Strengths and Weaknesses

For our commentary we need to list the strengths and weaknesses in our writing. I won’t list what I plan to write are my strengths but I came up with a rather long list of weaknesses, although some are the inverse of possible strengths. For example, one person’s superfluous dialogue might be another’s illustration of character or inconsistency of character might also be viewed as adding complexity.

  • Over-explaining — insulting the reader’s intelligence by spelling out what can be inferred
  • Occasionally over-writing — though this depends a lot on the reader’s taste and the genre
  • Lapse into cliché/corniness — in the more emotional scenes I can put in soapy dialogue but when it’s real emotion I don’t think it pays to think of clever ways of having your characters avoiding saying ‘I love you’ or ‘I want you’.
  • Balance of interior/exterior — I often avoid the interior (could be linked with the POV issue)
  • POV not clearly enough signalled (or just inconsistent) — my POVs tend to confuse at times because I’ll allow the character whose POV I am writing from to infer observations (the other character must have entered the room because the POV character assumed she heard the door open — perhaps easier to say ‘she must have heard the door open’)
  • Not ‘listening’ to characters — being an authorial bully — thinking ‘wouldn’t it be a great scene for him to parade this other woman before his wife and provoke an argument between them all’ for the sake of creating a dramatic scene when really the characters don’t want to do that.
  • Lack of conciseness (inc. superfluous dialogue) — the universal reluctance to kill your own babies
  • Consistency of characterisation — readers thinking ‘x or y wouldn’t do that’ — but do I do this badly enough to make the reader give up or would be cumulative effect be to increase complexity if done properly?

Writing A Commentary

One benefit of writing this blog is that I thought it would be useful to use to look back on and chart the progress of the writing over the course — and part of the course assessment is for us to write a 2,000 word commentary on exactly that.

This has to be done by Wednesday — pretty easy I smugly thought — I’ll just cut and paste the writing-related entries into a document and edit them a bit. I just did this, along with the content of a couple of e-mails I’ve sent the tutors with my expostulations, and found the document is a mere 24,790 words long.

There’s extra stuff we need to put in the commentary as well that’s not covered in the blog (like consider in depth which authors are in our genre and who publishes them) so it looks like I’m going to have to edit 95% of the words away — probably harder than writing it from scratch. However, it’s useful to go back and have dates associated with feelings of satisfaction and frustration.

I need a blurb too…maybe I’ll post that on here to see if anyone might think it sells the novel.