Line Up For Your Penmonkey Self-Evaluations

PREPARE TO GET PROBED.

Ha ha ha, no, no, silly, not like that.

I mean, “Prepare to get probed rectally.”

*checks notes*

Wait, I mean, “not rectally.”

Sorry! Sorry. Always get that one wrong.

So, from time to time it’s a good idea to shove your own penmonkey dreams under the lens of the microscope, see how things are going for you. As such, it’s time for a report card if you’re willing.

The questions — and you can answer as many or as few of these as you care to — are:

How’s it going, writing-wise?

How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?

Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?

Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?

(This is also a good time to ask for beta readers if you need ‘em.)

Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?

What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?

More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?

So: there you go.

A few self-eval questions to get you talking.

I’ll hang up and wait for your answer.

CARRIER LOST

79 comments

  • How’s it going writing-wise? I suck.

    Progress? No, because I suck.

    Working on? A novel about a mildly psychic delivery girl forcibly hired by a vampire to look for his missing wife. IN SPACE. I’ve been writing it for far too long.

    Problems/issues? I suck.

    Help? Unless anybody out there can come around and threaten me with liquorice or endless repeats of Born Slippy or something to force me to stop being a sucky procrastinator and just get on with it, no. But it’s very kind of you to ask.

    Bigger picture? Um. I have an idea for another (completely different) novel, but it’s still brewing at the moment. And I need to prove I can finish one first. And stop sucking.

    Strengths? Clearly not my vocabulary. I’ve been told I’m able to get a feeling down on paper. Personally, I like dialogue. That’s the stuff I find easy.

    Weaknesses? Descriptions. Pacing. Stakes/conflict. Sucking like a thirsty vampire, and not in a good way.

    I can tell these are good questions because they all made me feel very uncomfortable, except for the last one. So thanks for asking them. I should be writing.

    • This is all amazing stuff, honestly. You people have really dug into this question.

      And you’ve given me lots and lots of blog fodder WHICH WAS MY SINISTER PLAN ALL ALONG. I mean, not exactly, but still.

      ;)

      — c.

  • How’s it going writing wise?

    Fantastic. I only have 6 chapters to go before I do a front to end editing of my WIP. I’ve hunkered down and made it the only thing I’m working on. Thanks to beta readers, I already know of some issues I have to fix, most of them grammatical. There are a few POV issues, but I can fix those. Here is the link for those who want to check out what I have so far:

    http://bookcountry.com/Books/BookDetails.aspx?bookId=108393

    Now back to my typewriter! (Yes, I’m one of those people.)

  • Thanks for this, Chuck! It’s very interesting to read what others are writing and their strengths/weaknesses.

    – How’s it going, writing-wise?
    Most days it’s harder than yanking yarn out of a cat, but I keep at it.

    – How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?
    I’m currently writing my first novel (approximately 1/3 of the way in). It’s sci-fi with more emphasis on the “fi” than the “sci.” And it’s supposed to be funny.

    – Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?
    See the cat and yarn metaphor above. I have reached the mucky middle of the story and I’m having problems hacking my way through it. I know how the story is going to end, but getting there is torture right now.

    – Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?
    I don’t really need anything from y’all (I have a wonderful crit group), but I would like to offer my services to any of you. See, I recently quit my job. Just walked out. No plans, no safety net. Terrifying. BUT I am trying to get into freelance editing cause I’ve been told that I’m pretty good at it.
    So I am offering my editing services to anyone who is interested. And did I mention that those services are FREE! Yes, that’s right! At no cost to you, I will edit your short story or the first 20k words of your novel. Okay, that started to sound like spam. I swear I am not spam. I just want to get my foot in the door and and since I have very little experience (I did do some editing for a small e-publisher for about 6 months) I need to get my name out there somehow. So I am taking a cue from drug dealers and offering my first hit for free, but if you like my stuff and want more then you gotta pay. And, you know. tell your friends. /END SELF-PIMPAGE

    – What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?
    I’m good with dialogue, I got a unique voice, and I’ve been told that I’m good for a laugh or two.

