I’ve been working on a handout for a workshop that I give on how to create unique paranormal characters. One of the things that I mention in the handout is knowing your strengths as a writer. It really can save you a lot of time and make your stories stronger if you realize what you do well and what you might need help with. So I thought I’d share what I think my strengths and weaknesses are. Here goes:
Strong heroines: I love reading about strong heroines, and those are the kind of gals I like writing about too, no matter if I’m penning adult or young adult books. My heroines are always going to be smart, strong, sassy, sarcastic, and capable of saving themselves — or at least putting up a heck of a fight until help arrives.
First-person point of view: I love, love, love writing in first person. It’s just the point of view that really sings to me and makes me feel like I’m really connecting with a character and showing the world through her eyes.
Fight scenes: Fight scenes are definitely one of my favorite things to write. I always enjoy figuring out how my heroine can defeat the bad guys, whether it’s with her brains or her brawn. Most of the time, I think about the big fight scene at the end of the book and how the heroine will win before I do anything else.
Food talk: I like writing about food almost as much as I like eating it. LOL. I didn’t really consider this a strength, but I’ve had so many people tell me that they always get hungry reading my books. Plus, when I sold my Mythos Academy young adult series, my editor asked if I could put some more food stuff in there because she had read the Elemental Assassin books and really liked how I talk about food. So now, I’m listing it as a strength.
Magic/world building: I think I’m pretty good about coming up with interesting magic, powers, and creatures for my books. I always try to think outside the box and come up with different takes on things.
Third-person point of view: I don’t feel like I write in third person as well as I do in first. Third person always feels dull and flat to me. This is frustrating because so many romances out there are third person, and that’s what editors/agents are looking for — third-person paranormal romance series. Those are the types of books that seem to be the most popular, but writing in third person just doesn’t come easily to me. I’m hoping to work on that, though.
Epic fantasy: As much as I love reading epic fantasy, I just can’t write it that well. I’m not sure what it is, but the descriptions and story just never seem to flow when I try to write an epic fantasy books. I need to write in a world that has cars, electricity, and indoor plumbing. I wonder what that says about how wimpy I am. LOL.
Repetition: I’ve seen several reviews that mention the repetition in my Elemental Assassin series. Part of it is necessary and intentional. I can’t assume that everyone has read all the books in the series, so I have to set up and build the magic system/world every single time. You just can’t escape this when you’re writing a series (especially when you need to set up something in book one that won’t pay off until book five).
But I realize that reading that same information in every book can get boring for fans of the series. I know when I read the latest book in a series (like the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher) that I tend to skim some of the magic/world building stuff that I’ve read before. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not as skillful as incorporating the magic rules every single time as some other writers are. Anyway, it’s something that I’m trying to get better at.
Magic/world building: I might be good with coming up with powers/creatures, but I never seem to put quite enough magic/world building in my early drafts. When I sold my Mythos Academy series, my editor suggested that I go back through and add in more world building and really try to transport the reader to this magical world that I had created. And I realized that I’d gotten that same comment before from other folks. The magic/world building is in my head, but enough of it doesn’t always make it onto the page the first few times around.
So there you have it. Some of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer — things that I do well and other things that I’m working on getting better at.
What about you writers out there? What do you think your strengths/weaknesses are? For readers, which writers do you think do fight scenes well? Romantic tension? Magic/world building? Share in the comments.