of unique ideas, or twists on done-ideas, that seem to stand out from the crowd.

Things I think I need to work on:

1) Dialogue--I think I've gotten better at this, but I still have to really work at making different characters "sound" different and believable.

2) Setting/Description--Something I've struggled with a long time. I've had readers say they really like my descriptions, so obviously I've made progress, but it doesn't come automatically yet. Part of the problem is that, despite being a very visual person, I don't usually visualize stories when I'm reading them, so I don't do it with the stories I write, either, unless I make myself. Which means I have to keep reminding myself to dip into the sensory experiences of the character in the scene.

3) Structure/Big Picture--I've commented before that I have trouble stepping back and looking at a novel as a whole, how all the threads work together and play off each other. So sometimes I neglect elements that should come into play, which can affect plausibility, consistency, pacing, etc. This is why I always outline carefully before writing, and re-outline before a rewrite.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
robinellen
Jan. 6th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Well, I definitely agree with all your listed strengths -- and then some! Your stories are so well tied together that I come away in awe of what you've done :)

Because of that, I'd say you've done a great job with the big picture, as well. I never feel that anything is missing in that regard...and I've not noticed any dialogue problems, either. Your books don't have a lot of dialogue -- compared to someone like me, for example. But then, mine are probably dialogue heavy :)
megancrewe
Jan. 6th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
*blushes* I'm glad you like them so much!

I don't think there's anything I'm completely horrible at--I doubt there's anything you're completely horrible at, either! :) But there are definitely things I have to work harder at. I don't have to think too much about developing my characters; it's just something I do automatically. But, for example, I do have to stop myself and consciously check the dialogue, fix it, check it again, fix it again... I have a mental checklist of 'things to remember when writing' because they're things I tend to neglect. It's all a learning process, right? Figuring out your weaknesses and doing your best to work with them. :D

I don't think I found your novel dialogue-heavy (at least not enough that I remember it being so). I like novels with a lot of dialogue, and I think it makes sense with YA--teens do tend to talk a lot! ;) Which is why I wish it came more naturally to me. You're lucky to have an ear for it!
robinellen
Jan. 6th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
I like your idea of a checklist...that's what I really need to do with my character development--just always have it in the back of my mind.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books


Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014


The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012


The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013


The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014


Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014


Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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