    – More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?
    I edit as I go. Awful, horrible habit. I can’t just write it out and worry about fixing it later. This makes the process agonizingly slow. I’m also not the best at plotting, as my current WIP is making painfully clear.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise?
    Pretty well, thanks. Stuff has spilled itself onto the page. Looks ok actually. I don’t want to stab myself in the eye with despair, so that’s a plus.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?
    Have ditched any prior attempts to write (in fact, I think I’m a Ditcher rather than an Inkslinger. I seem to write for the impending Ditch, done enough of them) and am finally working on something decent. *Decent* Not world-changing, but something I’ll be proud of when I finish – I effing hope. Decided to go for the ‘write what you know’ angle, thank god, coz (frankly, and sorry to all those peeps out there who write it but…) really *really* was over thinking ‘fantasy is the only way to be orignal’. Fuck it, Tolkien is a hero (that man created his own LANGUAGE dammit), ergo my standards were astronomical in that field.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?
    Getting grit. Got the bones and some muscles and tendons, but the flesh, the *grrrrit*, how to get the grit without falling into any kinds of cliche – written and/or personified.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?
    Nah, just keep blogging man.

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?
    Bleak man. I write, but what the hell for? Not for money that’s for sure. So trying to figure out, when this project is finished, whether to keep inkslinging or try for a published something.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?
    I have yet to figure this out. As a writer, well, I’ve opted to refer to myself as an Inkslinger. Coz ,as yet, I don’t know if I can write. Idea! -I can keep secrets. I prefer people to not know that I write. Works for me. That’s a strength right?
    As a storyteller, well, I seem to be able to find the start, the middle and the end. So I think I’m on the right track. Manage to avoid the hole dug when trying to put too many great ideas into one story and then leave the reader going “Well this *was* a great idea, but I’m left with nothing. NOTHING. I want closure! Booking the therapist…”

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?
    I seem to have the knack but not the finesse. My idols are Kostova, Tolkien, RD Blackmore … yadda. People who write literature. I want to give people something in which they want to read most sentences in a paragraph rather than skimming for the gist. If I’m going to write, I need to give them something to read.

    The world of the Silent Inkslinger eh? Same shit, different day really.
    Cheers man.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise?

    -Was going well, hit a little stumbling block. Luckily, it was yesterday, the same you posted a 25 things to get your groove back. Great timing :)

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?
    -Writing novel (1/3 of the way through my projected first draft!)
    -Starting to write middle-grade series

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?
    -Just general writers block. Worked on that yesterday. Am now watching debates and drinking, so, not writing.

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?
    -Applied to part-time job I really want, got call-back this afternoon for interview :)

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?
    -Strengths: pacing, individual sentences
    -Weaknesses: individuating character voices, sometimes dialogue

  • It’s going splendidly just now, thanks very much. Apparently NaNo came early or something. I’m working on my fourth novel (if we’re only counting ones that might actually see light of day. We do not speak of Those We Do Not Speak Of, may they rest in the bottom drawer in peace). I consult the wise writings of Wendig when I need a good talking-to or a swift kick in the pants, and I consult the terribleminds community when I want to read lovely writings by other folks. The biggest problem is likely that I need to spend more time querying the finished novels instead of being entranced by the latest challenge or newest story. As a storyteller, I think my major strength is my qualification as a Second Under-Assistant Time Wizard – despite my more than full time day job, there is always time to write. I am hopeful that eventually the creed of “Write as much as you can, as fast as you can,” may someday benefit me. Perhaps.
    PS – I haven’t been able to get the image of a novel falling out of one’s “fool head like yams from an upturned can” (or close? It was something like that, you were speaking of Blackbirds) out of my mind, sir. Just FYI.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise?
    A shit-ton better! Last year I had a stab at Nano, and gave a piss poor effort though I had buckets of planning done. Since then, I’ve done a lot more writing – admittedly its all been reviews and flash fiction, so not completely the same thing – and so this year I’m all set to do a lot better. I’m not convinced I’ll get to the 50,000 in a month, but by the same token, I don’t intend to stop either. I’ve found two websites incredibly useful for upping my word count, 750words.com and superbetter.com Both are aimed at gamification which some people might find annoying, but it’s just another layer of motivation that I need sometimes.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?
    Mainly flash fiction, though I intend to start (and finish) a longer piece soon – the core of which will be my Nano attempt for this year. I haven’t decided what it will be just yet though, but I have two reasonably well planned, so I may run with one of them. After that push, I also intend to do shorter pieces again, but not just off other people’s prompts. While they’re good in that they have time limits in them and often can garner extra eyeballs of other people who attempted the prompts, I should also be thinking of my own ideas too.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?
    Finishing. Sometimes I get distracted by bright shiny new prompts and can’t be arsed dragging myself back to them. I have a way of dealing with it now, so I am slowly (a bit too slowly) whittling down the unfinished numbers.

