YA Highway is such a great blog that I decided to make their Road Trip Wednesday prompts a regular part of my own blog. Today they ask, What are your writing & publishing superpowers and what is your kryptonite?
I think I do a pretty decent job with many aspects of the writing process–characterization, plotting, making sure there is a period or question mark at the end of every sentence. But I have to say, I am pretty super-dooper about spotting a scene that’s in trouble and creating a solution.
I think it’s because I spent 14 years as a software engineer. I had to do a lot of problem-solving when sitting down to write or modify a piece of computer code. It’s a very structured activity as you might guess, and the end result isn’t nearly as entertaining to read as a young adult novel. But programming a computer was better training for writing a book than you might think.
As a consequence, when I’m making my way through a scene, or I’m doing a read-through of a draft, my superpower comes to the fore. First, I zero in on a scene that isn’t working. It might be dull, it could be awkwardly written. The dialogue might be clunky or expository, it might just be extraneous text. It might just be in the wrong point-of-view (in a multiple POV book). It might be that a section written in summary should be re-written in scene.
Next, my inner computer takes in that wrongly written section, evaluates it and ka-ching! an idea for a solution pops out (I’m starting to sound like one of the GENs in Tankborn). I usually get pretty excited at this point and the words pour out. I get a big grin on my face when I realize how well the new code…um, prose…is working. I feel super-powerful.
And what’s my kryptonite? Distractions. With the Internet, there are so many things to distract me from working that sometimes my discipline is in the toilet. Believe it or not, it’s worst on a day I have nothing else but writing planned (no appointments, no trip to the barn to ride my horse). Knowing I have the whole day to work, I futz around, figuring, Oh, I don’t have to start yet. I have plenty of time. I sometimes get even less done on days like that when I don’t have a deadline.
So there it is–a mighty superpower and a mighty weakness. Time to put that nasty kryptonite away and get started with my day. I can already feel myself getting stronger.