September 24, 2007 archive

Tagged by a Writer

Bonnie from Words from a Wordsmith tagged me for a Writer’s Meme. I’m supposed to list five strengths I possess as a writer. Here is Bonnie’s answer.

This one is making me think (ouch!).

1. I’m a people-person. I love talking to people and hearing their stories, I love watching how people behave…and I love telling their stories, both “fictionally” and in creative non fiction pieces. Understanding what makes others ‘tick’ is essential to development of good characters. Knowing my character’s motivations, dreams and desires…as well as their weaknesses…helps me develop believable characters and make them come alive on the page for the reader.

2. I’m a little bit crazy. And I mean this in a positive sense! I have been known to have complete conversations with my fictional characters, out loud, while driving to work. I sometimes dream about my stories. Sometimes I forget that a fictional character is not really a living person. When I’m working on a story, I obsess about it until it is finished. For a long time I really thought there must be something wrong with me – then I started meeting other writers and discovered I wasn’t alone!

3. I’m a perfectionist. At first, this trait impeded my ability to write. I would re-write the first paragraph of a story over and over and never make it to the end of the piece. Then I discovered an extraordinary thing called Nanowrimo and my life as a writer was transformed. Nanowrimo taught me to kick the editor off my shoulder during the creative process, and THEN go back once I had a first draft to perfect it. So, now my perfectionism is actually being put to good use. I am ruthless about editing drafts. I can slice and slash and remove excessive verbiage without a blink. And I believe the ability to do this makes for better writing.

4. I’m not afraid of being alone. Writers need time by themselves. I’m no different. Even when I’m not physically writing, I may be thinking about the story I’m going to write. I can’t do this in a room full of people. When I write, I need to be alone, in a quiet place. When I think about writing, I need to be alone – on a walk in the woods, or driving on a country road, or sitting on my porch gazing at the trees.

5. I have a wild imagination; I love telling stories and I love hearing them. When I was a child, I had several imaginary friends. They were little trolls who hung out in my room or lived in the bushes around my house. I created entire lives for them. The trolls have long since disappeared, but my ability to create stories out of nothing has survived. I love crafting a story and telling it to a group of people – stretching it out, keeping people on the edge of their seats, rushing to the finish in a dramatic swoop. Many times while I’m writing, I have no idea where the story is going – I let my characters tell it and I become the “audience.” I love the surprise of learning something about the story that only the characters knew. Stories to me are all about discovery.

I’ve decided to tag a group of writers who I greatly admire. The writers over at The Piker Press are dedicated, funny and extraordinarily talented. They are writers in every sense of the word, and I would love to see what they think makes them writers!

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