    Anything I or the lovely community of Terribleminds can help with?
    Keep being awesome. I love the blog, and I buy all your books as fast as I can talk my wife into letting me have a turn with the credit card. Happily, you’re writing faster than I can convince her, so there’s always something waiting for me. The other writers here are great too, I should comment on other people’s stories a hell of a lot more often than I do, and for that I apologise for doing a shitty job.

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?
    Goddamn awesome. While I love writing, I also love my “real” job. I’m becoming a better, more dedicated writer, so that’s causing a feedback loop of pleasure in this awesome hobby. Give it a bit longer, and I reckon someone may even consider throwing money at me for it.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?
    I’ve done a whole heap of random stuff that’s made my life fairly different from the stock standard edition. By the same token, I’ve done a whole heap of random stuff that’s made me realise I’m not that different from everyone else, too. I’m pretty sure I know what my “voice” is. For a while there I was worried about finding it, then it hit me, I’m an idiot, I type the way I talk and am able to tweak it about just like I would if I’m sending a letter home to parents of a naughty kid to read them the riot act, or if I’m yarning to mates over a few beers.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?
    Bad habits picked up from years of teaching second, third and fourth grade students. Sometimes too florid because we’re always harping on in class about introducing adjectives and adverbs to their writing, so it’s rubbed off on me. The Australian tendency to shoot off at a tangent for far too long (not always a weakness… it got Scheherazade out of a tight spot). An unhealthy addiction to commas, parenthesis, hyphens and ellipsis (part of that rambling thing). Often my sentences could be shorter. Not having enough writing time – or making time to write when holy fuck I should be doing something else.

  • > And you’ve given me lots and lots of blog fodder WHICH WAS MY SINISTER PLAN ALL ALONG

    You think we didn’t know that? We knew that, Chuck. We totally knew that.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise?
    Honestly, I am struggling with the consistency piece. My goal is to write every day, but there are times I don’t. I try to focus on the times I do instead of carrying around the guilt of not writing. There are also some external issues that I’m not going to address here that tend to occupy my mind.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?
    I’m not working on anything specific, but I’ve got several unfinished pieces that I’m interested in picking back up again. I tend to practice on the flash challenges or do my own flash to test new things out.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?
    There isn’t anything wrong with any of the projects that are on my plate. The issue, I believe, lies in the fact that I’ve got too many ideas and I keep making excuses as to why I’m not putting in the time at the keyboard to pound out the words and complete them.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?
    Since I’ve been contributing pretty regularly, I’ve been getting some decent hits on my blog, but these are probably on a different scale than some other folks. There hasn’t been a day where I’ve had over 50 hits.

    I believe that I could use an honest critique of my work if anyone is up to tearing into the words I put out on the internet. Details combined with opinions would be lovely.

    As far as readers go, I could use alpha, beta, and any other Greeks that you want to throw into that mix. I’m always willing to connect via email, twitter or facebook to assist with ideas or act as a sounding board.

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?
    Aside from individual projects, the bigger picture is looking rather well. I’m gainfully employed and get to use my brain in my job. I’ve also got some time to listen to podcasted fiction while I’m there. This allows me to study some of the other tropes I’m interested in.

