Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG: The Things We're Good At

I have even more insecurities than usual this month, something I didn't think was technically possible.  But instead of another round of Why I Suck At This or Why I'll Never Make It, I thought I'd try something different.

It's time to talk about the things we're good at.

I don't have much of an ego, so I'm rarely one to toot my own horn.  But I think we writers need that from time to time.  It helps to look at our work and acknowledge that what we do can be pretty damn awesome.  So let's do that.  I'll start.

I know I'm good at pacing, largely because when I ask my readers about it, the feedback is always positive.  I'm not sure where I picked this up, or even when I started realizing it was a thing.  But I seem to have developed the knack for moving the story along at a speed that works for it, without delaying things or having too many things happen all at once.  My best guess is this came from reading a whole lot of books and subconsciously figuring out how to make it work.

I'm good at non-dramatic romance, which I think largely comes from my dislike of melodramatic romance.  :P  I'm a big fan of characters realizing they're into each other and doing something about it.  Whether I plan to get characters together or it's something that happens while I'm writing (which usually means a round of re-plotting), it's usually a matter of realizing that these people are both awesome and into each other, so they should get together and do awesome things together.  That's it.

Granted, part of why I prefer to avoid romance drama is that my books aren't about that.  My stories are about these people having adventures, and if they find love along the way, cool, it adds to the story.  If not?  STILL AN ADVENTURE.  ^_^

Something I've realized while editing STARWIND is that I'm good at small-but-revealing lore drops.  There's a lot going on out in the multiverse, and I seem to have become skilled at putting enough for the reader to understand things into one or two sentences that the POV character can quickly relay and then get on with the story.  I'll have to keep an eye on this when people are beta-reading, but I'll be happy if I can keep getting across the necessary info without it feeling like an infodump.

On the same note, I think I'm good at small-but-revealing character moments.  Not everything is a big dramatic revelation, and I think things work out well when it's a few lines of dialogue that help us see what's really going on in a character's head.  So much of the first draft is discovering the characters, and I've been pleased while editing this thing to see that a lot of who they are comes out in the smaller moments.

Finally, this one will be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly: I'm good at weird.  I think the following bit from STARWIND is proof of this:

"Kris tapped a few more symbols on her screen, logging onto the Core net now that they were in the Between.  The Core net was basically like the internet back on Earth, only it covered a few hundred different planes and had much weirder porn."

Anyway!  Sound off in the comments if you wish - what do you know you're good at?  If I can spend all this time bragging about myself, so can the rest of you.  :P

22 comments:

  1. Sometimes weird is good.
    I like your approach to the romance. I feel the same way.
    Mason, you needed this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really did need this. I don't know if it'll help me in the long run, but it's still good for we writers to take a moment and realize that no, we don't completely suck.

      Delete
  2. Nothing wrong with weird..actually, I prefer it. Not every moment needs to be dramatic, but it's the subtle things which make the most difference. Especially in romance. More reluctant ones that just happen along the way are always my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I could *not* do weird. :P And I'm not sure about reluctant romance; I think I've seen it done too many times. I do like the sudden realization followed by "NOW what do I do?!" sort of thing, though. ^_^

      Delete
  3. I've seen all the above in your writing and I definitely agree you're good at it. And like the others said, weird is good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. That really means a lot coming from someone who's read my work. ^_^

      Delete
  4. I love the subtle reveals that say so much about characters or the foreshadowing so inconspicuously layered in that people really get the big reveal later on.

    Way to celebrate your strengths. We don't do that enough, do we?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We really don't, and it's really helpful. I try not to repeat myself here, but I might have to do this again in a few years.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Excellent. ^_^ And I'm glad someone finally posted what they're good at too.

      Delete
  6. Sounds like you're good at all the right things! And a sense of modesty and humor fills in for the rest. Write on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I think I can always fall back on trying to make people laugh, even if it's just with my usual self-depreciation.

      Delete
  7. Sci-fi without info dumps sounds like a pleasure to read. I agree about avoiding the melodrama in romantic subplots. I like audacious characters who grab at opportunities. Sometimes the chance you take pays off, sometimes not, but who wants to read about timorous ninnies quaking in the shadows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. The characters I write are often people who either are used to taking chances or quickly become used to it, so I don't think it would work to have them suddenly be timid about showing interest in someone.

      I've yet to write the "shows interest by grabbing someone and kissing them" thing, but someday. ^_^

      Delete
  8. Pacing the information right is so important, so I think I need to read one of your books, especially if it's weird, sci-fi, and adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! That describes the book I'm working on now (more science fantasy than sci-fi, but it does take place largely on a spaceship), so if I ever manage to get it published, I'll let you know. ^_^

      Delete
  9. Hmm, so something I'm good at? Stuff blows up, someone says something funny. That's about it as far as I can tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you're good at more than that. :P

      Delete
  10. Hurray for the non-melodramatic romance and those quiet moments of character revelation. I love those moments. :)

    I am pretty good at chapter endings that keep the reader turning pages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing how important that is - people talk about chapter cliffhangers, but it's so easy to get that wrong.

      Granted, at least three chapters of STARWIND end with someone saying "Run."

      Delete
  11. Weird is good! And when people read my stories, they always comment on the humor, so I guess I'm good at that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Humor's a good thing to be good at, especially in writing - it's so easy to have it fall flat or just plain not be funny when someone reads it, because you can't supply timing or tone of voice or things like that.

      Delete