Identifying Your Writing Strengths, step 2.

(If you haven't read Monday's post on Identifying Your Writing Strengths, step 1, go give it a quick look. This next part will make much more sense if you do.)

Okay, everyone got their books in mind, the ones you LOVE?

Now it's time to get analytical. Identify in one or two words what you love about each book. Write it down, make a list if you want. (it might help later.)

Go with your gut on this one. I told someone once that I loved Mercedes Lackey because of the worldbuilding, only to have them say they thought her worldbuilding was awful. (Psshh! What nonsense!)

Remember, we aren't talking about what everyone thinks these writers are good at, or what they're famous for. We're talking about what YOU love about them. There are no wrong answers here, and you will not be graded.

If you can't figure out what draws you to a book, then list what you feel the book does well. For example, Tamora Pierce is excellent at worldbuilding and great female characters. In fact, Kel, the MC of the Protector of the Small quartet is one of a very few heroines I can think of who's...well...ordinary. She has no magic, no special talent for fighting. Kel just works really hard to be a good knight. We care about her because she's so determined, and because she's intensely protective of the weak and helpless. But she is very much an Everyman character.

Now once you have identified possible things you love about each book, look at the list. Do certain themes come up again and again? (Like worldbuilding does for me, for example.)

Put those on the list of things you love and start looking at how you handle those things in your own writing.

Sometimes you'll have more than one obsession. For example, in addition to my longtime love affair with great worldbuilding, I adore (and will reread) lots of Alistair Maclean. Maclean does suspense, and his worldbuilding is NOT what draws me in.

Instead, Maclean does something else very well, he draws on my love of Super-Competent Characters and good plot twists. I ADORE a good super-competent MC, and I love it when a character you thought was in a fix suddenly turns out to have been in control all along.

So, look at the books you love and list why you love them, or what they do well and you'll be well on your way to discovering your writing strengths. We'll do some more analysis this weekend but until then...

What did you come up with?

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.