    I need to make more time to read during my offline hours out of work.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?
    When I write, I can see much of the picture I’m trying to create. I have a knack for finding the sounds, smells, tastes, or feel of a situation and relaying that information in such a way to incite a reaction in readers. Folks wonder why I’m not pushing through the barriers that I’ve apparently put up to get my work published.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?
    Doubt.

    Focus.

    Self-imposed isolation from the community.

  • I’m extremely inspired along with your writing skills as smartly as with the format in your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself? Either way stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s uncommon to peer a great weblog like this one today..

  • Being a rookie author, I have beaucoup de projet but alas none are finished. I have a novel that merges Sci-Fi/Fantasy together that I have a good portion done called Clear Shadow, I’ve started another based off a guy who’s entire memories turns out to be merely brainwashing, another about a soldier turned assassin by the grief of his dead wife. The one I have chose to be my debut novel, however, is a fantasy anthology named The Silver Pond of Injustices, which I shall self publish just to get my work out there quicker, and the fact as of now I don’t have all that much money for an agent.

    My strength and weaknesses, well my strengths is I can describe and bring a world to life very nicely. I can insert things such as symbolism in very nicely (for example Silver and Iron have distinct meaning in The Silver Pond Of Injustices, the short story which the book centers around). My weaknessses, well being as I tend to lean towards Sci-Fi and Fantasy, my characters often live in different worlds than ours. They talk differently than us. I struggle to create characters that could live here on Earth. It’s just their personalities. Making certain characters likeable can also be an issue (for some reason a lot of my characters end up looking like assholes).

    I just wish I had more time to write :l I have orphaned babies here waiting to be developed into adulthood. I tell myself I’d come back, and occasionally I do, I tell myself later I’ll have more time, and maybe I will.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise? I’m writing again, which I haven’t done in a while. So it’s going. Forward, even.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on? At the moment I’m editing/expanding a three-part…thing (novel-to-be, I guess we could call it), which is a lot of fun. It also aids me in bleeding new stuff on the page.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having? Writing descriptively.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with? See above. South African/Australian English help would also be appreciated since I’m a Swede writing the story in American English, apart from dialogue (getting confused yet?).

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking? I feel as if I’m going somewhere, somewhere good.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller? Dialogue.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses? Writing descriptively, language and grammar (mostly when it comes to writing in English), layout (of Swedish-language projects).

  • It’s going OK.

    I have three current WIP: one in draft (incomplete), one awaiting edits, and one awaiting final polish before proof/cover/publish/etc.

    In reverse order, the one awaiting polish is in good shape. I’m happy with it. The initial draft was very clean, I got good comments back from the beta readers, and I think it’s going to do well. I just need to move Bishop up from Act III to Act I.

    The one awaiting edits is in reasonable shape. It’s a little on the short side, and I think the editing process is actually going to add some stuff, because some necessary background material was left out of the initial draft. That is, after I finished it and did the initial red-line read, I found myself thinking, “Wow, I should really have said something about this back in Chapter 4.”

    The draft is stalled near the climax. I know exactly what happens next. I’m just finding it difficult to go write it. You see, I have to go be cruel to a character who has gotten into my monkeysphere, and it’s proving difficult to grab her by the scruff of her neck and torture her past the breaking point. It’s not that I think this is bad for the plot and don’t want to do it. Nope, I think it’s necessary. I’m just finding it hard to do it to a fictional character who has become a little too real.

    Weaknesses: Descriptive text. I can see the room we’re in, but I struggle with putting in enough description to paint it without diving in whole hog to paint it down the spacing of the woodgrain in the table leg.

    Strengths: Dialog. Apparently, it sounds “real”, which I think means it’s what people *think* real speech sounds like, because their memory filters out all the umms.

    Big picture: Uncertain. I feel confident that I’ve got the skill, the stories, and the drive to see a project through, but the sales on the already published book are disappointing, and I start to wonder if I’ll actually have the patience to see it through to the tenth or fifteen book necessary to actually build this into a career. :/

  • Are you actually reading all these?

