RTW – Writing Superpowers & Kryptonite

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. 🙂


About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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10 Responses to RTW – Writing Superpowers & Kryptonite

  1. kate scott says:

    Being able to spot (and then actually solve) problems is a great superpower to have. I’m a bit jealous actually. I can usually spot them, but knowing how to solve them is always a lot harder for me.

  2. karensandler says:

    Well, unlike Superman, I wasn’t born with this superpower. 🙂 It’s taken a lot of years working as a writer to develop it.

  3. Sarah says:

    Oh my gosh, I didn’t even think about distractions. Great. More kryptonite for me. 😉

  4. Donelle Lacy says:

    Distractions are such a load of kryptonite to me. I wish I’d included it in my list. Mine do include Deadlines, Book titles, and synopsis.

    • karensandler says:

      I love deadlines. Because deadlines keep me working. I can figure out how much I have to write each day/week to be finished by a deadline. Open-ended goals are my kryptonite.

  5. Miss Cole says:

    Your cat header is ADORABLE!
    Distractions are the worst. I turn the internet off when I find myself getting nothing done.

    • karensandler says:

      The cat in my header is Zak, my former feral, at about 6 months old. We got him as a tiny kitten and he’s become the most wonderful cat. Quirky and quite huge, but wonderful.

  6. Totally with you on the internet thing (hence why I’m reading RTW instead of writing). And I wish for your critique skills. I always have to copyedit first and then go back and see what’s wrong structurally. Then I feel redundant, which of course I am.

  7. Sara McClung says:

    Oh wow–spotting/solving creative problems in such a logical manner? I would LOVE to have that superpower!!

    • karensandler says:

      Well, I would love to have the discipline superpower. I envy those people who can sit themselves down and work for hours, who write 5K or 10K words a day…makes me tired just thinking about it.

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