What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

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What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby writersink » 24 Jan 2012, 10:44

For me, the answer to this question is sadly simple. I have 'tell don't show' syndrome, which means the reader cannot properly get inside my character's head.

However, the best way of overcoming a problem is admitting you have one! I think it'd make us all feel better if we knew that every writer out there has something with which they struggle, even the best. Let's call this writing therapy =)

So, what is your writing weakness? Overuse of metaphors? Motivation (darn, you should have written something today, but instead you're busy reading up on Kim Kardashian/ the weather/ Nathan's forums (hint, hint)) Is your writing too complicated? Do you slip into the passive voice? Do your characters drink too much coffee (let's face it, that's always a weakness.) Have you noticed your characters always *look* at something? (They looked at the wall/ the car/ the dog that was peeing on the carpet?)
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby dios4vida » 24 Jan 2012, 11:20

Oh goodness. Where to start?

I'm a champion procrastinator. Always have been. I'm the "I was just on Facebook/Bransforums/email two minutes ago, but I don't know what to type right now. Let's click that little "e" and see if something's happened on Facebook/Bransforums/email" person.

And like you said, my characters "look" at everything. Or they glance, or glare. It's frightening how often that happens. In the same vein, I struggle against Talking Head Syndrome - no background, no visual context in which conversations take place. I do this because in my first novel I OVERdescribed everything, and in compensation now I UNDERdescribe everything. Still working on the balance.

Those are my big vices. I've been working very hard on my character development since that was a big one, and I've made leaps and bounds in that area (at least, I think I have).

I'm sure I have more, but I really need to get back to my WIP and see if I can finish off this draft (and hope I won't be back in three minutes).
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby Claudie » 24 Jan 2012, 11:54

Descriptions. Oh my. Stupid, stupid descriptions. So essential, but soo hard to get right. I have a lot of trouble giving enough without it becoming boring and repetitive. My descriptions are usually short and rarely suffice to get a good picture of the place. It's part because I only have big lines of the characters' surroundings in my head, and part because I have a hard time rendering it on paper.

And like Brenda, I have my own bouts of Talking Heads Syndrome.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby AMSchilling » 24 Jan 2012, 12:42

Hmm, yes. The eyes thing....

My character's eyes tend to do more than my characters. They're always glinting or squinting or turning the color of stormclouds or some such thing. The rest of their bodies never seem to do anything at all, at least when it comes to showing emotion. Sometimes the lips jump in and thin or quirk or pucker, but not often enough. Maybe because they're always too busy yapping and trying to be witty.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby trixie » 24 Jan 2012, 12:43

This is one of those situations where I'm afraid to list them all...

1. Internet: I can't seem to log off and write.

2. Melting Pot Theory: this is where I keep coming up with another great idea, then another, and another... and before you know it, I have a thousand "great ideas!" in my story. This usually leaves me pulling my hair out as I try to pull all the threads together at the end.

3. Self-doubt: This can take on a variety of forms. I suspect we've all experienced it.

But when it comes to my writing specifically?

4. Motivations: I constantly ask myself why a character does something, then why that happened, and why it matters, and what do I need to know in the backstory in order to write this scene... I forget to give my readers some credit. They'll fill in the blanks on something, but still, I like to have all my bases covered. Unfortunately, I can spend MONTHS working out the how's and why's of questions that are no longer pertinent to the story.

5. "Dialogue tags," she said.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby Gypson » 24 Jan 2012, 15:48

Where do I begin? =P

I am extremely and overly harsh of my own work. I am my own worst critic. This attitude impedes my progress at times because I have a hard time moving on with the story if I feel like something's off. I could read a draft a hundred times and still find things to change and improve.

I visualize my story as if through a camera lens while I write, so there are a ton of descriptions regarding characters' facial expressions, whether they're narrowing or widening their eyes, exactly what kind of smile they're exhibiting, and so on.

I used to be a champion info-dumper, but thankfully I've gotten better at that.

My sentences and phrasing can be awkward, probably because I nitpick too much.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby CharleeVale » 24 Jan 2012, 20:53

I think I tend to under-describe things. I've had beta readers say 'you need to give MORE here!' lol.