    How’s it going, writing-wise? I’m hot and heavy into the red zone of finishing my current WIP.

    How goes progress on any current projects? See above Whatcha working on? It’s Speculative Fiction w/ a dash of horror and supernatural and urban fantasy (yeah, yeah, subgenre mashup supreme). It’s called SECOND THOUGHT

    Any problems with said projects? I killed 30k of info dump and useless bullshit. Issues you’re having? I came back with 15k stronger; but need to write 15k more. I can’t decide on ending.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with? Tips for writing faster. Seems like it takes me 2 hours or so to get about 1.5 k of words. Too slow!

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking? Some days I’m very hopeful. Unfortunately, this is not one of them.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller? Dialogue. I can kill me some muthafrakkin dialogue and keep the story moving and reveal character along the way. I credit my many years as a journalist for that.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses? I’m working hard on avoiding all summary, abstraction and generalization and making my description truly paint a good picture in the reader’s head.

  • The writing is going ever so slowly, but it’s going. I’m working on my first attempt at a novel, and just crossed 30,000 with about half the plot left to unfold, which is good, because I obsessively fear it will turn out too short.

    Downside: I’ve already been working on it steadily for a year.

    Upside: After this, short stories will be a snap.

  • Writing is going pretty well. I write screenplays/plays. I have no shortage of ideas. My strengths: I’m pretty good going into the depths of my psyche and coming up with something original (and by original I mean what I dig up from that weird place deep inside of me). I’m also pretty good at getting to the emotional heart of the story and good at descriptions. Now that I’ve built myself up, I’m ready with the sledgehammer. I’m terrible at finishing projects. The worst. I have a hard time sticking to one project (see above: I have too many ideas). I have finished short screenplays, no problem. It’s the longer projects. I’m working on 2 screenplays, a web series and a three act play right now. Fortunately (not really), I’m unemployed. I’m trying to focus my attention on one of the screenplays. Anyone else have trouble focusing on one project until it’s done? I put the words of Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation) on my fridge and next to my computer: “Don’t half as two things. Whole ass one thing.” I’m trying. I’m really trying.

  • [How’s it going, writing-wise?]
    Been in a lull for the past month or so, just returned to college and need to restart my writing momentum. Somehow writing again feels… different, like I need to find my spark again.

    [How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?]
    Still working on my first novel, wrote approximately 65k-70k words (I sometimes switch over to writing in Moleskine notebooks, and I haven’t typed up everything yet). Temporary title Sweets&Steel, about a young woman that balances a double life between being a mech pilot for a secret military company and helping out her friend’s problems.

    [Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?]
    It’s hard to get back into a writing mood, and it’s hard to balance the different ‘types’ of story and the characters.

    [Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with? (This is also a good time to ask for beta readers if you need ‘em.)]
    I always appreciate readers and advice, but considering how it’s still an unfinished and unedited mess it doesn’t feel right to ask people to look at it yet.

    [Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?]
    I’m still going through college and I have no idea if I want a job as a writer or not. This novel is sort of a test of myself.

    [What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?]
    Some friends say I created a decent cast of characters and interpersonal dynamics – though a friend also said that one of them is useless to the story and would be better off dead/cut out.

    [More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?]
    The things my characters do aren’t always believable and I have trouble making them feel real – likely because I have a hard time understanding people in real life too. I love my characters, but it’ll take a lot more work to make them characters that others will love too. The dialogue isn’t easily distinguishable between characters either. I’m also a huge anime fan, and despite trying hard to prevent it the bad tropes from the fandom occasionally slip in unnoticed until someone else points it out to me.

    I have no idea if you read all of these comments, but the whole point is to get us thinking about ourselves right?

  • It’s very interesting to read such a wide variety of responses. Enough to make me come out of my usual comment-lurking shell and give my own answers.

    — How’s it going, writing-wise?

