Monday, June 3, 2019

Knowing Yourself As An Author

We cannot bring out the best in our writing until we truly understand what our own strengths and weaknesses as an author are. We play to our strengths and look for help for the areas we are weak in. We have to do both - doing only one or the other is going to end up in what I call "lopsided writing".

How do we define our strengths? Look at what comes easily to you. Are you able to envision the big picture of a project from the beginning? Are you good at defining your characters? Does that first paragraph write itself? Do your characters work well together? Are you good with details? Are you writing for your intended audience? Are you organized? Does your story hang together? Your strengths are what will make your work shine! Use them wisely!

How do we define our weaknesses? Truth be told, we may not know what they are. Some things to look for are: (1) Sections that don't hold together, or are simply boring. You run the chance of losing your readers here. (2) Losing focus. If your story starts wandering, it has lost its legs. Even if your readers continue reading, they have lost what your story is trying to tell them. (3) Your story doesn't flow. A story that flows holds the readers interest - one that does not loses them. (4) Writing that is too wordy. I am certainly guilty of this. We all like our own words, but we fail to realize that sometimes they just are not necessary. If your words are not adding to the story, they do not belong there. (5) Use of phrases that say nothing, like "in my opinion", "really", "actual". If a word or phrase says nothing - delete it!

Pay attention to your gut feelings when you are editing copy. If it doesn't sound right, if it doesn't feel right, then it isn't right! Change it, or delete it. You are the author, this is your story - make it shine!

(c) June 2019 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author. 


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