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Tinkerer

[Writing Discussion] Personal Strengths & Weaknesses

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Hello, fine peoples!

 

I am just curious for those aspiring writers on the site what they consider their personal strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing.  You can talk about mechanical things (grammar, spelling, etc.) or more creative things (plot, settings, characters, etc.).

 

 

I guess I'll start.  When it comes to writing a story, I tend to create very fascinating settings, themes, and "rules".  Under the right circumstances, I am even good at creating a compelling idea for a character.  In short, I am very solid when it comes to creating everything needed to have a distinct story.

 

On the other side, I am awful at getting into the head of my characters (i.e. making them do things that would be natural from the way I'd originally written them), and I cannot for the life of me make good stories.  Plots tend to be big messes of unoriginal tropes that I can't figure out how to start or finish in any believable way.  Furthermore, I simply don't have enough real-life experience to write certain themes that my initial planning may call for (love, hate, work, conflict within your control, etc.).

 

So anyways, that's me.  How about you peeps?

 

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Constructing paragraphs. It's already hard enough for me to create phrases that can flow seamlessly, without being overly long or confusing. And with english not being my native language it is even more difficult.

Also, fixing the core motivations of the characters, I have too many ideas but I always try to fit them all in single characters, making them absolute messes until I finally decide to cut off what doesn't add depht but only contraddiction.

 

As for the strenght... I'd say creating inticated plots and characters with multi-layered purposes. I'm just a sucker for xanathos gambits and back-up plans.

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I tend to struggle with grammatical errors. That said, I've improved drastically over time. I've gotten to the point that every chapter I write is a "rough draft" and subject to change before and after I make grammatical corrections.

 

I also tend to write on the fly with my ideas never being set in stone. While most my ideas do stick, I find that I change them in some matter or another later.

 

I consider both of these things to be weaknesses.

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While I think I can write compelling characters, it's my writing and grammatical errors that can throw viewers off. Although I'm not as sure as I don't get that many reviews in the first place so I don't necessarily know how well I'm doing. One problem I'm sure I have is world building. I'm not that great at setting up a world that well.

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While I think I can write compelling characters, it's my writing and grammatical errors that can throw viewers off. Although I'm not as sure as I don't get that many reviews in the first place so I don't necessarily know how well I'm doing. One problem I'm sure I have is world building. I'm not that great at setting up a world that well.

Build on something you're familiar with. After that, you'll already have a basic idea and you can let your imagination run wild. Once you've gotten used to this type of structure, you'll begin to make your own world with ease.

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I am garbage at describing settings. As in actual details of buildings, areas, etc.

 

But I like to think I'm pretty good with action and character dialogue itself. Sometimes I wonder if I should write something besides a novel cause of this.

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[spoiler=Let's see what I can come up with...]

 

Strengths

 

1. Spelling/grammar, though at this point, I should be very good at this considering the technical reports / essays I've written. I'll admit in the past that some punctuation and stuff was off, but obviously it's gotten better.

 

2. General length, I guess. (I tend to write a lot, though that in itself is a blessing/curse)

 

3. Ideas, albeit creativity at a lower level than it should be.

 

4. World development doesn't seem too bad here, even if it is just idealized versions of existing locales.

 

Weaknesses

 

1. Character development in the sense that I don't exactly flesh out their character right and/or ends up being cliche / probably OP'd in the universe for main characters. As a whole, I think some of mine are too one dimensional (though I'd like to think that I try to give female characters enough spotlight instead of the stereotype that persists in certain franchises).

 

I know earlier on in my offline fic (which I've been writing since 2010, off/on due to life) that I omitted a ton of details that were expected to be looked at during the overview for introducing characters.

 

2. I write self into corner too much with introducing too much stuff and then having to clarify it later with a back arc / side chapter. This likely leads to lack of ideas or why I don't continue writing on a regular basis (real life stuff notwithstanding).

 

3. Lack of originality.

 

Le's face it, my offline fic is really just a 5Ds spinoff thing with Naruto/Pokemon stuff, but obviously we're three generations ahead and stuff was much different at the time. It isn't really an original, though the storyline is different enough. (IDK, I suppose you can ask me about it via PM if interested)

 

Might have to check if I still have my stuff from ENG 100 / 273 because those were creative writing courses for most part.

 

4. Descriptions need some work (or in the sense that I need to remember that unless I provide visual cues/pics, this isn't like reading manga or watching anime).