    It’s going well, but not well enough. But isn’t that always the way? (I’ve an idea for a novel but I haven’t got time to write it yet! I’ve finished the novel but it’s crap and I need to edit it! I’ve edited my novel but I’ve not sold it yet! I’ve sold it but not for much! I’m an award-winning author but I’ve got this idea for a novel and I haven’t time to write it yet! (at least that’s how I imagine those last steps go).

    Seriously, it’s going better than ever. I have a novel out on submission to literary agents. It’s not the first time I’ve finished a novel, but it’s the first that has had a couple of agents say “I love the first three chapters, send me the rest!” So I’m waiting to hear if they like the rest. Even if they don’t, I’m heading in the right direction.

    — How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?

    I’m making my word count on a new project and fully expect to finish the first draft by Christmas. I’m aiming to have a readable draft by March. I’m also making notes for a novel to follow that one. And should the manuscript on submission find a publisher, one interested in a sequel or two, I have some very strong ideas on such a trilogy.

    One recent double-edged sword has been my job loss. I now don’t have a steady income, however I have some freelance work related to my non-writing skills and have a small piece of writing paid work. I’m writing the story for an upcoming adventure game app for a small company. It’s all affording me a little time, before I get a proper grown-up job again, to write and enjoy myself.

    — Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?

    This app is a pushing my plotting skills to the Nth degree. The novel is coming along nicely, though I am coming to the dreaded middle where I may review my work so far and think: ‘Two words, shit sandwich.’

    I’m excited to write the sequel to my currently submitted novel. But, as much as it can be read without reading the first, I doubt I will write it unless the first finds a publisher. And that will be a shame.

    — Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?

    I’m beyond beta readers for the novel out on submission and a good few months from needing them for the current novel. I could do with a paid job though. I have rent to pay, food to eat, single malt scotch to drink. Anyone need a genuine photoshop guru?

    — Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?

    The steps are small, but they’re in the right direction. How big is this latest step? I’ll let you know when I hear back from those agents who liked the initial chapters.

    — What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?

    I wish I knew for sure. I always like my endings. I’ve not written an ending yet that I personally found dissatisfying. Once I come up with the right one, I tend to grin like the Cheshire Cat escaping a spaying.

    Beta readers tell me they enjoy the humour. When I was younger someone who read all my drafts asked me why I put funny stuff in the first draft but took it out by the time I got to the second or third. The answer was the funny stuff was there to amuse myself as I wrote. Upon rewriting I was used to the joke so I’d take it out. Now I don’t take out the funny stuff. I just forget its funny. And then a reader tells me they laughed during chapter X or Y and I’m pleasantly surprised.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?

    Not describing what I need to or describing what I don’t need to. My first draft chapters either read like foul-mouthed radio plays without any description, or have paragraphs telling the reader just how many benches and tables are in the prison dining room and what they smell like. I tend to rush when I get close to the end, which throws the pacing off. I always seem to like the characters the readers don’t like, and they like the characters I don’t (I’m not sure how big a problem that is – it depends on the novel). When coming up with an idea for a story I usually invent the concept, followed by the rough plot, followed by the characters. I have to work very hard to make sure that in the final product the characters lead the way, that they shape the plot, with the concept taking third place. If that. Otherwise it’s not a story.

    P.S. – A half-related problem I have is that when I do write comments, I write comments like this and realise I could have instead made a half-decent blog post out of it. Maybe I will. Not now though. This scotch won’t drink itself.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise?

    Really well, so far. I decided to do a “pre-NaNoWriMo” exercise, so I’m churning out 1,000 words a day for October. I had all these ideas, basic outlines, white boards full of concepts, and I ended up going with a sudden inspiration which had no meat on its bones.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?

    Progress is good so far! The project is a kind of a fantasy thing, and though I don’t know where it’s going at this point, I’m still very intrigued by it. Also a bit daunted by the challenges of not being derivative of one of the billions of fantasy/magic stories out there. I’m assiduously staying away from unicorns and dragons, and trying to come up with a different take on things. Trying being the operative word.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?

