Identifying Your Writing Strengths, step 3.

Happy Monday everyone!

After a brief detour to squeal over my contract, we return to the last step for identifying your writing strengths.

(For those of you just joining us, we've been trying to identify writing strengths by figuring out what we love in a good book. The idea, which I stole from Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem!  is that if you love something, than you understand it and will probably be able to do it well. )

In step one, we listed books we love.

In step two, we figured out what those books have in common

Now in step three, it's time to get specific.

First, zero in on what exactly you like about the things on your list. If one of the things on your list is "great characters," then ask WHY these characters? What is it that you love about them? Is it because they're funny? Confident? Messed-up? Do you like characters that are romantics? Characters that can kick ass?

Lizzie Bennett or Katniss Everdeen?

In the examples I've been using from my own list, Mercedes Lackey and Tamora Pierce both have excellent worldbuilding. But there are a lot of ways to worldbuild.

So I asked myself why. Why did I like this worldbuilding so very, very much?

The answer surprised me. I like both author's worlds because of their incredible diversity. Both Lackey and Pierce put all kinds of different cultures into their worlds, and one of the most engaging things about the books for me is watching all those different cultures and points-of-view play off of each other.

Once you have narrowed down your list, look at your own stories. Are those themes and characters showing up in your books too?

As I said before, I like diverse worlds, worlds where every group does things differently, and where cultures can clash. Which is kind of hilarious because House of a Thousand Dolls is about a place where your destiny is determined by what House you train in. Almost everyone in the book has a completely different idea of what's important in life, and that can cause...problems.

If the themes and characters you love are showing up in your writing, then congratulations! You've definitely found a writing strength.

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What if there are things on your list that you haven't written? Try them on for size. Maybe you won't be as good at them as you want to be, at least at first. But if it's something you love to read, then maybe it will be something you love to write.

And if YOU love to write it, the chances are we'll love to read it.

Happy writing!

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.