PDA

View Full Version : Writing Ability List


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pluvious
March 21st, 2004, 04:13 AM
I thought I might see what people think they do well in terms of writing a fantasy novel. This can be a book you have written, one you are writing, or one you are planning. Just what you think you do well in general.

Here is a list of skills needed for fantasy novelists. Select what you do best from 1-10 (1 being the best). Feel free to explain any choice you make.

* Original concept
* Many original ideas/concepts
* Writing general description
* Describing characters
* Describing setting
* Making likable characters
* Writing dialogue
* Stylistic prose (elegance)
* Unique characters
* Realistic/believable characters
* Realistic world
* Imaginative world
* Research (general)
* Good "spot" research
* Original magic system
* Interesting magic system
* Strange yet still believable world/concept
* Complex mystery (figure things out) plot
* Page turner
* Action packed
* Thought-provoking (psychological)
* Original action concept
* Romance
* Original romance concept
* Quality battle/war scenes
* Literary in quality
* Epic
* Original epic concept
* Non-traditional fantasy
* Completely unique fantasy concept
* Other (explain)

Therse are the ones I can come up with at the moment. If anyone else has some or thinks something should be altered just say so.

user123
March 21st, 2004, 04:52 AM
Ok these are the areas I believe I'm strongest in, though I hope I'm at least good in all of them.
Writing dialogue-2: I work at making the things my characters say sound like something a real person might say in whatever situation they happen to be in.
Realistic/ Believable Characters-1: This goes along some what with the dialogue question. If the character isn't beleivable then what the say isn't either. And I put a lot into make them as real as anyone you may meet on the street.
Quality battel/ war scenes-2 too 3: While I'm not an expert on sword-play, I try to write it so that it sounds like a real lefe and death fight. And I tend to think if you get too technical it slows the story down and makes the readers eye start to glass over.
Realistic world and Imaginative world are pretty much the same thing arn't they? I mean just because its imaginative doesn't mean it can't be realistic. Anyway I thing I do a fair job here, about a 4 I think.

And I know my answers make me sound very egocentric, but I'm an artist so don't even try to judge me.
:cool:

Abby
March 21st, 2004, 05:34 AM
Here we go...
* Original concept 1
* Many original ideas/concepts 1
* Writing general description 3
* Describing characters 4
* Describing setting 2
* Making likable characters 1
* Writing dialogue 1
* Stylistic prose (elegance) 2
* Unique characters 1
* Realistic/believable characters 2
* Realistic world 1
* Imaginative world 2
* Research (general) 2
* Good "spot" research What's this?
* Original magic system 1
* Interesting magic system 1
* Strange yet still believable world/concept 2
* Complex mystery (figure things out) plot 1
* Page turner 1
* Action packed 3
* Thought-provoking (psychological) "1". My epic novel seem to get some deep thinking test readers, anyway. I've had some serious discussions about the human psyche stemming from my novel--people who have read it.
* Original action concept 2
* Romance "10". Heh heh, what romance?
* Original romance concept "10". Unless you count what happens later in the saga...which is a nice love triangle. So I'll go ahead and give myself a "3".
* Quality battle/war scenes "3". But there will be some quality epic battles later in the saga.
* Literary in quality 5
* Epic "1". It sure is.
* Original epic concept "1". I'm worried that publishers will reject it because it isn't like anything else.
* Non-traditional fantasy 1
* Completely unique fantasy concept "1". I think this was covered...
* Other (explain) How about decent length? I get a "10" for that, because I didn't pay attention to word count limits when I first wrote my epic saga. I had to go back and chop it into three separate books in order to meet publishing house standards. Now the first book is a respectable 123,000 words, BUT I'm afraid that it reads more like an intro than a complete story. The ending is a cliff hanger without a good resolution. The epic battles don't occur until Book III. This is my biggest fear about rejection...I'm afraid that publishers won't want Book I because it doesn't quite stand alone.

*Pacing
I give myself a "7" for pacing, because there are places where the story drags, according to test readers. I need to tighten it up.

Thanks for the poll. These are definitely topics that writers should analyze about their work, sooner or later. Going topic by topic forced me to really think about it. Are you going to take your poll?

ironchef texmex
March 21st, 2004, 04:13 PM
1) Page turner
2) Writing dialogue
3) Making likable characters
4) Thought provoking
5) Completely unique fantasy concept

I'm not sure anything after #5 counts as a strength, but here goes:

6) Other: killing off the likable characters
7) Other: writing material that reads better drunk
8) Other: Somehow working necrophilia into every book
9) Other: creating complex maps of the fantasy world
10) Other: losing the maps about two weeks later

Holbrook
March 21st, 2004, 04:28 PM
Actually I can't list such things for it's not for me to self judge my skills or my writing or say what I am good at... bit conceited to do so in my opinon.

I know my faults better.

My knowledge of the machanics of "writing" the nuts and bolts of grammar and spelling are bad; getting better, slowly, but still bad.

I am never satisified with anything I write, I always believe it could be better, sharper, clearer.

I doubt my ability to put emotional content into my work.

I have to rein in my warped sense of humour else it runs riot in serious sections.

I am cursed with the British sense of irony and it shows in my work.