 

5. I write too much and chapters end up long. IIRC some of my fanfic chapters average around 10-12 pages or somewhere between 4-5K words, and takes a while for me to finish it.

 

(You guys already know how much I write text walls)

 

 

 

So yeah, I have more flaws as a creative writer than I do with strengths. I don't think stuff like length is a negative side effect of having to write technical reports (which are long by nature), but who knows?

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My strengths:

 

1.  I'd like to think my English itself is pretty good.  I always did well in my English / Language Arts classes, and I'm pretty good at noticing typos in other works.  While I don't doubt that a few errors of my own slip through, it shouldn't be enough to detract from the story.  

 

2.  My brain is the ultimate idea generator, and I have tons of story ideas on my fictionpress and fanfiction.net account (both under the same name as here) to prove it.  So lack of story ideas or characters usually isn't an issue for me. 

 

3.  As far as fanfics go, I like to think I'm pretty good at "getting into the head" of certain characters.  As such my most successful fics tend to be oneshots of a character thinking to themselves, as opposed to a multi chapter fic where there are multiple characters actually doing something. 

 

 

My weaknesses:

 

1.  I cannot describe surroundings or "set the scene" for the life of me, mostly because I rarely pay attention to my own surroundings in real life (which has lead to some problems).  As a result my stories tend to be overly dialogue heavy, and turn into a boring repeat of "he said, she said, etc." with little to break it up.  I can't really even break it up with action scenes either as I also struggle with those. 

 

2. I never have any of my ideas planned out from start to finish.  There are always a few scenes in the middle I know I want, and if I'm lucky I'll have the start or end planned out as well, but never both.  But as far as a complete outline of start - everything in the middle - ending, it's pretty much never happened.  I've only ever finished one multi chapter story because of this, and it was a fanfiction taking the characters of one anime and throwing them into the plot of another, which kind of avoided the problem as the plot was already planned out for me.  (Technically I guess I also finished book 1 of an original work based on a RP, but the RP ended up dying so I never got around to finishing the series.) 

 

3.  The story I see in my head plays out like a movie, so trying to find the words to translate that into book form isn't always easy.  I may know what I want a make-believe species to look like, but when I try to type that out it doesn't always end up coming out like I want it to.  Part of it is that there's just a limit to written language (a picture's worth a 1,000 words, reading a song will never be the same as listening to it, etc.) and part of it is just my lack of skill as a writer.  It also means I hardly ever get anywhere do to trying to revise something a billion times and still not being happy with it.

 

 

I guess the tldr version is that I have tons of ideas that will never see the light of day because I'm bad at describing things and never have the full story planned out. 

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2. I never have any of my ideas planned out from start to finish.  There are always a few scenes in the middle I know I want, and if I'm lucky I'll have the start or end planned out as well, but never both.  But as far as a complete outline of start - everything in the middle - ending, it's pretty much never happened.  I've only ever finished one multi chapter story because of this, and it was a fanfiction taking the characters of one anime and throwing them into the plot of another, which kind of avoided the problem as the plot was already planned out for me.  (Technically I guess I also finished book 1 of an original work based on a RP, but the RP ended up dying so I never got around to finishing the series.)

Basically this, but in combination with another fault that extends past writing; deadlines. I struggle so much with procrastination, and if I don't have a hard and fast deadline, it's really hard for me to put the whip to my own back, so to speak. This has lead to so many stories that I drop as soon as I start to struggle with, and is definitely something I need to work on.

 

One thing I'm pretty sure I'm actually good at is showing, not telling. This I (bregrudgingly) admit I almost certainly got from the creative writing through school, and people say I'm a good DM in DnD and Call of Cthulhu when I do have a story to work with. Preferably not a last minute one.

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Well, of all my attempts at starting to write something and then stopping, it always seems to be one of a few reasons:

 

1. Sudden loss of interest. Not sure if it's my "depression" or that it's just my "ADD" - none of which are diagnosed - but either way, I've lost count of how many times I've thought of something, started writing or even just outlining a plot, and then just scrapped it completely because I just wanted to do something else.

 

2. Converting a concept into a plot. That tends to get me a lot. I come up with these concepts that sound really interesting and I want to write about it, but then it gets to the point where I try to make a story out of it and it just gradually becomes less and less interesting.

