Every writer has a weakness. For some it's plot, for others it's character depth. Or grammar and spelling, loose ends, subplots, inconsistencies . . . you get the picture. :-) It's imperative that a writer be familiar with their strong and weak points -- otherwise, how does one improve?
I don't have a critique partner yet, so I try to evaluate my own work based on the books/writing style I appreciate as a reader. One of my weaknesses is forgetting to use the five senses in my scene descriptions. I've noticed that I tend to do really well with what the character sees and hears, but hardly ever do I describe what she/he feels (physically, as in weather), smells and tastes. Well, I guess "taste" is something that would be used infrequently, since we're not always eating something . . . or at least we shouldn't be. *putting down the candy cane* To combat this tendency, I've started color coding the sentences in my story that describe the five senses. That way, if I see a lot of red and blue in a page, I know that I'm doing well in showing what the character is seeing and hearing. But if there are no orange, purple and green sentences, then I realize that I'm omitting important details that can help transport the reader into the time and setting.
Another of my weaknesses is character development, and I think all writers struggle with this in some way. I do make it a point to stay away from perfect people and stereo-types. The hero and heroine must have their flaws as well as endearing traits. I also try to not carry a character I've written for one story, into another. Sadly, I've seen this. An author's hero in one series is practically identical to a hero in another -- he just has a different hair color and a different name. To keep from doing this, I made the characters in my WIP near opposites of those in For the Sake of One Lost. (Their time period and cultural differences made it pretty easy.) I'm trying to give depth to my characters by filling out a questionnaire for each -- bad habits, odd quirks, favorite foods, secret fears, emotional hang-ups, winning qualities, etc. It would be wise to start filling out character questionnaires before I start writing the story, and maybe one day I'll get smart enough to do this.
Okay . . . humor is a strength. I'm not good at weaving humor into the story narrative, but humor in dialogue happens easily for me. I've been kind of disappointed with the lack of dialogue humor in my WIP, and I've blamed it on John's more serious personality type. I'm hoping that my second draft will bring more of that "Gwen's" touch to it.
Plot. I can't really list this as my strength because I've seen how my story ideas turn out. My story ideas are basic romance adventures where the hero rescues the girl and blah blah blah. Entertaining, but no real depth to them. But when I let God have the reins, He turns my ideas into wonderful, moving pictures of redemption, sacrifice, trust and forgiveness. For those of you who are following my WIP, my idea was for John to go back to Ireland, find out later that Louisa was kidnapped, and return to save the day. But God showed me that it was better for him to be attacked on the road to Ireland, turned back to the Howes, and experience the horror of Louisa's kidnapping with them -- wounded and unable to do anything but pray for her at first. :-)
Do you recognize your strengths and weaknesses as a writer? Do you have any strengths or weaknesses to add to my list? Anyone want to point out a strength I listed that should be a weakness? LOL! Yes, I just left myself wide open to criticism. Come on. Hit me with your best shot. :-)
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