Monday, August 22, 2011

What Are You Awesome At?

It's really easy to get stressed about the quality of our writing.
And while hating our manuscript is just one step on the road to greatness, it really is a fine balance between criticizing our manuscript enough to whip it into shape and loving it enough to pick it up every day and keep going with it.

If you subscribe to every writing blog you can get your hands on like I do, you're bombarded with even more things to worry about every day:

How much are you using passive voice?
        (Way way way more than I would like to? Right, Chessie?)
Are you sure you're showing and not telling? Everywhere? You sure? 
        (Oh, geez, let me check...again...)
Is there too much back story? Not enough back story?
         (this has kept me up plenty of nights...)
Is your first page punchy enough? Uh huh. What about your first sentence? Your first word?
          (Kill. Me. Now.)
How's your voice? Will an agent fall in love with it?
          (*puts head in vice on desk installed specifically for this purpose*)

 It's really easy to get to the point where you're ready to have a party where all your friends will roast marshmallows over your burning, passive voiced, non-punchy, bland, good-for-nothing manuscript.

Yeah. I was there on Friday, actually.

Then I read this guest article  by the lovely Gennifer Albin over at the League of Extraordinary Writers that lifted my heart a little. In case you're too time-stingy to click over there, (yeah, I've been there.) it's about making sure that your villian is not a cardboard cutout. And that she has a backstory, and motives you can sympathize with.

And I realized: Yeah, I'm pretty good at that. (If you are one of my CPs, don't disagree now. I'm on a self-love roll.) 
I am pretty good at that. 

Other things I'm good at:
  • Writing kissing scenes (thanks Gina)
  • Describing clothing (thanks Chess)
  •  Writing fast (I can do a thousand coherent words in like 30 minutes)
  • Writing every day, no matter what (Seriously - no matter what.)
  • Revising - I get a super-invigorating rush out of it.

Oooh! Looks like it's time to call out the Team Travelers Cheering Squad!!!!

Thanks for the illustration, Francesca, my spit-polishing star of a CP.

 I'm not gonna lie. It feels damn good to call myself out for things I'm good at for once.

Recognizing it is giving me the push to go after those things with gusto on the WiP (23K and going strong!) and work even harder at the things that aren't on the list. It's motivation to move them from the "Things I Suck At" list to the "Things I'm Awesome At" list.

So, let's hear it - what are you awesome at? What writing tasks do you totally rule over? Consider yourself the goddess of? Leave a comment to tell me and to pat yourself on the back. 

And then everyone else will confirm your suspicions. You're awesome at SO MANY THINGS. You just keep on keepin' on.


  1. I'm pretty awesome at getting rejected, does that count? LOL

    I think I can rock a kissing scene pretty hard myself. And I also think I'm decent at creating characters who are flawed but likable.

    And seriously, 1000 words in 30 minutes? Do you type with superhuman speed?

  2. No, you actually suck at getting rejected. Some agent needs to put a stop to that trend RIGHT. NOW. (they will)

    You're right about the kissing and the flawed-but-likable characters. But I think where you totally kick ass most of all is in Voice, especially your humorous one. And in writing dialogue to convey relationships.

    Can't wait to write an author crush post about you, G. :)

  3. I'm pretty good at worldbuilding, I suppose. And thinking up gruesome and creative ways to kill off characters. ^_^

    And kudos on being able to write every day. Ugh. Sometimes I tell myself I'm going to do that, and then I mosey around, drawing things, stalking blogs, playing Mario Kart, all in the name of looking for more inspiration.

    *goes off to look at villain-y link*

  4. Yes, you are awesome at world-building. And your description of characters and their appearances, and scenery, totally blows me away.

    Go. Write. NOW.

  5. Hmmm...

    I guess I'm good at sentence construction. It isn't a sexy talent, but I have a good sense of how to build a sentence and paragraph.

    Now the rest of the novel--ugh.

  6. Heidi! From what little I've alpha also do a great job of emotional voice with your characters, and weaving it into the dialogue without it feeling oppressive.

    You rule.

  7. I meant I'm good at racking up rejections, not handling them! I know I suck at that :)

  8. People have told me my characters are very well rounded and fully formed right off the bat. That makes me feel good. great post!

  9. I have terrible self-confidence, and honestly, it takes me a long while to convince myself of my own writing strength (because, really? am I sure I'm good that that?) for this post. But I do think I'm good at layering my plot. In theory. I'm still waiting to see how it works it in writing. :)

  10. @CQG - Thanks! I'm sure your characters sparkle and shine and jump right off the page.

    @Emy - Hi!!!! You are probably a plot-layering MASTER, and we'll all bow to you when your book gets published.


  11. Aw! Great idea! I am awesome at revising. I love it, and I love that I can make my book so much better. I'm also awesome at choosing scenes that will convey a lot. Big bang for my buck. Thanks for making me think this way for once!


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