//writing strengths + weaknesses

A few weeks ago, Cait over at Paper Fury did a post on her writing strengths and weaknesses. (She failed to mention that she is, in fact, possessed with a muse who types at about 300 WPM and writes 15,000 words a day when she’s in a lazy mood. I’ll never understand how she does it, but I tell her off every time she posts a word count update so her head doesn’t swell.)  Anyway, I loved the idea of putting it out in the open and seeing YOUR writing strengths and weaknesses as well! Let’s start with the weaknesses and get the nastiness out of the way first, shall we?


  • Filler words. My first drafts are always absolutely riddled with words like ‘realized’ and ‘saw’ and ‘looked’ and ‘then’ and… ‘and’! In many ways these are what first drafts are for, but still, it’s a lame feeling to look over a paragraph as you’re writing and see where it could be three times more powerful….and know that if you stop to edit now, you’ll lose your momentum. (It also doesn’t help that half my word count during NaNoWriMo – or JuNoWriMo – is thanks to word warring.) L A M E, I say.
  • Sometimes I cut corners for the sake of the story, when I (probably) shouldn’t. Since I tend to make up most of what I write on the fly (I have a vague outline, but everything between the major plot points is basically done by the seat of my pants). So sometimes my plot points don’t exactly make total sense, and then I have to either change them completely or try to fix them with awkward, clumsy patch-jobs that really don’t fix anything. It’s lazy! I need to stop! I keep doing it! Why!
  • I have patterns. My own personal tropes, if you will. I like snarky, broody characters. I love bad boys with hearts of gold. I love spunky, feminine girls. Apparently I love them a lot, because they can be found in almost all my novels…which, uh, isn’t exactly unexpected. And I want to be unexpected; so it’s something I’m working toward. Smash those stereotypes!
  • Between-scenes. I have point A and I have point B, but between those two points needs to be something. Dialogue. Action. Y’know, those scene things. Those are definitely not my strength. Sometimes I end up rambling for pages and then I have to cut out huge chunks later because I had no idea what I was, only where I wanted to be.
  • I’m not actually great at writing girls. Guys? Yeah. I’ll write about guys until the sun goes down. I find them much easier to understand, because I’ll be honest – I don’t get girls most of the time. Hence, most of my main characters (and favorite characters) are guys. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a favorite female main character.

Now on to the things that I can be proud of. Much nicer subject, that.


  • Snark and sarcasm. These abound in my novels, and witty banter is one of my biggest strengths. The downside? Not every scene requires a showdown of wits. (Whaaaaat?)
  • Characters. Creating colorful characters (say that five times fast GO) is one of my favorite things to do, bar none, and I’m good at it. I can think up five characters at the drop of a hat. Can I do this with plots? Eh…no, but I’ll have fifty good characters to insert into said (nonexistent) plot.
  • Unexpected twists. Granted, I can’t really take credit for this. Most of my characters decide to do unexpected things and don’t even bother to ask my opinion, but that’s what you get when you sign your life over to hooligans.
  • Humor. I guess this can fit in the ‘snark & sarcasm’ category, really – I have a huge sense of humor. It runs wide and deep in my family, and I can’t escape it. Even the most serious and gritty of my novels (Acesso, anyone?) have humor sprinkled liberally throughout. A story without humor is, in my opinion, no story at all.
  • Themes. I love themes. I love moral threads. I love parables and lessons I can take away from stories. Am I good at keeping them non-preachy? I could be better. Have I gotten better over the years? Oh yeah. (Pocky in Monster versus Castle in the Salvation series, for example.) But weaving themes and morals throughout my books is very important to me, and something I’ve become pretty good at doing over the years. I like to have something substantial even in my fluffiest novels.
  • Relationships. If creating characters is my favorite thing, tying characters together with various relationships is my second favorite. Character interaction, mannerisms, the way they react to one another – these are highly important to me, and I really enjoy exploring how characters relate to each other. They often surprise me, too. Bonus points!

What about you? What are your writing strengths/weaknesses? Do I have company, or do I stand in solitude?


