Hello and happy holidays to all! I hope you are enjoying the festive madness of the season!
There is so much to celebrate this time of year, and we’re happy to extend congratulations to our lovely Co-Blog Coordinator, Lori Ann Palma, for getting a short story published with Lunch Ticket! You can read her awesome story, The Dead Girl, right here. And THANK YOU Lori Ann for all of your hard work. You’re doing an amazing job with the blog! It makes me so happy to celebrate the accomplishments of our members, so be sure to pass on any special news so we can cheer you on, too!
So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the areas of my writing that need improvement. We all have these areas, no matter how accomplished we are. Even Superman can’t handle that kryptonite – and sometimes those particular weak areas can cause us to get really stuck with our projects. *Lindsay raises hand* One of the most important things you can do for your writing is to identify your areas of weakness and work toward improving them. But just as important is identifying your strengths…what you can play up to tell your story the best you possibly can. Just because Superman can’t function around hunks of glowing green rock doesn’t mean he can’t still freaking FLY!!
So, what’s your superpower?
Being a writer is not one power; it’s a collection of skills, like a toolbox. In that toolbox are things like…
Crafting effective scenes
Portraying character emotion
Planning the Big Picture
Editing (both the Big Picture and the Small Details)
Some of these things come more naturally to each of us than others. Are you really great at whipping up an exciting plot? YAY!! Portraying character emotion might be a struggle for you, but CELEBRATE the fact that you’ve got a darn good plot going on. Are you a grammatical wizard? Do you have a knack for fun wordplay that leaves your readers smiling and/or pleasantly tongue-tied? Can you do dialogue like nobody’s business? Before identifying your weaknesses, take a moment to celebrate your strengths. They’re just as real as your trouble spots, and they’ll carry you through the special story only YOU can tell. (If you’re not sure, try asking some of your critique partners. Be sure to point out what they do well, too!)
What’s your kryptonite?
My Hunk of Green Rock happens to come in the shape of PLANNING THE BIG PICTURE. I usually fly by the seat of my pants. I even like the mental image of flying by the seat of my pants….I mean, wings coming out of my back pockets, taking me wherever I want to go?!?! I’m so out of this Arctic Blast. Over-planning ruins the fun for me – whether we’re talking writing or throwing a party or going grocery shopping. The magic is in the moment for me (SUPERPOWER!!). I love the way words, dialogue, emotion, and the movement of a scene bloom out of my fingers and surprise me. I love editing and cultivating those lovely flowers. But then come times when I neeeeed to know what’s going to happen next in the story. I need to be able to move my characters toward something important – a plot point, a realization, a meeting. I need to least plan out those big moments ahead of time so I can make sure the smaller moments I love to create are all strung together cohesively. A gorgeous scene doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work as part of the whole! Part of my resolution is to finish reading more books, because I’m sort of picky and toss a lot of stories aside. Part of learning how to complete something well is to immerse myself in a completed product.
How about you? What’s your writing superpower? What’s your writing kryptonite? We’ve all got them. So, celebrate your superpower – it makes you awesome. Help your critique partners to identify and celebrate their strengths. Then, in a couple of weeks, start thinking about a plan for the New Year that involves strengthening your weaker muscles.
Here’s to becoming SUPER-ER together in 2017!