In Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande recommends writing a piece of dialogue between your creative self and your critical self. The objective of this exercise is to highlight strenghts, areas that could be improved, and general awareness of oneself as a writer. It's worth a shot, I guess.
Sometimes you get caught up with describing images to the detriment of action. This slows the pace and things become, well, boring.Egg:
What do you propose I do?Eureka:
Keep things moving. Focus on effective nouns and verbs. Keep images relevant to the action. Be brief with images that are not relevant. When you notice inactive periods, rewrite and rebalance. And don't forget that all-important first sentence.Egg:
What about my dialogue?Eureka:
It's not brilliant, but it's okay. It moves the story in your longer works, but you seem to avoid it in shorter pieces in favour of narrative.Egg:
You're right. I'm surprised at how differently I approach dialogue in short and long pieces. I think it's developing okay. So what about my characters?Eureka:
You need to focus more on what makes a character unique rather than fall back on everyday traits such as hair colour and build. Or else incorporate the description into the action. For example, 'he lumbered' to indicate size and awkwardness. You are able to characterize succinctly when you need to. This is useful for giving life to minor characters.Egg:
What do I struggle with?Eureka:
The quiet bits, like transitions. If you can't connect briefly, interestingly and meaningfully, just skip them with transitional words and phrases. Look for them when you edit your completed draft. Shifts of POV in your novel. Decide who's scene it is, and jump into their skin. Balance of POV's when ordering and structuring chapters.Egg:
Yeah. You're a lazy researcher but thorough when you get into it (like doing tax returns). Also, try not to be too tied to reality. Let your imagination go. Originality is the key.Egg:
What are some of my strengths?Eureka:
You've got the basics, so your writing usual flows well. You're picking up on rhythm (by reading aloud), vocabulary, and am learning concrete things from reading a lot. Short stories are getting better and easier. And of course, you're writing whenever you can, and you have a good attitude about learning, experimenting and not being discouraged by rejections.Egg:
Where do you think I'm at?Eureka:
Never stop reading instructional as well as fiction works, and collecting material. You've procrastinated about starting a proper journal. Do it. You have a lot of material. Polish them off and send them out, dude.Egg:
Thanks Eureka. This was fun. Maybe we could go it again some time soon.Eureka:
You're welcome, and I look forward to it.
Exercise 79: Look at the objective-self's comments and recommendations. Spend an hour focusing on those issues, whether they relate to technique or working habits.
Exercise 80. Complete the sentence: "I can be a succussful writer because...." Keep it private, post on your own blog, or post it here. Now complete this sentence: "I am a unique writer because...."