 

3. Not enough readers. funk me if I finally finish writing something that I feel somewhat proud of, share it, and then get no feedback whatsoever. Either no feedback or troll feedback. I dunno how Pika does it. She writes and posts chapter after chapter and almost no one comments or even acknowledges it. I wish I had that kind of dedication.

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Strengths

Worldbuilding: Maybe it's just because I really enjoy this part, but I've always been able to create really detailed and immersive worlds with distinct lore and mechanics. 

Characters: I've been told my characters feel like people and are compelling and easy to relate to.

Plot: Engaging plots that aren't always predictable are something I've worked to be able to create consistently. As a general rule my premises are interesting and the plot lines spring naturally from there.

 

Weaknesses

Dialogue: I suck at dialogue and giving my characters are distinctive voice. I've gotten a lot better in recent years but this will forever be the weakest part of my writing. I have to really work my ass off here.

Grammar: I have a good grasp on the English language (which is good since I'm a native speaker lol) but for some reason when I write/type that goes out the window and I find myself making really stupid mistakes.

Editing: Then as an added bonus I suck at actually finding those mistakes when I edit.

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(_|Strengths|_)

  1. Natural grasp of English with a vast dialect allowing me to rotate and spice up my writing.
  2. Fast writing allowing me to produce large pieces of work over a short period of time.
  3. Good grasp of world-building such that I produce a vibrant world over time.
  4. Good characterization to ensure characters I design act and grow as intended.
  5. Jack-of-all-trades mentality that allows me to tackle anything and work with those themes.
  6. Vast imagination allowing me to dream up over time creative pieces of work.
  7. Adept at using elements already present in canon franchises for use in fanworks.

(_|Weaknesses|_)

  1. Motivation to write is non-existent 95% of the day.
  2. Shaky beginnings when working with new stuff.
  3. At times dialogue is too similar between characters.

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Just to make it clear, say if youre writing a script for a TV show it can be for an existing TV show say Eastenders, as long as it is a totally new concept and never been done before.

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Strengths:

- Spelling, Grammar, and English use in general.

Weaknesses:

- Finishing stories

- Lack of confidence in my writing

- Formatting?

 

Normally I'd list "creativity" as a strength but I think that applies to my other hobbies more then it does to writing

 

Here are some excerpts to show what I mean:

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11537010/1/Hero-of-San-Francisco (This has only 1 chapter)

 

These excerpts are unpublished:

 

[spoiler=A Halloween to remember excerpt]

Prologue
It was a week before Halloween  when Josh Stein came up with the idea. He and his best friend Ethan Raine would dress up in Halloween costumes from the same game series. Josh wanted to be Tails and Ethan to be Sonic. Because they both suffered from Dwarfism, they could represent those characters accurately. Ethan however wasn't enough of a fan of Sonic to jump at the idea and wanted something else. Therefore they made a bet that whoever could win two out of three of their favorite games  would decide the costumes. Ethan defeated Josh in Warcraft III, but Josh won Super Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart so he chose Sonic and Tails for Ethan and himself respectively. The next step was getting the costumes. Fortunately Josh found a website called Rayne's that promised "Costumes so real you'll have trouble not being in character". Not only that, the site had a just before Halloween discount and free two day shipping. Josh submitted his and Ethan's measurements and ordered the costumes. They came the day before Halloween. The costumes seemed like nothing special but for the price they had paid, they didn't have to be. The night before Halloween Ethan was sleeping over at Josh's house. They both laid their costumes out on their beds since they'd decided to wear them to school. Such a thing was not unheard of on Halloween after all. Little did they realize that they'd be getting more than they bargained for, a lot more.

 

Chapter 1
Josh found himself in Tails' workshop. He recognized it by one of the various planes Tails had designed being parked in front of him and there was also a computer mainframe with Tails's insignia painted on it off to one side. The last thing he remembered was going to bed so he said "This is a nice dream, I'm in Tails' workshop.", though no one else seemed to be around to hear him. "There you are" a voice that sounded like Tails' said from behind him. Josh turned and saw none other than the two-tailed genius himself walking down a flight of stairs. "Hi Tails" Josh said eagerly. "Hi Josh" Tails replied, then he added, "I have wonderful news, tomorrow you're going to be me for a day!" Tails seemed very excited about it so Josh caught his mood and replied, "Cool, I've always wanted to be you. Flying must be awesome." Tails replied, "It is, but you'll learn that first hand soon. After tomorrow, you can be me or you as you choose, but tomorrow you'll be stuck being me, not that I think you'll mind much." Suddenly the computer started making an alarm noise that Josh thought sounded like his alarm clock and the screen said, "Alarm: Wake up!" in flashing red letters. Josh vaguely heard Tails say "Have fun!" before everything faded into the sound of his alarm clock blaring.