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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby Collectonian » 24 Jan 2012, 22:03

As others have mentioned, my really big weakness is procrastination - it's always "eh, I'll work on it tomorrow", "I'm too tired", "oh, look, Facebook", etc etc. That is coupled with getting far too easily discouraged from reading writing forums (not these of course :-D), articles, blog posts, etc which basically denigrate all writing except stuff from the last few years as being "bad", and all published writing as being "bad" because it all breaks some "rules" that really aren't rules, but its very discouraging and makes me sigh and wonder what's the point?

For more writing specificness...hmmm...part of it is definitely editing. I know the story, I know the characters, etc, but it may take me forever to finish editing after I wrote it because I just keep editing and editing. I am also one of my own worse critics and so I think everything sucks.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby Falls Apart » 24 Jan 2012, 23:04

Perfectionism. I've been working on my current WIP since I was fourteen. I just keep going back and deleting everything, then rewriting it, then going back again... I wish I could just be happy with what I write. No, scratch that; I wish I could write something I'd be happy with.

Also, I'm bad at writing good people. No matter how hard I try, I just end up either killing them or making them turn evil halfway through.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby MattLarkin » 25 Jan 2012, 06:23

Probably typos. I'm terrible about it, and about finding them in my own writing. Now matter how many times I re-read my manuscript, I always find a few more.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby Claudie » 25 Jan 2012, 07:29

Falls Apart wrote:Perfectionism. I've been working on my current WIP since I was fourteen. I just keep going back and deleting everything, then rewriting it, then going back again... I wish I could just be happy with what I write. No, scratch that; I wish I could write something I'd be happy with.


Falls, I'm not sure how many years "since 14" is to you, but have you given thought to starting another novel? Not dumping your current project in a deep dark drawer never to return, but setting it aside and get trying your hand at something else. You learn very different skills and gain new perspective with new WIPs. I've had eight different novels so far, six of which I completed at least one full draft on (in five years. Now that I'm looking at how much I wrote, I'm freaking out a bit!). I come back to my "main WIP" periodically, in-between new projects (or revisions of the old ones) and am now on the fifth draft.

The point is, sometimes it's best to free your imagination for a year or two. Write another novel. Write shorts. Just write something else. It helps.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby dios4vida » 25 Jan 2012, 08:48

MattLarkin wrote:Probably typos. I'm terrible about it, and about finding them in my own writing. Now matter how many times I re-read my manuscript, I always find a few more.


If you must have a writing vice, Matt, I'd say this one is pretty good. There are always editors and critique partners ( :D ) who are willing to search for those for you. And besides, I find at least one typo in nearly every book I read. I'm halfway through The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson right now and I've already spotted half a dozen.

I wouldn't mind missing a few typos in my manuscripts if I could describe my settings halfway as well as you can.
Brenda :)

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby MattLarkin » 25 Jan 2012, 10:37

Sanderson also talks about how he's bad with typos. And it gives him the same issues with blogging. I don't want to proofread a post three times before I post it (certainly not a forum post). Doing so means taking time away from real writing (or other important things).

And thanks for the compliments, Brenda.
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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby CharleeVale » 25 Jan 2012, 11:25

I feel your pain. I AM HORRIBLE with typos!

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Re: What is your writing weakness? (Let's call this therapy)

Postby Falls Apart » 25 Jan 2012, 13:56

Claudie wrote:
Falls Apart wrote:Perfectionism. I've been working on my current WIP since I was fourteen. I just keep going back and deleting everything, then rewriting it, then going back again... I wish I could just be happy with what I write. No, scratch that; I wish I could write something I'd be happy with.


Falls, I'm not sure how many years "since 14" is to you, but have you given thought to starting another novel? Not dumping your current project in a deep dark drawer never to return, but setting it aside and get trying your hand at something else. You learn very different skills and gain new perspective with new WIPs. I've had eight different novels so far, six of which I completed at least one full draft on (in five years. Now that I'm looking at how much I wrote, I'm freaking out a bit!). I come back to my "main WIP" periodically, in-between new projects (or revisions of the old ones) and am now on the fifth draft.

The point is, sometimes it's best to free your imagination for a year or two. Write another novel. Write shorts. Just write something else. It helps.


It's only three years, so it's not that bad ;) And I've worked on three other projects at the same time. Thanks for the advice, though; I probably would've gone insane if this had been my only project, even though it wasn't as long a time as it might've sounded.
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