What's your writing weakness?

Some writers are better at creating believable characters; some have witty dialogue; some set the scene so well you can almost sense the sights and sounds radiating from the pages. Some writers are fabulous, full stop, and some are so truly awful that you wonder how they managed to get published in the first place.

For me, I admire writers who can knock out loquacious description. In fact, there are times when I have to remind myself to include a little detail because description doesn't come as naturally to me as narrative voice or dialogue - I tend to shy away from it.

Personally, I blame Tolkien. Don't get me wrong, I bow down to his writing, but is it just me who always finds themselves skimming his ten page descriptions in Lord of the Rings? In fact, when I see a book described as "epic", I just know that it's going to have lengthy descriptions. My reading habit of skimming lengthy descriptions has created a writing habit where I forget to include description. You could say description is my writing weakness.

For my fellow writers out there, what's *your* writing weakness? And for those of you who are just readers, is description actually *that* important to you?


  1. Hmmm...

    I think my problem is that I fall in love with dialogue and just want to focus on that.

    I'm also a little self-indulgent.

    But other than that my writing is perfect and everyone should be reading it. :)

  2. I think my biggest weakness is my vocabulary since I'm Swedish but insist on studying in England and only writing in English. Another thing I suck at is editing, which is a massive part of writing. I just can't make myself do it most of the time.

  3. For me - and this is probably why I feel I'm better at short stories than longer fiction - it is that I don't feel like I make my action interesting enough. I can't always think of good ways to move the story on and that frustrates me. One day I NEED to start that writing course.

    And from a reading point of view, I'm with you on the description thing. So it's beautiful, it describes it vividly . . . but do i REALLY need to know every detail? Er - no!

  4. Oh, I love me some Aragorn, but I skipped over the numerous musical bits in the LOTR series. I would read them, but barely pay any attention to them. They just became too much.

    And I'm a huge LOTR fan. Oh, the shame!!!

    Oh, but what is my greatest weakness, so far? I think from all the writing I've done, I would say its the way I jump from scene to scene. I already know what happened and how the transitions occurred, so I tend to leave out necessary description.

    Oh, and when I start thinking that everyone else's descriptive writing is better, I just freeze. I think everyone will always appear to write better than me, but I just gotta drill it into my mind that I am my own worst critic. There's something of value about my writing and all writers have to show themselves love, every now and then.

  5. oh god I STINK at description. like, smelly socks layered with rotting fish stinky. I can have pages that are just dialogue with a bit of walking, or sitting, or whatever, and my readers are always like, "grace wtf? where are we? there was a window there? wha?"

    so sometimes when the writing isn't coming easily and I'm reading over my WIP I'm like, "oh right. description." and add stuff in.

  6. @ Peter -

    But other than that my writing is perfect and everyone should be reading it. :)

    Ditto! For the self-indulgency as well! Tee hee! :p

    @ Mr. S - Trust me, your English is a LOT better than some inhabitants of the UK ... :0)

    @ Paula - I'm glad to know it's not just me not needing to read every last detail!

    And yes, one day you WILL start your course! Don't make me come up to Glasgow to make you!!! :p

    @ Liza - I skip the music stuff too in LotR. *looks sheepish* Sorry Tolkien. :s

    I am my own worst critic

    You are! But, we all are. :0) In some ways it helps to make sure you push yourself to get something worthwhile writing-wise, but it's also finding the line where you have to stop berating your work and accept it in all its awesomeness. I'll let you know if I ever discover that line! ;p

    @ Grace - I tend to add description when I read-over/edit as well. It is sometimes difficult though to decode what *you* know in your head about your book and what you've told/forgot to tell your readers! :0)

  7. Great post.

    I have no plots! And, some people will say you don't need much plot, but after writing my first novel, I think that's a total lie. Things have to happen.

    I'm also not good with description. I don't like a bunch of description, but some is necessary.

  8. Ooh - personally I'm glad to see description isn't that prized! :D

    Good luck with your writing, Ashley!

  9. That's a hard habit to un-learn. I grew up reading Tolkien and loving it. I came to think that very long descriptions were a requirement of good writing. I still indulge in them from time to time, but it took a while to realize that an author I love so greatly may not be the best writer among them. Good, and his descriptions are among the best if you have the patience, but...

  10. I think part of my problem with Tolkien is I was about six or seven when I first attempted him and it was too much for me. I recall starting him, then putting him away - a rarity for me - but when I read him at twelve(ish), I suspect some of the childish hang-ups must have remained with me in regards to his lengthy descriptions.

    But, I think with modern fiction at the moment, we're in a time when description is not as heavily prized as it once was. Although, that doesn't mean I should neglect it entirely in my writing!

    Thanks for stopping by!