The rules are simple: I list three to seven writing related things that I’m really bad at and then list three to seven writing related things that I want to try.
I am not the best at:
- Dialogue tags. It is so hard for me to find that happy medium between too many and too few. I feel that dialogue, in general, is just not my strong suit. I read a blog post once that helped my confidence on this front tremendously–but I have no idea where I read it. Still, I’d rather tell you about a rock rolling through the woods than give you a nice happy convo, in spite of what you may gather from Strange Bedfellows. Jeez, those guys talk so damn much. Just shut up already and get on the road, am I right?
- Suspense. As I learned when my heart fell when I read the assignment for that one flash fiction competition. I’m not good at writing suspense. I’m straightforward, and I like to be funny, even when I’m morbid. I’m sure suspense can be funny–I just can’t pull it off. It’s against my nature. This lacking on my part kind of falls in with my whole philosophy on fiction, though: it’s for fun. It’s for entertainment. I deal with enough stress and suspense in my daily life, so I don’t want to deal with it when I’m trying to escape from that. Don’t get me wrong, I will read a good suspense novel and enjoy the heck out of it, but I suck at writing it.
- Naming characters. It is the very rare occasion that I immediately know what someone’s name is supposed to be. It is also rare that I come up with it after a few seconds of thinking about it. I don’t think I have enough names in my head; I even have to search and search when I go to a name generator for the right one. Ian names the pets in my stories because he’s good at pet names. He names all the real ones we have.
I want to try:
- World building. I grew up on science fiction and fantasy, and yet, I don’t write them, for the most part. I’m going to blame this on the fact that I do not prepare. I’m not inclined to plot and plan and chart and connect everything together. I don’t outline. I write like smoke; my stories float into the world, finding the path they’re destined to follow as they travel, not before they get there.
- Editing. I know, this sounds crazy, right? With everything I’ve written, surely I have some kind of editing cred under my belt. But I feel like I don’t, really. It’s only in recent weeks that I’ve done anything as (I assume) completely normal as moving sentences and paragraphs around in a piece. I’ve always laid down the story as it’s meant to be read, first time every time. While this method does involve a lot of stopping and starting during nonfiction, for me, it doesn’t at all during fiction. It just comes out, and it’s near enough to right that I leave it. When I finish something, it isn’t a draft; it’s finished except for the bit of copy editing I didn’t notice the first time through.
- A crown of sonnets. After finishing Writing 201: Poetry yesterday, I’m inspired to write more poetry, and two days ago, I learned about the crown of sonnets. It sounds pretty daunting, but I’ve done so many different and previously daunting things this year already, why not? Although I’ll certainly save it for after NaNoWriMo.
Now, it’s time to tag someone else; I’d love to tag someone who would get as much personal growth and motivation out of this as I did, but honestly, I’m not sure who would. And really, I got nearly as much out of reading others’ lists as I did out of writing my own, so I would love to read any and all of your takes on this. Everyone gets a tag!
And while you’re at it, what do you think I could improve upon, and what should I give a try?