 

Josh woke slowly and without getting out of bed fumbled with the switch for his alarm clock. After he'd turned the alarm off, he thought back to the dream he had. "Tails said I'd be him for a day.... too bad it was just a dream." he thought to himself. He looked at his bed and noticed that his costume wasn't on it. "Strange," he said aloud, "I thought I left it on my bed". Then he noticed 2 things, first, his mouth felt different from how it should as it moved, and second, his voice sounded different. Feeling more awake, Josh pulled off the covers and nearly jumped out of bed in surprise: under the covers, instead of seeing the rest of his body clad in blue PJs, he saw Tails's body, sneakers and twin tails. He held up his hands and saw that they had white gloves over them and his arms, like the rest of his body were covered in orange fur. Slowly, Josh got out of bed and looked at his reflection in the window. Tails stared back at him. Hesitantly, he reached out and touched one of his tails, he could feel his hand on it. That shocked him and at the same time thrilled him. Finally he pinched his cheek and noticing that the pain felt real, and everything around him felt solid instead of ethereal like a dream setting would be, he concluded "This is really happening".

 

Suddenly Josh was wide awake, twin tails swishing with excitement, he ran out of his room and over to the guest bedroom. As he ran into the room he exclaimed, "Ethan wake up! You'll never believe this!" The figure in the bed lifted his head up and said, "What are you yelling about Josh?" However Josh noticed that it wasn't Ethan in the bed, it was Sonic. "Huh? Sonic?" Josh asked. 'Sonic' replied, "Why are you calling me Sonic, I'm Ethan." It was clear that he wasn't awake yet. Josh replied, "Can you do this for me then?" and stroked the back of his head with his hand. Ethan sat up and put a hand on the back of his head, he jolted awake when he felt quills instead of hair. "What, huh?" He said suddenly. Then he saw who had spoken to him and said, "Tails?" Josh replied, "I guess the same thing happened to you. We've become our costumes!" Ethan looked shocked so Josh added, "Don't worry, Tails told me in a dream that its only for one day." Ethan replied, "Funny, I dreamed about Sonic saying the same thing."

 

The two of them went down stairs and fixed breakfast. Ethan was still feeling apprehensive about becoming Sonic, so Josh reminded him that it was Halloween so no one would care. After getting their school bags ready they waited for the bus. Twenty minutes passed and it didn't come. Ethan said, "I hate it when the bus makes us late." Josh replied "Yeah... but who says we need it?" Ethan replied, "You think we can make it on time if we run or something?" Josh gave him a look that said "How could you forget something so obvious". Ethan looked down at himself and then said, "Just because we look like this doesn't mean we can..." but was cut off when Josh spun his tails and hovered in front of him. "Oh... maybe we can." He said. After a moment his expression brightened and he added, "I've always wondered what it's like to be fast. I'll see you at school. I'm going for a run!" He zoomed off. Josh spun his tails and flew over the city. Flying felt amazing, just as he thought it would.

 

 

 

[spoiler=Untitled Sonic and the Black Knight Crossover excerpt]

It had been a year since Sir Sonic, knight of the wind, had brought peace to Camelot. Sonic had long since returned to his home dimension, but he was anything but forgotten. He'd been such a great inspiration to the knights of the round table that they constantly trained to better themselves. The kingdom had been peaceful under the leadership of queen Morgan, who'd been in hiding during the dark times. Her son Mordred volunteered himself to be the new royal wizard.

 

Sir Percival had just finished a sparring match with Sir Lancealot when she noticed the hilt of her sword had been dented during the duel. She sent for the royal black smith only to find out that he was ill. Privately she wondered if he was faking illness because he felt he was irreplaceable, since he did give off an air of smugness sometimes. Putting her suspicions aside, Percival decided to go to the town blacksmith instead. She walked into the town blacksmith's shop and naturally he was surprised by a visit from a well known knight. However he quickly recovered, introduced himself as "Miles", and cheerfully fixed her sword.

