23 September 2012

The Sampson of Details

Frequently, we speak of a writer’s strengths. When a person reads our writing, they speak of how great a certain aspect of the writing spoke to them, be it the dialogue, the description, the action. It comes up when we discuss our writing with our fellow writers.

This is also one reason why I say no two writers are traveling the same journey. Everyone has a different vantage point on what they feel is good or bad, what they see as a strength and what is a weakness. We can even look at recent writings and find that fact. Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series becomes my great example. There is a split opinion of the series. People either love the intricate details (strength) or they feel it interferes with the pace of the book (weakness). The character’s consistency when reacting to stress gets praise and criticism, because at one point, a character becomes a cardboard cutout because that is her reaction to everything.

But how do we know what our strength is?

Our first step is to become prolific writers. The more we have in some written form, the more we can look at and compare to find our strengths and weaknesses. When we have one story, we have very little from which to draw our conclusions. People can’t declare Stephen King among the masters of suspense based on one book (though they tried). No, it took six, or for some people over ten, to make that call.

The second step is allowing others to peruse our prolific library of output, so they can help us locate our weaknesses. Good critiques will also praise your work, finding turns of phrase or whole paragraphs that sang to their senses. What I like to do, with each critique, is I make a list of the positive statements and the negative comments. When you have multiple people looking, it makes the list much better.

The third and final step takes us back to some of our early writing, reviewing it, and poking holes in our problems. Once we do that, we can review recent writings, to find if we continue with the same problem or if we’ve grown beyond it. Sometimes, you’ll find a different error crop up when you fix the first. Other times, it will just read as a better piece.

It’s definitely a good idea to explore your strengths, so that you can gain your Sampson writing muscles.


Today's post was inspired by the topic “My Strengths as a writer” as part of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/. This ongoing tour allows you, the reader, travel around the world from author's blog to author's blog.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s posting over at: http://suesantore.com/

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com

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