Today I’d like to share about the strengths and weaknesses in my writing in hopes of encouraging some of you.
I’ve been writing for a long time, although I took quite a few years off to raise and homeschool my two older sons. I returned to writing three years ago and now am fairly immersed in the writing culture as I am a member of a large local writing group, a huge national writing group (most of which I participate in online), a small writing group that I started which is quite different from the first two mentioned, as well as two critique groups — one online and one that meets face-to-face. In addition to that, I attend at least two small writers’ conferences a year and have connected with quite a few writers online through social media. In addition to all of that, I have this blog.
All that to say that I AM WRITING! Also, I have learned A LOT over the past three years, and continue to learn daily. One of the things I learned most recently is what I am really good at writing and what I really need to work on in my writing, novel writing/fiction writing.
So, I will start with my weakness — description/setting the scene. You see, I have the scene and the characters so ingrained in my brain that I forget the reader cannot “see” it and I simply write the action and dialog with very little description and scene setting. Another reason this happens is because I have heard many people, in the writing world, over the past three years, say things like, “Be careful not to include too much description because it will bog the story down”; “readers don’t want a lot of description”; “too much description can be too telling instead of showing”. Because of these statements, I think that I simply avoided description.
However, over the past three months other writers have been explaining to me how important some description is so that your reader can picture the scenes in their minds. I’ve been told how important it is to include the five senses. I have some wonderful suggestions and examples from other writers that are helping me learn to do this, but I have to be deliberate about it. I have to re-read every scene I write to be sure I included some great description and use of some of the five senses to bring my writing to life.
Yes, as I use description and the five senses, I do see my novel coming to life. So some description and use of the five senses is important because it breathes life into the story! This is hard work for me because it doesn’t come naturally yet. As I said, I have to be deliberate about it, but I am finding it very rewarding, and I believe it will come more naturally the more that I do it because the more that I have done it over the past few days the more comfortable I have gotten with it. However, I will still rely heavily upon my critiques to be sure that the descriptions I write are of good quality.
Now my strength — dialog! Good dialog just flows from my brain onto the page. I was recently made aware of this when several other writers and my critiquers commented and praised my written dialog. I believe this is because I am so in tune with my characters and their personalities and character traits. I’ve never had to work hard to write dialog. It comes easily and naturally.
What do you find comes naturally from you for your writing? What do you have to work deliberately on in your writing? Leave a comment below and share. I’d love to hear from you.