Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Your Kryptowrite? 
We all want to be SUPER writers.

Or we want to read SUPER books, right?

But no book is perfect, though there are a few I’d place pretty close to out-of-this-world.
We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people - so we all struggle with some sort of weaknesses....even writers :-)

A recurrent area in which we much strive to improve.

So what's your weakness or Kryptowrite, so to speak - and how have you fought against it to make your writing stronger?

There are more than this, of course, but I’ve picked the most common 10.

1.       Telling? – Telling is necessary sometimes, but if most of your writing is ‘told’ then it’s harder for the reader to get that close connection with your characters. An example:

T: The darkness in the room made her afraid.

S: Fingertips of fear tripped down her spine sending a shudder over her skin.

2.       Grammar? – I’m bad with this one. L However with spellcheck and the right crit partners, it can really help tighten your writing. Your vs you’re? women’s vs. womens’? it’s vs its’ J The list is endless.

3.       The POV shuffle? – Head swapping is painful J But in fiction it can lead to confusion or a disconnect from the story. Most novels keep to one POV and have clear cuts (usually breaks in the paragraphs/or asterisks) if there is a POV change. Of course there are some literary words that challenge this, but those are the exception, not the rule.

4.       Character Dimensions? This does not mean Tattoine vs Middle Earth. How well do you know your characters? How 3-dimensional are they on the page? Sometimes I’ll have a really clear understanding of my heroine but have a foggier perspective for my hero (or visa versa). The best way to woo with words is to write from a clear knowledge of who your characters are – which will then transfer over into believability.

5.       Dumping (info dumps, backstory dumps) this one used to be one of my worst kryptowrites. I thought everyone needed to know all the backstory in the first chapter. NOT! Now I’ve learned how to weave it throughout the story in a more organic way (mostly…I still have dumping-tendencies) J

6.       Inconceivable? How believable is your story? Do you have a tendency to write stories that step over the line of believable? This does not mean real-life. This means, ‘could it happen’. Readers don’t have to believe in elves and dwarves to enjoy reading Lord of the Rings, but they do have to believe in the journey. Are your characters acting in ways that are conceivable? Is your storyworld realistic (for whatever genre)?

7.       Flabby Middle  - Ugh. The dreaded saggy middle! (this hits way too close to my beltline J) Keeping a ‘tight’ story helps battle the flabby middle, when the storyline has the tendency to sag. This is where secondary storylines come in handy, as well as secondary characters.

8.       Overwriting – DEFINITELY my kryptowrite!!!! I’m trying to keep my blog posts under 800 words for this reason. It’s not only in my writing – it’s a personality trait. TOO MUCH! Instead of just simply stating something, I’ll give it legs, arms, eyes, hair, and a vacation home! J

So, for example (taking from the above example)

Icy fingertips tripped a chill down her spine sending a nervous shudder across her skin until her breaths lodged to a solid lump in her throat.

Yes, sometimes less IS more! I write WAY too many sentences like this! Argh. nervous and shudder are redundant. So are ‘solid lump’. And as an aside, making the sentences shorter in an intense scene increases the intensity, usually.

Another example would be overwriting emotions. TOO much! (unless it fits the character)

9.       Black and White Writing? Yeah, writing is usually in black and white when it’s on a screen, but you don’t want your message to stay bland. How do you use your words? Do you color them up? Are your descriptives fresh? Do you stick with cliché’s and similar vocabulary, or do you freshen up the characters and pages with new ones. Variety is certainly a spice of life J

10.   Conflict – building?  If there is no conflict, there probably isn’t much of a story. The greater, more invested, the conflict, usually the better the pace of the story. Some people are naturally good at doing this. They seem to innately understand the concept of storytelling so the conflict is set, a gradual build happens, and then the ‘explosion’. Peppering your story with meaningful conflict is a great way to keep the reader, not only participating, but falling in love with your story.

So…. What is your kryptowrite? How do you fight against the weaknesses? Share your battle strategies so those of us who suffer from such weaknesses can glean from your SUPER knowledge J


Unknown said...

Super good thoughts, Pepper! (See what I did there? "Super?" Hehehe...) Also, you are hilarious. I loved this: "Instead of just simply stating something, I’ll give it legs, arms, eyes, hair, and a vacation home!"

I love writing banter and witty's my favorite thing ever. However, I can get a little kryptonitey with it sometimes when I forget to have something actually HAPPEN in the scene where characters are talking. That's something I have to look out for--making sure every scene actually contributes to and builds the plot. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I do that too, Melissa! And Pep, my kriptowrite is most definitly overwriting. I'm BIG into details, so with my descriptions I often tend to go bananas and overshare, overdirect, overvisualize. It's a fun weakness though. Except when it comes time to hack off those extras. Ouch!

Amazing post!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

I'm an overwriter also. :) I'm working on it though. I got dinged on this in early contests.

The other thing that I'm challenged with is to make sure I have enough tension in a scene. I'm working on this though.

Love this post, Pepper!

Susan Anne Mason said...

My Kryptonite is episodic writing. Not having the events build in a structured way to the climax. Which means timing and pacing are hard for me.

I'm not sure how you overcome this except by trial and error -- lots of error!


Pepper said...

Wow - what happened with the formatting? It's not showing up like this on my ipad! Weird.

MELISSA!!! See, I'm over the moon for your debut because I LOVE dialogue! LOVE IT!!! Banter? Bring. it. ON!
But you're so right - useful banter ;-) I have a tendency to just like hearing my characters talk...

Pepper said...

Your overwriting is even beautifully done, though. That's the difference. I woudln't call yours Kryptowrite as much as a General Zod attack.
Impressive, but not deadly to your writing :-)

Mine has a tendency to be confusing...or laughable. LOL

Pepper said...

I think it's hard to keep up the tension all the way through a novel, don't you?
And sometimes, do you ever feel MEAN to your poor characters?

Pepper said...


Trial and error is one of the best ways to learn. For me, it's been a great teacher.

Also- reading other people's writing and noting what they do well...and even their krypotwrites, helps me evaluate my own writing. said...

All of the above...oh, horrors!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh goodness...I should say all of them, but I feel like my main problems are 4, 5, and 9. I don't write great characterization and relationships. I tend to dump info ALOt! And my writing is very black and white. Basic. Not pretty and flowery at all. I have a lot to work on!!!!

LOVE this, Pep!