    My main issue is research! I wrote the first chapter in a kind of a zen state, and then I was faced with, who the hell IS this chick? Where’s she from? What’s her community like? Where’s the story going? What did she do to get her in such deep excrement? Etc., ad infinitum. So now I’m juggling the actual writing (which is a huge glop of tasty goo right now, but I know there are good nuggets in there) with copious researching and lists of possibilities and admonishments to not be derivative and lots of pretty, inspirational pics.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?

    Just keep on keeping on! This is an inspirational and hilarious community and I’m so happy I found it! I will need beta readers eventually, but right now I’m WAY too shy! This is the first “real” thing I’ve written in, well, years, and I’m skurred ;)

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?

    I don’t have a bigger picture at present. Life right now is work, read some Chuckity “How To’s” (THANK YOU FOR THOSE, btw), research various stuff, make notes, play around with the Scrivener name generator, and then typie typie typie.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?

    Honestly not sure yet. I can’t be anywhere close to objective at this point, but it’s a good sign that when I re-read, I don’t cringe in embarrassment and delete everything. That IS progress!

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?

    Indecision. Sometimes-paralyzing fear of not being original. Writing myself into corners. Being easily distracted. Smoking :(

  • How’s it going, writing-wise? I’m doing well, having finally gotten a structure for my writing which is having me write almost daily.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on? I’m working on my first novel, which is quite exciting. I’m about 36K into the third draft with less than half of the story told.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having? This novel started as a short story, which got expanded into a novella, which then turned into the novel. So I have some already-written material and it’s a challenge to incorporate it into what I’m writing now. I have to alter what I’ve already written, as the new material has changed things.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with? I just found you, and it’s already been helpful.

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking? Good. I have had three novellas published already. I didn’t know how lucky I was until I started reading the responses here, as far as being published goes. I love writing and I would still do it even if nothing ever got published.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller? Dialogue, characterization, psychological insight. Being able to paint a scene so that it’s vivid for the reader.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses? Plot. Not knowing what I’m doing as a writer: I’ve never taken a writing course and I know that there is a huge world of what I don’t know that I don’t know about writing well. I’m grateful to the writers and beta readers who have been willing to read my work and give me much-needed feedback.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise?

    Well, let’s see. I am young, have never written a novel before and people would probably tell me that I need more life experience to write something meaningful. But I honestly don’t care. I have always wanted to write, people have told me I have talent and, as a result, writing is what I have chosen to do. Everyone has to start somewhere, so I have. I am three chapters into my first novel, it’s going all right, have written 3k words in the past two days.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?

    Working on my first novel, currently dubbed: Spirit Caller. To be honest, the progress could be better. I have a few days off, then decide I need to kick into gear and get something written. Think it will be easier next year once I have some extra time on my hands.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?

    Main problems are motivation to keep writing and to write fluently. The latter is not much of a problem, as I am only writing a first draft (plenty of revision shall be done).

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?

    Keep up the good work, I guess. The community here is wonderful, so thank you all. Also, Chuck, you’re a genius and I always enjoy reading your posts.

    (This is also a good time to ask for beta readers if you need ‘em.) — Not at the moment :)

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?

    Bigger picture? I am young, have plenty of time ahead of me, so I haven’t really thought much on it. I am also new to the whole ‘writing’ thing, so I guess the big picture is directly tied to the little picture: finishing my first novel.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?

    I hate commenting on personal strengths, however, I’d say my ability to write in character. When writing I get carried away and the characters end up writing the story for me. Their dialogue and actions not even thought out, I merely act as the channeling instrument to let them speak and do (Characters end up surprising me and doing things I hadn’t planned).

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?

    Directly related to the previous answer: I cannot plan. I hate it with a passion. So instead of planning, I write and if an idea pops into my head for a plot point for later in the novel, I just write it in note form on a document. This, however, has resulted in uncertainty as to where this story is going and how things are going to tie together without feeling clunky.

  • How’s it going, writing-wise?

    Not bad. I’ve written two books in the last three years. Compared to where I was skill wise a few years ago, my writing has improved with one great bound.

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on?

