Friday, October 12, 2007

Five Writing Strengths

Shauna Roberts at For Love of Words tagged me for this deadly meme: identify five of your writing strengths. I could have come up with five of my writing weaknesses in a heartbeat. But strengths? It’s taken me a couple of days, but here it is:

1. Characterization. This is something I do purely by instinct. I sit down to write and strange, wonderful, distinct, well-rounded people simple come to me out of the ether, surprising me. I could never give a presentation on characterization because I don’t know how to do it. I just do it.
2. Plotting. This is something I do not do by instinct. Back in my prepub days, I asked a published author I respected what she thought was my greatest weakness as a writer. She said, “Plotting.” Stung, I read everything I could on plotting. I analyzed well-plotted books and badly plotted books. I thought long and hard about plotting. It’s now one of my strengths. I could talk your ear off, telling you about plotting.
3. Hard work. See #2 above. I am willing to work very, very hard to make a go of this writing thing. I research my books to death. I study writing and writers. I constantly analyze the market and why people read what they read. I preplan and rewrite. If I have to change—whether it requires changing genres, or even changing the way I write—I will. I write two books a year, which is really, really hard for someone who’s not naturally prolific. There are lots of other things I’d like to do in my life—paint, learn to play the guitar again, read more, travel more, sleep more. I take care of my family, and I work.
4. Versatility. I’ve written and sold romances, contemporary thrillers, and mysteries. They are all very different, requiring different skills and calling on different parts of my personality. It has helped me grow tremendously as a writer.
5. My background. As a historian, I bring to my stories a strong, in-depth understanding of various historical periods and trends. I’ve lived in and traveled to lots of different places, so I can draw on that, too. And I’ve done many different things in my life—ridden camels, fired flintlocks, fenced, survived volcanic explosions, hurricanes, riots and revolutions, spent years training in tae kwan do, worked on archaeological digs all over the world—and a few other things I’d rather not mention!—that I can call on when I need them to enrich my stories.

Any one else willing to do this? Steve? Charles? I warn you, it’s hard!


Steve Malley said...

Bloody inspiring, Candy!

I'm not promising to take up this particular gauntlet (it *is* harder than it sounds!), but I will give it some thought...

Shauna Roberts said...

Very interesting, Candice. Thank you for taking up my challenge.

Lisa said...

These are great. I have been so inspired to read the answers people have come up with for this, because everyone has taken a slightly different approach. You are quite a role model for me. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Willingness to work hard is probably one of the most important strengths any writer can have. I think it's one of mine as well.

liz fenwick said...

Fantastic strengths - especially as they were not all gifts and some were acquired by hard me great hope as plotting is a weakness of mine :-)