My Weaknesses and Strengths as a Writer (This should be fun.)

The TCWT blog chain is back! Admittedly it’s been back for a long time, but I didn’t do last month’s prompt because reasons. But I’m turning seventeen in four days (mark your calendars, people) and I realized that I only have thirty-six months of the blog chain left, so I better make them all count. This month’s prompt is an easy one:

“What is your greatest weakness as a writer? What’s your greatest strength?”

Sorry, did I say this was an easy prompt? Well, by easy I meant “harder than trying to avoid getting spoiled for Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I mean seriously, is anyone not talking about that movie? Even my dog is talking about that movie, and I don’t even have a dog.

Okay, the prompt isn’t that hard. Though I can see how it would be. Most writers aren’t too great at pointing out their weaknesses, which is why they have people like beta readers and random people they find on the street to point them out for them.

Note: I said most writers. I am not like most writers. For one thing, I’m significantly better looking (ladies? *wiggles eyebrows*) and am completely aware of all my strengths and weaknesses. I’m just too lazy to fix them.

The Weaknesses:

  • I abuse semi-colons; like, a lot.
  • I have two default tones: goofy and angsty. Romantic and extremely emotional scenes are always nearly impossible for me to do, unless it’s related to emotional experience I’ve had in my life. (See: The strengths.)
  • I’m still not entirely sure what it means to split an infinitive, so for all I know I’ve been doing this for years and have been driving my reader’s crazy. Don’t get me wrong, people have explained the “Never split infinitives!” rule to me before, but it never seemed like an important rule and I quickly forgot about it.
  • I’m bad at coming up with names. And once I’m set on a name, I don’t like to let it go. For instance, in one WIP (I’m still working my 550,000th draft of it, by the way. There was a minor character named Matthew Black. He was a really smooth-talking guy with nice hair, and was in charge of this mutant training organization. A real stand-up guy. When I was thinking of a pseudonym for this blog, I went with the same name. (The fact that I took a smooth-talking character from my own novel as a pseudonym, make of that what you will.) However, in my latest drafts, the character of Matthew Black has evolved into a significantly darker character, responsible for at least eight deaths and not afraid to commit more if it serves his cause. And I still haven’t changed his name, or mine.
  • Am not particularly good when it comes to writing villains.
  • I don’t write nearly as often as I should. This right here is my greatest weakness. In pretty much any writing guide you’ll ever read, “Write a lot,” and “Read a lot” are the two tips that are always there. And yet I am wildly inconsistent with both of them. I’ll go through long periods where I’ll write a lot but not read, or I’ll read a lot but not write. And then there are those sad little periods where I do neither. I’m in a writing period right now, but I’m not sure how long that’ll last.

The Strengths:

  • I like to think I’ve gotten a lot better at writing female characters. Back when I was like, twelve years old, there’d only be one girl, and she’d be the stereotypical Strong Female Character. But now there are multiple well-written characters with their own agencies and personalities with a proportional effect on the plot. I know, this should be normal and not a big deal, but I think twelve year old me would’ve been impressed.
  • I’m good at writing angsty characters.
  • I am fantastic at portraying the sheer awfulness that middle school students are capable of. While not all middle school students are bad, this is the age where pretty much everyone is at their worst. At best they are awkward and self-conscious. At worst they are a bunch of whiny entitled brats with next to no concept of empathy whatsoever. I know this because I was stuck with the worst kids ever for two years, and their shitty antics always manage to pop up in my stories, one way or another.
  • Also, I’m good at writing middle school kids, the good and the bad.
  • I’m good at pacing.
  • I’m good at writing beginnings.
  • The first third of all my stories are always the easiest to write (and easiest to read, I’m told).
  • “I no longer rely too much on adverbs,” I whispered very very quietly.
  • My comic relief characters have a weirdly high mortality rate.
  • I always manage to resist the urge to plagiarize.
  • I’ve mastered the art of understatement.
  • I’ve been told I’m funny.

And that’s all for this post. There’s probably more to the list, but I’m too lazy to think of them all. And besides, for most of the important parts of writing, I fall somewhere in the middle, where I’m not consistently weak or strong in said area.

Now if you excuse me, the ice cream man is driving by my house for the first time in nine months. I will go and enjoy a sour apple flavored snow-cone.

May 2015 blog chain prompt/schedule:

Tuesday May 5th — The Little Engine That Couldn’t

Wednesday May 6th — Ariel Kalati, Writer

Friday May 8th — Galloping Free

Saturday May 9th — Miriam Joy Writes

Sunday May 10th — The Ramblings of Aravis

Wednesday May 13th — Light and Shadows

Friday May 15th — Musings from Neville’s Navel

Saturday May 16th — The World of the Writer

Tuesday May 19th — Butterflies of the Imagination

Wednesday May 20th — Introspection Creative

Friday May 22nd — Spellbound

Sunday May 24th — Unikke Lyfe

Monday May 25th — The Long Life of a Lifelong Fangirl

Wednesday May 27th — Against the Shadows

Friday May 29th — Teens Can Write, Too, announcing June’s chain


3 thoughts on “My Weaknesses and Strengths as a Writer (This should be fun.)

  1. I liked these lists. 🙂 I have the same thing with names. I used to use the same name for characters in multiple stories until I hit on a character for that name — I had multiple characters called Alex Kian Robson until one finally stepped up and claimed it in 2010, ha ha. And for a long time the name I used online was one that originally had been a character of mine when I was about eight (Delorfinde; I now use ‘Finn’ as a short form and a nickname for myself, and no longer have Del as a character).

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