    I’m prepping a book proposal for my latest MG novel, Bee. Also, I’m going through the painful editing process but pressure makes diamonds and some pretty good tasting fried chicken. Also, I’m wading through the creek of rejection slips as I submit short stories and articles to publications.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having?
    Time. My wife broke her ankle and I work a 45 hour week. She needs help with commonplace tasks so that tends to chew at my writing time. I know, excuses and in laws. I’ve had to work in spurts which vary in productivity.

    I’m changing my mindset to where writing is my job, but the other job is this block of time I sacrifice for indoor living and healthcare. A lot of great writers still have to work a part time, non-academic job. I’d love to have another year where I can write 3-5 hours a day and just work part time. I’m considering doing a writer’s workshop to hone my skills.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with?

    Wouldn’t mind an MG beta reader. Also, any advice on agent shopping and networking would be helpful.

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking?
    I know I’ve got a few years before I can go pro, but I’m impressed how far I’ve come. I’m actually sending out work and getting genuine rejection letters or as I call them “resilience enforcers.” I’ve climbed onto the high diving road and dared to jump. Anyone who knew me ten years ago would be surprised at what I’m doing now. At an age where most will sacrifice their dream for normalcy and ranch style life, I’m taking risks.

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller?
    Readers love my dialogue and one line zingers. They also like my protagonists and cheer them on. I come up with novel plots and create memorable characters.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses?
    I’ve learned that I tend to overuse some POV words (looked, saw). It’s obvious I’ve established a POV and I need to trust the audience to notice that. Also, I tend to underwrite first drafts where others overwrite. I need to add more setting and descriptive details that make the manuscript lush and vibrant.

    It’s my native impatience that causes me to barrel through scenes without giving the reader scenery to chew on. Writing is like making a tapestry, not a throw rug.

  • I freaking LOVE questionairre’s! And what better excuse to fill one out then to shine a light on why the hell I’m not writing.

    How’s it going, writing-wise? Piss poor, thanks for asking though :)

    How goes progress on any current projects? Whatcha working on? Projects…this is a foreign word in my vocabulary. I’ve got nilch, nothing, nada, a big ol’ freakin goose egg. I’ve got zip for paid gigs (which I’m accustomed to writing for a couple local magazines in my town about things happening and stuff going on in my community for a couple sheckles here and there) and for writing for myself, for pleasure, well let’s just say it’s been a couple hundred fort nights since I’ve tried writing something for funsies.

    Any problems with said projects? Issues you’re having? I’m super awesome at starting stuff, but the follow through, not so much. Life happens, things get thrown in my way and I tend to let my creative outlet suffer and be forgotten.

    Anything I or the lovely community of terribleminds can help with? How do you get motivated and make writing your more of a priority in your life? I work full time (clearly not writing), 9-5 gig in the corporate world and I find it hard to sit down and write. What do you guys do to get them wordsmith juices flowing?

    (This is also a good time to ask for beta readers if you need ‘em.)

    Beyond individual projects, how’s the bigger picture looking? It’s looking like I’m going to be stuck in the corporate world for a while, but I’d rather be writing…and you know making money to sustain my drinking, roller derby and mountain biking habits. I want to make the leap some day but you know a mortgage ain’t cheap and a bitch gotta get paid. Go back to school? Maybe, but do I have to to be a writer?

    What are your strengths as a writer and storyteller? I can be pretty fucking funny. My ma tells me that all the time. But seriously, though I’m funny and I like to take dark and shitty situations and make them funny, it makes it easier for me to tell a story and easier for people to read it too.

    More importantly: what and where are your weaknesses? I suck at follow through and completion. I always fear of people not liking my shit. I’m over critical in my work and feel as though it’s never perfect for the world to see. I over-analyze and most times I just toss the story and move on. Oh and editing? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    PS. I just stumbled across your blog today and you my friend are a funny fellow. I actually laughed out loud reading your 25 WAYS TO GET YOUR CREATIVE GROOVE BACK AS A WRITER. This was a fun self evaluation! Lets do it again real soon k?

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