written by Kevin O’Shea, originally posted on LiveJournal
All my friends who consider themselves writers should participate in this. Well, if you want. You don’t have to, but I’m actually interested in what happens.
As a writer, I have various strengths and weaknesses. Some of these I know about, and some I probably won’t know until they’re pointed out to me. I’ll list the ones that I think are the most obvious of both; if you disagree with the placement of any of these, or wish to point out additional ones, by all means. (This, of course, assumes that you’re familiar with my writing.)
First off, my strengths. In no particular order.
- I think I’m good at developing personalities, and maintaining them throughout the work. They’re differentiated enough to me, at least, so I see no problem with the way my characters are established.
- This is my favorite part of writing. I will admit I often pull from outside influences, for wit and humor and even just vocal personality. I’m not as good as some writers out there – Stephen King, Michael Stackpole, I’m looking at you – but I’m progressing. It’s something that adapts every time I try it.
- I think Robin put it best, if I can remember enough to paraphrase. “You take an ensemble of awesome characters and use only a couple and then it’s LIKE A LASER”
I work best with small groups of characters. One or two perspectives total is my ideal; it allows me to explore as much about that character as I can within the realm of the story, even when doing something that wouldn’t necessarily be character-development, such as an action scene.
I also have some rather glaring weaknesses, ones that I do know about and am currently working on. Again, these are the most obvious ones (in no particular order), and if there are any other major ones you are familiar with, let me know.
- What? Why is this listed under both? Well, when I only take one or two perspectives, it really restricts what I can accomplish. What I’m going to try with Theater of War is regularly using the perspectives of at least the four members of Team Gendou. There will possibly be the occasional guest perspective, such as Hiroshi’s mother, but even just having four regular perspectives will teach me how to use them effectively.
Also covered under this is my tendency to just skip scene setup altogether and jump right to the “interesting” bits – dialogue, action, or general surprises. With Theater of War, I would make sure that when I felt I was done writing a chapter, I would go back up and ask myself what else I could add to set up a scene. More description of the surroundings, perhaps? Or a little more explanation of the history of a certain event? Something I’m working on, but it’s very difficult.
- I think this one is the most obvious one, and also the one that needs the least amount of explanation. How many stories in this LiveJournal alone have I just lost interest in and abandoned?
- Something I’ve actually made large steps in rectifying. I still notice that I resort to various writing clichés, such as ending a scene on a big dramatic moment or phrase (Michael Stackpole, are you listening?).
There are a few others, but I won’t go into them at this time. But you can expound upon them if you wish.
In addition, if you would like to post your own strengths and weaknesses as writers, by all means. I think this would be a very educational experience for everyone.