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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Author Insight: Writerly Flaws

What’s your biggest writerly fault, and how do you cope with it?

"Procrastination! I’m a world-class procrastinator. Luckily, I have some pretty insane deadlines, so that helps me stay on track. I wrote my second book in just under 4 months. Without those deadlines, it could have taken all year." - Lauren Morrill, author of Meant to Be.

"Papering over plot holes with lavishly atmospheric description. But I can only do this for so long before I snarl at myself to get to grips with the story, why don’t you?" - Margo Lanagan, author of The Brides of Rollrock Island

"Rushing. I am terminally bored. Writing is such a slow process that, to entertain myself, I sometimes rush through things to get to the next bit of excitement. If I didn’t have an editor to help me slow down, my novels would be tiring, I think. Right now I’m working on doing that myself." - Dan Krokos, author of False Memory

"Self doubt. And I tell myself how much I suck to be doubting myself all the time. And then my biggest fault becomes self-loathing." - Martha Brockenbrough, author of Devine Intervention

"I have a love affair with the words: just, sort of, kind of. That's what editing is for! Remove. Remove. Remove." - Joy Peble, author of Anastasia Forever

"I am fault-free. :)" - Greg Leitich Smith, author of Chronal Engine

"Procrastination. Specifically, internet procrastination. LeechBlock, a timer, and getting myself to an internet-free coffee shop are my best weapons." - Kirsten Hubbard, author of Wanderlove.

"I tend to think anything I write is crap. I remind myself that most authors feel this way." - Cyn Balog, author of Touched

"Impatience and perfectionism. I am not good at waiting for a story to grow, letting things stew. I want to write the whole book RIGHT NOW! The perfectionism comes in later when I just read and reread a draft to death. Words start blurring into meaningless letters and still I force myself to read the thing ONE MORE TIME. I cope with the impatience by having this sort of motherly voice in my head that sits the creative part down and tells her to take a time out, that nothing good is happening for her right now and couldn’t she use a break? The perfectionism is cured by the miracle of deadlines." - Dayna Lorentz, author of No Safety in Numbers

"I overwrite, or tend to gild the lily at times. I try to be aware of that fault, especially during revision, and keep a premium on lean, direct sentences. And when I do reach for something bigger, I try to keep those moments infrequent and, hopefully, therefore more powerful. I also like quiet books, as a reader and a writer, and I sometimes fret that it makes me out of sync with readers who prefer plot-driven books. I cope with it by trying to write according to my own sensibilities, not those of some phantom reader." - James Preller, author of Before You Go

"Self-doubt is my biggest writerly fault. If I can’t trust myself then I try to trust that my characters know what they want and where they need to go." - Katie McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits

"I have a tendency to write quiet stories and not torture my characters enough. For Love and Leftovers I made a list of very bad things to put my main character through and stuck with it." - Sarah Tregay, author of Love and Leftovers

"One of our biggest faults is that we rely too much on conventions and clichés, particularly in the early stages of a book. It’s very hard to think outside of these conventions, especially with our filmic background (which relies heavily on tropes), but what we’ve learned to do is build on them in original ways, turn the clichés on their head, hopefully. On a more micro level, we often write lazily or hastily just to get something on the page (the vomit draft as we like to call it), and there again we end up leaning on clichés, so we have to go back in multiple times to freshen up the writing." - Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas, co-authors of From What I Remember

Find out Thursday what the rest of the authors believe are their writerly faults!
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