If you guys haven’t seen yesterday’s post on Chuck Wendig’s blog, you should check it out, because he posted a great post on evaluating yourself as a writer, and gave us these questions to ask ourselves.
So, here is my Chuck Wendig writer evaluation!
a) What’s your greatest strength / skill in terms of writing/storytelling?
Tension– I hope! I love how much character it brings out and how much it adds to the stakes of a moment.
b) What’s your greatest weakness in writing/storytelling? What gives you the most trouble?
Layering. Balancing everything going on in a moment and keeping all of it present in a scene. I usually write out the action, then have to go back in and increase the tension, add more thought and emotion, foreshadow, fill in atmospheric details, etc., to make sure I hit all the layers that need to be happening.
c) How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them?
I have finished three novels. One I have on the back burner for eventual revision, and two are with my agent.
d) Best writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. really helped you)
Oh, man. It’s hard to say what’s impacted me most, because so many wonderful people have helped me in so many ways. Connect with other writers and listen to what they have to say, don’t give up, realize a first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, finish the book before you judge it, read books on writing, read in your genre, etc.
I think the stand-out advice, though, has been to read a book a week. It’s hard with a writer’s busy life, but we can’t expect to be good storytellers if we aren’t good story consumers. Reading great books has been the absolute number one biggest factor when my writing improves. Want some recs? Read everything in this box.
e) Worst writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. didn’t help at all, may have hurt)
Write what you know. If that were good advice, the world wouldn’t contain most of my favorite genres. I think it’s a much better interpretation of that old piece of advice to write what you emotionally connect with– core human experiences. Betrayal, revenge, guilt, fear, hope, healing, determination, wonder, love. Write that.
f) One piece of advice you’d give other writers?
Read a ton, and when you react or connect, stop and think about why. The writer worked magic (okay, used a psychological principle) in that moment. Stop and think about why you had a reaction and how the writer built that moment. Connections happen sentence by sentence, and it’s all there on the page. Break it down. Figure it out. Use it yourself.
What about you? Fill out the evaluation in the comments! I want to hear from you.