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Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'll Knock Your Socks Off

©atastrophically photographed by B.C. Matthews

We writers are often a mixed lot when it comes to how we see our strengths and weaknesses. I've met the raging egomaniacal writer who thinks "everything I write is a gold nugget of perfect prose" and "I'll knock your socks off with my awesomeness." On the flip side, I've met the self deprecating nervous Nellies who insist that everything they write is "crap covered in crap, filled with a nougaty center full of crap, and then layered in crap like a crap lasagna."

And I've been both the egomaniac and the nervous Nellie.

While now I don't think that my writing will stand the test of time like some novel-Twinkie, I'm not quite in the camp where I think all of my writing is in the Almighty Toilet Bowl of Crap Writing ™ either (though, I've had my moments). Still, I find it difficult to praise myself, or my writing. I still feel like a ridiculous non-prolific noob. Maybe I'll always feel like that no matter how much I write.

Often what I think are my strengths, are what critique partners and beta readers point out is where I need work. A lot of work. As in "still under construction" type work. Still, here is where I think my strengths are:

Dark and twisted: I've been told more than once by people who know me, and are surprised when they read one of my more horror-oriented works, that "it's always the quiet ones." I think I'm pretty good at taking a good-hearted character and showing him/her just what their threshold of terror can be. I like taking that character's greatest desire and twisting it in ways that will keep them up at night...and sometimes it has tentacles.

Humor: I always delude myself into thinking that I'm wickedly funny, and that they're laughing with me. I've actually received some praise and feedback from various places that I've submitted to based on my brand of humor. Though to be honest, many critique partners have pointed out that sometimes I try way too hard. They even insist that dick jokes, lady bid'ness jokes, fart jokes, 80's reference jokes, Star Trek jokes, computer jokes, and puns are not funny (or punny). My humor is usually either vulgar or nerdy, or sometimes both.

Description: I've always thought that description has been one of my strongest points. I think this is why I'm not a fast writer sometimes, because my first drafts are filled with description. I treat the setting and its description almost like another character. I think one of my easiest college courses was a Nature Writing class simply because the entire thing was nothing but description.

Action: Maybe because I grew up watching John McClane yippee-kay-yay-ing Hans Gruber off of a tall building, I always want something exploding, someone shooting, dire dear-God-I-need-a-medic type stuff. I've been told that the action scenes I write are good at setting the reader on edge, if a little over the top at times. If my characters don't need medical attention and a shower by the end, I feel I haven't done my job.

How do you knock off socks with your awesomeness?


This topic brought to you by those pants-dropping writers over at the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. There you'll visit the closets of many different writers from all walks of life from non-sock wearing published authors (when you're paid to be a writer it's in your contract that society's clothing standards no longer apply) to flasher-coat wearing newbies. Next up on the tour is the bowler hat wearing Gilroy Cullens (warning this statement might be false).

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