I often rush, work. Not as much as I used too , but still try to "rush" the ending, cut it short....

I often feel my characters are too far off the "accepted" fantasy types to be liked by readers. I have a hate for your "standard hero" and it shows in my work....

JRMurdock
March 21st, 2004, 04:37 PM
I also won't rate myself, but not because I don't want to, but because I also don't think I'm qualified to make any of the above statements.

Currently I'm editing my own first book. I found myself with 4 pages and no edits and realized I was 'page turning' and 'reading' and NOT editing. I actually got caught up in my own writing. Many who've test read my first book have said the same thing. They get to a certain point in the book (past the build up chapters) and they cannot put it down. I've had a person tell me they were up until 4AM reading just to finish.

I've been told my characters are fresh and original though palgued with bad luck. If it weren't for their bad luck, I'd have no story...hehehe. Many of my descriptions do well and create good visuals, but I tend to linger on them and not allow the reader to imagine. Some of my trees and flowers need pruning.

What I've got on my hands is a book in need of serious editing (which I'm in the process of doing). I picked up a copy of Strunk's and White's The Elements of Style and my eyes have been opened. I've removed many a sentence containing things such as (Appeared to be rising, seemed to be standing still, looked like it was going to fall) and changed them (rose, stood still, fell). All shorter and makes the reader more certain of what happened. Regardless of how rediculious, if you can state it postivetly, the reader will take it that way. The difference between strong and weak writing.

So now that I'm armed with a better equipped tool box, I'm laying into my own manuscript and tearing it down to its essentials. I hope I've got a better product when I'm done...:)

Pluvious
March 21st, 2004, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by Holbrook
Actually I can't list such things for it's not for me to self judge my skills or my writing or say what I am good at... bit conceited to do so in my opinon.

I know my faults better.

My knowledge of the machanics of "writing" the nuts and bolts of grammar and spelling are bad; getting better, slowly, but still bad.

I am never satisified with anything I write, I always believe it could be better, sharper, clearer.

I doubt my ability to put emotional content into my work.

I have to rein in my warped sense of humour else it runs riot in serious sections.

I am cursed with the British sense of irony and it shows in my work.

I often rush, work. Not as much as I used too , but still try to "rush" the ending, cut it short....

I often feel my characters are too far off the "accepted" fantasy types to be liked by readers. I have a hate for your "standard hero" and it shows in my work....

I understand, but you could simply list what you think "you" are best at. Do you think you are better at writing dialogue in comparison to description, etc???

Mine might go something like this.

1. Complex mystery
2. Many original concepts ideas
3. Writing dialogue
4. Thought provoking
5. Original magic system

etc.

Things I would not list as my strengths are writing description and a truly "imaginative" world. Its more of a blend with my own concepts.

Anyway, the way I worded this thread it didn't really specify if you should post a list of 10 things or rate every single criteria I posted. Either could work though. Your choice.

Richardb
March 22nd, 2004, 12:07 PM
Hard to put into the list of terms you have above. Also hard to rate yourself. I am 'comfortable' with my writing and style, even though I recognize it will likely never take me mainstream.
I believe I do a good job of creating epic scope, and that I am original in my stories.
I know that my pacing is choppy, but I do it on purpose as part of how I want to focus the story. I know that my dialog is formal and does not seem natural at times, but I like it that way. It suits how I feel these characters should interact in the world of my devising...
I enjoy military structures and activities and tend to put a lot of focus on those in my books, which is either a plus, or a minus depending on what readers enjoy.
I think I may overcomplicate things, which could lose a reader. I don't like clear plots, or clear resolutions. I like to write a chess game of sorts with feints within feints, and a lot of activities of which the purpose is unclear until the end.
I love world building, and creating a history. The problem with this is in naming conventions etc. By the time you get to writing, you find names that are too close, or confusing, but you can't change them... they simply ARE the names. I get this feedback commonly. Too many names and places, and some of them are similar. True in the real world, but in writing, perhaps life would be easier if I cleaned this up.
Other than that, as to the list, I couldn't rate myself to save my life, and of those that read me and provide feedback, it would be between 1-10, with every other reviewer providing the opposite scoring.
Such is life.

Abby
March 22nd, 2004, 02:57 PM
Originally posted by Holbrook
Actually I can't list such things for it's not for me to self judge my skills or my writing or say what I am good at... bit conceited to do so in my opinon.

I often feel my characters are too far off the "accepted" fantasy types to be liked by readers. I have a hate for your "standard hero" and it shows in my work....
Hi Holbrook,

I also prefer the protagonists who aren't standard heroes. This is one reason why I like George R.R. Martin's work so much. It's my belief that the book publishers and agents insist that readers prefer stock hero types, not the readers themselves. Most readers probably prefer weirdos who overcome their problems and kick ass, or outcasts who get sweet revenge, etc.
:D
Yeah, it is definitely conceited to list one's own strengths in writing, and surely innaccurate. I still had fun doing it. Anyhow, I figure that writing is subjective to at least some degree; if ten Stephen King fans listed King's strengths and weaknesses, there would probably be some variation in the responses. I just take it for granted that anyone reading my list of strengths and weaknesses will assume that it's "as seen through the lens of Abby."