Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG: Show Your Strengths


First, congrats to all those who NaNo-ed last month.  Whether you completed 50k or 5k, that's more than you had in October so you are a winner! 

But now, you may be left with a pile of less-than-stellar writing -- subplots that disappear halfway through the story, puppet characters that lack motivation, missing chunks of plot, and prose strewn with cliches. You may shake your head and wonder how you'll ever fix it.

We've all been there. And you can fix it!

My suggestion is to focus on your strengths.  Everyone has strengths.  Some people write witty or powerful dialog, some have no problem thinking up intricate world-building, and some can write a kissing scene that makes readers melt.  My forte is action scenes, so when I'm trying to find the best way to get my characters from point A to point B, I try to think up a scene with action in it, rather than a scene with a lot of dialog (my Achilles heel) or with long descriptions or deep soul-searching introspection by the mc (both of which I can write, but don't particularly like).

Make sure you showcase your own special talents as much as possible in your ms.  That will make your novel sparkle for its readers!  But once your revisions are done, don't forget to give it to your CPs or editor so they can help you find those things that aren't your strengths and fix them.

Good luck!!


This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group. Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.




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Thanks to my friend Ben Ellis, who made my countdown widget
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42 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

Sometimes comments that make sense, especially right before bed, are not my strength.

Lynda R Young said...

Great advice!! When I write a first draft, I tend to skip the bits I don't feel I'm strong in--just so I don't get bogged down in them. I give them extra thinking time :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Great tip! My WIP has loads of [add sex scene], [add dialogue] comments all through it. I'm gathering the strength to go back and actually write those bits!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great advice. I like writing action scenes and dialogue best. Setting is always my struggle.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent advice! We get hung up on our weaknesses, but what we really need to do is focus on what we do well.

mshatch said...

Great suggestions and so true!

J.L. Campbell said...

Good advice, Lexa. Work on the easy parts first and then face the challenges later.

M.L. Swift said...

Love this post, Lexa. And after working on your strengths, give the weaknesses a work-out and they soon become strengths, too. :)

M.L. Swift, Writer

Bish Denham said...

I seem to be good at dialog and description. Action and kissing scenes? Not so much.

Lady Lilith BloodCrave said...

I like your positive approach. If we all focus on our strengths, we can offer the world a lot more.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Congratulations to everyone that participated in NANO. Just doing it is quite an accomplishment.

Catherine Stine said...

Yes, to focus on your strengths is a wise choice. I wrote about 2/3 of my new adult novella in Nano, and though it does need revision it's not too bad for a first draft! *Grateful*

Chris Fries said...

Wonderful suggestions, Lexa! Working outward from our strengths allows us to overcome our weaknesses.

I salute everyone who completed NaNoMo!

S.K. Anthony said...

Fantastic post, Lexa! Unfortunately most of us get stuck on our weaknesses, we just have to remember your advice now and focus on our strengths. I'm there right now, basking in my untalented weakness, so this post comes at exactly the right time to encourage me, woot! Now to figure out my strengths…. o_0

TBM said...

great advice. It's not easy to do, but with reminders like this it helps.

Stephen Tremp said...

Great post! I try to stay with my strengths. I often venture out to try new stuff though. Even if I'm not good at it. Live and learn. That's my motto.

Cherie Reich said...

Wonderful advice, Lexa! For those early drafts, we should focus on our strengths and then work to build up our weaknesses.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great advice. I always leave out the stuff I struggle with in my early drafts and have swathes of ******* in bright red scattered through my MS with notes like 'something needs to happen here to make X happen'.

Samantha Geary Jones said...

My strength is not the kissing scenes--it's best if my characters die off before consummating any romance:) Hell, any amount of storytelling is an accomplishment, so cheers to those who successfully navigated the written word! Looking forward to your release!!

Georgina Morales said...

Great advice, Lexa. it is very discouraging to realize the amount of work still left in a first/second/third draft. Overwhelming. I think concentrating in the positives can bring the extra umph to hammer out the wrongs. Looking forward to the release!

Tara Tyler said...

thanks for the great advice! i didnt do nano but im in the same editing spot.

and awesome countdown sign! congrats!!!

Leandra Wallace said...

Hey, we're like sisters- action scenes are my thing too. At least I think anyway...it is ISWG day, right? =) And yay, the big day is SO close!

Nana Prah said...

Still trying to find my specialty. I love dialogue, but I'm such a straight shooter that there's not a whole lot of depth to it. I'm working on it though. My editor is forcing me.

Michelle Wallace said...

Makes sense. Concentrate on your strengths first.
And I applaud all NaNoNites! A brave bunch!
Writer In Transit

Robin said...

Focus on your strength. I like it!

mooderino said...

Very easy to feel like you're done and dusted after such a big effort. Nice idea for how to get back in the groove.

mood
Moody Writing

Kelly Hashway said...

Only two days to go!!! That's so exciting. I can't wait to read Soul Cutter!

shelly said...

Excellent post

Stephen Hayes said...

Thanks for the great advice. Some of this I had to learn the hard way.

Ella said...

Your blog looks great and I love this post! Yes, when we sparkle-we shine!
Nicely done~

Kim Lajevardi said...

Great advice, Lex! I think we all get bogged down with what we do poorly, which is counterproductive.

Heather Holden said...

This is such great advice! I can definitely see it helping with blocks of creativity...

Emma Adams said...

Great tips! It helps to focus on the positive things, especially when you're facing the daunting task of revising a first draft. I know mine are terrible! But focusing on what you've done right can be a great motivator.

Cathy Keaton said...

Great advice! I try to play up my strengths as much as I can and worry about my weaknesses until a later time, if possible.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Making our strengths stronger and focusing on our weakness when we can is great advice. The alternative involves wasting a lot of time and feeling disappointed. I'm lifting those weights!

Lady Lilith BloodCrave said...

Scotland does look pretty. I am a huge fan of irish and celtic music. My favorite group is Celtic Women. Do yo also like Irish Music?

Elise Fallson said...

Awesome advice. I'm pretty much facing the same things right now with my current ms and it can be overwhelming, but taking it piece by piece does make it less intimidating. And focusing on what you're good at is also great advice. (:

David List said...

Action scenes are my forte as well! Very good advice.
Also, I've been seeing Soul Cutter ALL OVER the blog-o-sphere! Congratulations on some epic marketing!

River Fairchild said...

I hate those disappearing little sub-plots. LOL!
Congrats on your release of Soul Cutter too!

Hilary said...

scotland is on my list too!

Jen Ryland/YA Romantics said...

You are definitely good at writing action scenes!
Not sure where my dream destination would be… maybe the Maldive Islands? Or maybe the Hebrides -- that's Scotland too, right? We can visit each other :)

DMS said...

I love this idea! Focusing on our strengths when we are revising will really help our writing sparkle! Awesome!

I agree with you that all those who participated in NaNo should be commended. Wow!
~Jess

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