  1. BUT I LOVE YOUR PATTERNS MIRRI. O_O And, believe me, you ARE unexpected. XD

    Also I am the same about writing guys better than girls and never being able to think of a favorite female character!! I thought I was alone. Now I feel in good company. :D (The BEST.)

    Yes and yes to all of your strengths. You’re amazing. I ESPECIALLY LOVE YOUR CHARACTERS (ALL OF THEM) AND HUMOR. YES. ALL THE SNARK.

    And you call those things WEAKNESSES? Pft. Your writing is perfect darling. .>



  2. I hate finding things to fill in those “in-between” spots. Probably one of my greatest writing weaknesses is giving up on a story because I don’t know how to fill in a particular hole.

    I thought I was only girl writer who prefers writing about guys. XD Maybe it’s because a lot of my favorite authors are men and because a lot of the stories I read have male protagonists, but I’ve always felt much more comfortable writing male characters.

    From reading some of your snippets, I can tell that you definitely have snark and sarcasm down. ;-)

    Agreed! Characters are way more fun to make up than plots are!


  3. You’re not as bad as you think you are. XD And your first drafts are near publish-worthy in my opinion. And I /love/ your girls. I mean, Eva versus Alice? Huge differences here and they really come alive. Eva’s an unusual one (well, as is Alice). You may not work in prissy little girls with batting eyelashes, but each of your girls is very individual in their own spunky way.
    And I just have to agree whole-heartedly with the snark and humor. XD One of the best parts of your books.
    All-in-all, you’re an awesome writer.


  4. It is such a wonderful thing you frequently tell me how fiendish I am. OTHERWISE, WELL. HOW WOULD I SURVIVE? *faceplants gloriously into reality* Dang those lazy 15K days, tho. Gee. I’m such a slob.

    OH. I THINK YOUR SARCASM AND HUMOUR AND WIT IS WONDERFUL. It is just glorious. I love funny books…and I have a few I like that aren’t funny, but let’s be real — humour is life. I have a lot of patterns too though. >_< I didn't even think of that until you listed it! I tend to do either silly parents or absolutely terrifying ones. So many bitter, hurt, and adorable bad boys. Everyone has fabulous hair. And my romances always start off with them being horrible to each other. (I can't help it. The witty banter opportunities are too tempting.)


    1. Let’s be real; where would you be without me? Probably floating high above the clouds in a wordcount hot air balloon, looking down on the wordcounts of lesser mortals :’) FABULOUS HAIR IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING, BY THE WAY. XD And I fall into the ‘they’re horrible to each other at first’ thing a lot…because it’s FUN. XD


  5. Pffffffffffffft. Your weaknesses are minor. Characters make most of the story, and you’ve got those down pat. Your plots are pretty stellar too.

    My weaknesses:
    > e v e r y t h i n g

    My strengths:
    > I have fun? xD


  6. Apparently I’m great at setting? I never noticed, but maybe that’s because it comes so naturally and easily. First weakness I can think of (or pet peeve) is using too many lame, flat words. Then, when, and, etc. I hate them. I want to crush them with Mjolnir whenever they appear in my writing.


  7. I love imagery and happen to get caught up in that, but, I cannot help it. I need it to BE SEEN! and FELT! and… well, sometimes, I have to curb that. I think my biggest issue is confidence right now. Being out of practice can do that, and so can life interferences. sigh… but, in general, if I feel it, I do well to get it out on paper, and I am a stickler for reading and rereading till I feel it is perfect. So… more than that, i am still learning about the authoress part of me. We are taking our time getting reacquainted again, as we had several (or more) Hiatus’ (AH! is that even correct?? Grrr…) over the years. I love your stuff… are you mostly done with Accesso??? I haven’t read that one!!!! Gawrsh, I love to be a beta-reader for you. It is always an amazing adventure. ALWAYS! and, you are right… it wouldn’t be the same without some sort of moral dilemma, and snark, and humor, and… all you said. But I can see how you feel that you have a stronger sense of writing male characters than female (though I have LOVED the ones you have written thus far…) You, my dear, as I say often, bless my days. There are not many authors to which I will consistently, without fail, turn to to find amusement, entertainment, terror, and blessing for my heart- all at once. You, do. Honest to goodness, you do.


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