What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
I think that as writers (especially as beginners), we are particularly good at noting our failings (we know we have them – why else would we be getting so many form letter rejections?) We’re not so good at noting our strengths, but if you’re going to survive the rejection mill, you need to think that there’s SOMETHING good about your writing. So, let’s practice; I’ll go first.
I think there are some things I do very well: I’m really good at dialogue (Is it my theatre training? My characters would talk through the entire story if I didn’t interrupt them), ideas (I have no shortage of those), plot (I can make it all make sense), and setting tone. I’ve been told that there’s something smooth an flowing about my writing that just pulls you along- people sit down to read just a little and suddenly discover that they’ve finished (this seems to apply to all my fiction, no matter the length.)
What am I not very good at? I think I could do a much better job at description, and I don’t think I work hard enough to make my characters stand out. I also need to be better about setting a hook to get readers to READ my stories in the first place (this last one will probably only improve after I cease my stubborn refusal to change a story JUST to set a hook.)
How about you? What do you need to work on?
Speaking of improvement, there are competing theories about this:
(For purposes of discussion, I’ll use a 10-point scale when discussing skills, with 1 being the lowest level, and 10 being… near perfect.)
Traditional / conventional wisdom says that you should work on improving what you’re not so good at. If you’re a 8 at Setting, but only a 1 at Character, you have more room for improvement in Character (and a larger gain in your overall writing “grade”, if such things can be averaged), so your greatest chance to improve your writing is to work on Character.
A newer way of thinking says that you should look to your strengths and improve them, because that’s what makes you stand out – the fact that you are an 8 at Setting is what draws readers to you, so you continue pushing to improve that skill further into the stratosphere (AND also avoid it slipping – hey, it can happen, believe me.) You make sure to provide maximum value – your own brand of “shock and awe.”
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which theory you hold to – EVERYTHING NEEDS TO IMPROVE (and it will – with practice.)
How do you stack up? What do you need to work on?
(Don’t take it personal – nobody’s perfect. Just saying…)
This week’s Smashwords coupon is for “A Dish Best Served”:
A self-aggrandizing faux-French intergalactic food critic runs afoul of a prideful chef, and gets an unexpected lesson in alien cuisine, living, and manners. If you can’t say something nice…
Use coupon code TS57T to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s 99-cents – such a deal!). Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/144238?ref=NoTimeToThink
This coupon will be good until February 20th.
The preorder campaign has begun for my speculative short story “The Pipes”:
Sometimes it’s the little things…
An unexpected extraterrestrial visitation has an adverse effect on a Texas farmer’s well.
Think twice before you drink the water – there’s something in the pipes.
Release date is March 11th, but you can preorder now at a reduced promotional price at all the usual places, including (but not limited to):
William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Ultimate Awareness”, can be found in many places, including:
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri