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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Truth or Dare

I suppose this is in the spirit of New Years, but today we're going to talk about where we, as writers, have room to improve. And then tomorrow, after we've all bemoaned our writers' Achilles heels, we're going to strut our stuff and rave about what we do really, really well.

I'll go first. My biggest weakness is that I'm wordy. Words, words everywhere! And you know what's really sad? It took an agent and two beta readers to tell me that. Stephen King says to cut 10% of your first draft, but you know what? I've cut almost 20%!

Take that! (I'd do some sort of cool ninja move here, but I'm not that cool. The squirrel is waaaay cooler. I love squirrels!)

And you know what else? HATSHEPSUT is still too wordy. I like to get all poetic in some spots and then there are extra words that just clog up the pages. I'm working on it- finding glee in killing my darlings.

Now it's your turn, if you dare. What is your biggest weakness as a writer?

16 comments:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

With the help of a wonderful critique I won recently, I've realized that I *hangs head shamefully* am an adverbaholic. Yes, it's true. I tend to overindulge in the tempting cop-out of adverbs, causing me to tell more than I should and show less than I must. So sad. I have checked myself into treatment with my first critique group (thank you, Valerie and Bethany) and am hoping for a full recovery.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

I think probably my biggest weakness is that I'm still exploring and trying to find my own voice. I think. I'm not sure. Not enough people have read my work for me to really know for sure.

Second-biggest would be wordiness. I get really wordy in dialogue, but so sparse in descriptive passages.

Jade said...

I've got a bad case of the -lys. The worst culprit is quickly, closely followed by suddenly.

I think I might rely on dialogue tags too much as well. No one has told me this but I worry about it endlessly. Damn, there's another one.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Shannon- Critiques can be painful, but they're always helpful. Bitter medicine, but good for you nonetheless.

Stephanie- I think voice is the trickiest thing to capture. It's not like you can read a book and find the rules about voice. You just know it when you see it.

Jade- I was appalled at how many suddenly's I found in my manuscript when I did a word search. I obliterated most of them.

Jemi Fraser said...

I use a lot of useless words in my first drafts: just, seems, felt, very...

I think I'm avoiding them, but they just keep popping up! Aaah.. another just!

Michelle Gregory said...

i use "just" a lot. i don't put in enough description. i'd write dialogue all day if i could.

V. S said...

I am also very wordy. I sometimes describe way too much.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

My biggest problem at the moment is a weak plot. I have to decide whether I'm going to fish or cut line on my first WiP. I can be wordy also and when I searched "ly" the first time I found over 1400!! That cut out a lot of words in a hurry :)

Bane of Anubis said...

My biggest issue, I think, is pacing. I tend to pace fairly quickly and sometimes have trouble w/ scenes where I need to slow things down for effect.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Too wordy, too adverby, too descriptive....the list never ends:( But....all fixable:-)

Susan R. Mills said...

I'm a little wordy too. I cut my first draft in half. Yes, that's right. Half of it is gone.

Amalia T. said...

I'm not descriptive enough. That's my problem. I don't describe physical settings at all if I can help it, and I'm very hesitant to describe the physical characteristics of my characters as well (outside of a key item here or there). Part of this is a healthy respect for the fact that when dealing with mythological people, everyone already has an idea of what they look like and I don't want to contradict their established considerations, but part of it is also a kind of stubbornness. A demand that my reader be an active part of the book WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT!

I think you'll probably understand exactly what I'm talking about shortly :)

Natalie said...

I think my greatest weakness might be that I'm not wordy enough! I really struggle to get enough depth into my story and characters and my manuscripts are always super short. So I'm pretty much your opposite :)

Lisa and Laura said...

I struggle with plot--I get caught up in the details. Luckily Lisa slaps me around a little and adds actual conflict.

Megs - Scattered Bits said...

My biggest weakness as a writer is plowing ahead as if my readers know what I'm talking about before they've had a chance to absorb that I'm in a whole nother world with a different set of rules than the one we live in. I do this CONSTANTLY.

Angela said...

Great idea for a post. I don't know what my biggest weakness is. I'm weak in several areas. :-( Of course, I wonder if what we feel our biggest weaknesses are the same as those who read our work. To me that's what I'd really like to know--what do my critique partners think my biggest weakness is?