 

A month later Sir Percival decided that she could do better if she had lighter armor, since she didn't have great physical strength like Sir Gawain. She decided to give the job to Miles, figuring that she could always have the royal smith redo it later if the armor wasn't good enough. Plus, there was something she liked about Miles's cheerfulness. When she returned to the shop a week later to pick up the armor, she saw that her money hadn't been wasted. Her new armor was much higher quality then she'd expected, and lighter than her old suit too. After she'd beat Sir Lancealot by surprising him with the agility her new armor offered, she went into town to thank Miles by offering  him dinner at the royal court. It was the start of a wonderful romance. Sir Percival had thought to herself in the past that she should marry someone of stature however Sir Sonic's unorthodox nature had taught her to loosen up sometimes when it came to tradition. When pressured about her love interest, she retorted that "Without good smiths, our kingdom would have long ago perished at the hands of its enemies. Therefore he is of a most noble profession!"

 

Eventually they were married at castle Camelot and half a year later Sir Percival gave birth their first child:  a male fox with fur like his father's, but he had his mother's eye color [Author's note: I'm going to assume that mobians, even camelot ones, don't give birth to hybrids under normal circumstances]. They wondered what to name him, then Miles came up with the name "Blade", "since blades are what brought us together and represent our passions." he explained.

 

Half a year later, the Knights of the Round Table became suspicious of Mordred. He fled the kingdom when suspected of treason. Life returned to an normal for a few months, until one day...
"You're getting better Miles", Sir Percival said as they walked back from the training grounds, since she'd been teaching him fencing. Miles replied, "I still have a long way to go to reach your level". Percival said, "I wish Blade could have seen your parrying technique today." Miles knew he was getting an genuine complement but replied, "You know he gets cranky if we wake him up from his nap." They walked into the nursery to find the governess had been knocked out by a blow to the head and Blade was missing. Percival found a note in his crib:

 

"I need a vessel for my plans so I took your son. Soon you will all bow down before me or die."
- King Mordred

 

The royal knights quickly assembled and with Morgan's help, tracked Mordred to an abandoned prison. Miles had insisted that he come with them. They fought their way through hordes of underworld creatures and eventually reached Mordred.

 

 Upon seeing them burst into his chamber, the evil wizard declared, "Your too late: The dragon revival ritual has already begun!" The group noticed Blade chained to an altar, his was muzzle streaked with tears and he was clutching his favorite blanket like a lifeline. Mordred moved between Blade and the knights, "I can't have you interfere." He declared. A fierce fight ensued. Mordred was but one man, but he used underworld summoning spells to even the odds. Eventually Percival locked swords with Mordred just long enough for Miles to sneak up and bash Mordred's head with his trusty war hammer. Mordred crumpled and his summoned knights vanished.

 

The group turned their attention to Blade. Dark energy was flowing from the altar into his body and his fur had already turned black. Miles freed him from the chains and Percival grabbed him from the altar. However the dark energy was still surging into him and his eyes were started to turn red. "How do we stop the ritual?" Miles said desperately. Suddenly Nimu, the Lady of the Lake appeared from a magic circle. "There is one spell that can save him, but it requires blood given but not taken." "Use my blood!" Miles and Percival said in unison. Percival and Miles cut themselves with Percival's sacred sword and the lady of the lake began the spell. The darkness within Blade tried to fight back but golden light shown from Miles, Percival, and Nimu. The light enveloped Blade causing his eyes to return to normal and his ears turned white. Sacred symbols appeared on his hands. After a few moments, the light and darkness stopped. Miles and Percival fell to their knees since the spell had drained them, with the latter still holding Blade.

 

He looked up at them as if waking from a nightmare. "It's alright now." Percival said and started trying to purr, since that always calmed Blade down. However suddenly Sir Gwain tackled them out of the way of a burst of dark energy. In her weakened state Percival lost her grip on Blade. Mordred was down, but not out. He started chanting another spell, and a dark vortex appeared behind the knights. All of them struggled not to lose their footing as the surrounding air was sucked into it. Sir Lancealot had the split second realization that Mordred was too weak to both maintain his spell and protect himself from another attack so he teleported behind Mordred and ran him through. Nobody moved for a couple seconds and then Miles asked, "Where's Blade?" Percival looked around and upon realizing what happened, she screamed. Nimu informed them that Mordred's final spell was meant to "send away one's enemies". In another time and another place, a baby's cry split the night air.

 

 

Edited by I Hate Snatch Steal

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