Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Giving Back To The Writing Community

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

This will be a rather short blog post today. Between helping my daughter with her pre-calculus class, decorating the outside of our house for Halloween, and preparing for a presentation on story structure I’ll be giving tomorrow at a local writer’s group, I simply don’t have the time. 

At first glance, it might seem surprising I’m giving a presentation on a writing related topic when I have yet to finish my first book, but it makes sense when you know more about me. My glacial writing pace stems from my difficulty in translating the ideas inside my head to words on a page, not from a lack of understanding of story structure. In fact, that subject is one of the few things about writing that I actually get. 

I still struggle with showing versus telling, my descriptions often sound like bullet lists on a PowerPoint slide, and my dialogue needs lots of work, but story structure just makes sense to me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m a heavy plotter deep down inside. Maybe it’s because story structure feels like a science to me, and I’m good at science. Whatever the reason, it's easy for me to spot problems with story structure both in my own stories and in the books I beta-read. 

After all the help and wisdom I’ve received from other writers over the years, sharing what I’m good at with the writing community is the least I can do. 

Question: what aspect of writing are you best at, and how do you share that knowledge with your fellow writers?

ChemistKen


23 comments:

  1. I'm a character and dialogue person, which is why I first focused on screenwriting. I was lucky enough to sit on my first conference panels a few weeks ago to talk about these things. Felt great to be acknowledged as someone who knows enough that others might want to listen!

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    1. You always learn so much more about a subject when you teach it to others. Teaching equals learning. Way to go!

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  2. That's why I created my blog. :) I wanted to share what I learned about writing with other writers.

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    1. That was part of the reason for my blog too, although I had to learn so much before I was able to contribute in that way.

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  3. I'm all right with a power point.
    Hey, I'm in charge of the writing tips page at the IWSG site and I still think that was a mistake. But I think I'm good now with active versus passive in writing. Or let's just say I got better.

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    1. There are SOOOO many things that I'm better at now than I was a few years ago that I'm still astounded. Unfortunately, There's still so much more to learn.

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  4. I have no idea what I'm best at, but my editor tells me my writing has a "lyrical quality." Other people tell me my writing feels "organic." Those words sound like compliments to me, though I'm not quite sure what I'm being complimented for.

    I guess if there's any knowledge I have to share with other writers, it's to listen to your muse and follow your intuition (which is usually what I try to say in my IWSG posts).

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    1. A couple of my crit partners have told me they can definitely hear my voice in my stories. I assume they meant that as a good thing. Now all I have to do is figure out where the heck my voice is so that I can spot it too.

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  5. The aspect I know most about comes after writing, the publishing and promoting stuff. Probably why I own a publishing company and teach seminars on the subject. LOL

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    1. That's an extremely important part of the writing process. I'm sure I'll be contacting you for help in this area once I'm ready to publish.

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  6. I've been told I'm good with voice and plot, and readers have noted that they feel as if they are right there with my characters.

    Congrats on your upcoming presentation. :)

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    1. The feeling of being right there with your characters is the Holy Grail of writing, as far as I'm concerned. When you have that, both plot and characters seem so much better. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. I offer first page critiques on my blog once a month. I think I'm pretty good at offering feedback on "first impressions," but that doesn't mean my own first pages come out perfect. Far from it! :)

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    1. It's almost impossible to see what's right or wrong with your own stories. That's why we need crit partners and beta readers.

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  8. I'm good at characterization and plot--maybe. I don't think I really share any insights with others because I don't see why people would listen to me. They have no proof I'm good at these things, as I have nothing finished for them to read.

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    1. I suspect people would listen, because it helps to hear these tips from as many people as possible, from different viewpoints. Besides, every time you try to teach other people, you learn more about it yourself.

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  9. I think I'm best a dialogue. But I don't know how that helps my writing overall.

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  10. When I started out in the early 80s, I was horrible at voice. Truthfully, I was still horrible in the 90s. So I studied and studied and studied. Today I think it's my best aspect. I don't plot or pant. I work the characters through everything life can throw at them, and let the story move from there. Not always easy, but I like the challenge. I help thru my blog and IWSG, I hope.

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  11. Although I struggle to describe everything "enough," I think I'm pretty good at world-building. I've had compliments on that from readers, and I feel like I'm able to get a fully realized world and world rules on the page with minimal writing. I don't really think of that often, but I do think of government, belief systems, language, and cultural nuances when I create a new fantasy world. I don't often focus on that in any of the writing classes I teach (I teach MG and HS formal writing classes), but it's something I could work with.

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  12. Being a good editor doesn't necessarily make someone a good writer. We each have our separate strengths in writing and it's good to know what they are, just as it's important to know what our weaknesses are so we can work on them. And it's awesome to share that knowledge too.

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  13. I'm kind of the opposite!! Dialogue is my favourite thing to write along with that first draft where anything can happen. I'm forcing myself into learning to plot because it's WAY more efficient in the long run (for me I think/hope) but it's not natural!

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  14. That is a valuable gift, Ken. Lots of us aren't so clear on plotting.

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  15. I'm pretty good with character arcs. I know about story structure but it isn't my strong point. If I lived close enough I would attend your workshop.

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