I have the privilege of starting the first Blog Chain for 2011, so let's get right to it. Here's the topic:
What do you think your strengths and weaknesses as a writer are? Did you have to develop your strengths, or did they come naturally to you? How are you trying to overcome your weaknesses?
Yes, everyone, after a festive holiday season, we have to look at the man or woman in the mirror:
Here are what I think are some of my writing strengths:
Good command of grammar--I was such a bookworm I read English textbooks as a kid, but I took a grammar class for my Master's degree. I also copy-edited for a newspaper briefly and still read grammar books on my own.
Good understanding of basic science (for writing SF)--I've studied science in school and on my own.
Can come up with interesting worldbuilding details--I get a lot of ideas from reading science and news articles.
Can create cliffhanger chapter endings--I developed this through reading novels and books on writing.
I should point out that even though I feel I do have some genetic talent for writing (I got it from my biological mother), all the things I count as strengths are ones I developed through study and practice.
And here are some of the things I feel I still need to work on:
Adding more sensory details to scenes--I admit I'm timid about adding details for fear of getting them wrong. I also tend to focus more on plot and dialogue in first drafts, so description is something I have to add to the story instead of including it from the start. I've tried some writing exercises to help me focus on description, and during NaNoWriMo, I deliberately made myself include some description. Description is much better for word count than unnecessary adverbs!
Making main characters more likable at the start of the story--To show how my characters grow over the course of the story, I sometimes make too much of their faults in the beginning. My reviewers let me know when this is a problem. I've tried to address this by showing more of my characters' emotions and motivations.
Making teenage characters sound their age, not younger--To address this, I should study more teenagers in their natural habitat, no matter how scary that is. ;)
I'm sure there are more things I need to work on, but those are the most important ones, or at least the ones that come to mind right away.
Kate will share her strengths and weaknesses with us next. What do you feel are your writing strengths and weaknesses?