Uncategorized, Writers on Writing

My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions

REVENGE OF THE PENMONKEY: Wallpaper #2 (Photo credit: curious_spider)

Today I am participating in the TerribleMinds PenMonkey Evaluation. Here are the answers to my writing survey questions:

  1. What’s your greatest strength/skill in terms of writing/storytelling? –> Dialog. The voices make me do it.
  2. What’s your greatest weakness in writing/storytelling? What gives you the most trouble? –> Description. I touched on that just a couple of days ago here
  3. How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them? –> Well, that’s a bit personal, isn’t it? Okay. Well. Finished? Can I count my one completed first draft that I’m still revising? I have several other first drafts that I’m still plugging away on, but that’s it as far as actually “finishing” a book. Unless you count my book of amateurish poems I slapped up on Kindle a while back. As far as other projects go, my blogs are doing awesome. Besides this one winning an actual award (as opposed to a Liebster or something like that,) I have been steadily gathering new readers each week.
  4. Best writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. really helped you) –> Just write. Just vomit out the words, and don’t worry about whether or not they are any good. You can make them good in revisions.
  5. Worst writing advice you’ve ever been given? (i.e. didn’t help at all, may have hurt) –> “Well, do you really like writing, or do you just like the idea of writing?” Because what you need when you’re struggling with writer’s block is for someone to suggest that you consider quitting altogether. That’s exactly what you need, right?
  6. One piece of advice you’d give other writers? –> Don’t ever let anyone look at your manuscript until the first draft is complete. You need to just get the story down on the page, and then worry about getting feedback. Otherwise, you can totally cripple yourself worrying about fixing all those errors your critiquer caught. You shouldn’t even be thinking about fixing anything until you have that first draft out of your head; beginning, middle, and end. Sure, the first draft will have holes in it. But I contend that no critique partner can give you satisfactory feedback on what your story needs without knowing where your story is going. The only way they can see the end of your story is if you’ve written it.

Now it’s your turn. Answer the questions above either on your blog or in the comments below.

~Amanda L. Webster

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3 thoughts on “My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions”

  1. 1. My greatest strength/skill is outlining. I’m a very non-linear outliner, so it is nice to have a way to jump around without sacrificing the story I am writing.
    2. My greatest weakness is perfectionism. I started keeping a blog to combat this fear of not being perfect that I have.
    3. If by “project” you mean writing projects only, I’ve completed tons since I have been brave enough to call myself a writer, but not one of them is a book. However, I also crochet, and I complete projects all the time in that craft. Everything from sweaters to giant afghans on commission. You name it, I’ve done it. I don’t have as many unfinished crochet projects as I have finished ones. I wish I could say that about my writing.
    4. The best piece of writing advice I have ever been given is to not let someone tell me I’m doing it “wrong.” “Stephen King does it ‘wrong’ because he doesn’t outline,” my mentor told me, “and look at all that he has done. You like to outline, so that is the ‘right’ way for you to write. Keep doing it.”
    5. The worst piece of writing advice I have ever been given: “Just write.” What does that mean, exactly? Write everything I’m thinking? I’d never be able to sort the story piece out of that kind of mess. I agree that the words don’t have to be perfect and I agree that writing something is better than writing nothing, but I’m not just going to sit down and write.
    6. The one piece of writing advice I’d give to other writers: “Try everything and keep what works for you.” The techniques of writing are tools, not rules. If something doesn’t work for you or just feels wrong, don’t do it, but don’t be afraid to try it first just because someone told you it is “not the way.” You never know what is going to be right for you and the story you are writing until you put the techniques to the test.

    1. Hey, I crochet too! I get a lot of ideas while I’m crocheting, and it’s relaxing too.

      It’s funny how the best writing advice I ever got was the worst writing advice you ever got. It just proves that your point on “trying everything and keeping what’s right for you” is right on target. Thanks for sharing!

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