Writing Strengths Meme

Absolute Vanilla… (& Atyllah) tagged me the other day with the Writing Strengths Meme, so I figured I’d give that shot today. This one is difficult for me as I don’t view myself as a very good writer. I’ll do my best to not be too self-deprecating and write this one straight.

Humor

One of the things I’m certain I’m good at is making people laugh. I love laughing and I love making other people laugh. My humor has sometimes been called “dry” by people who know me. I’m the quiet one in the group that out of nowhere adds a little comment that has everyone cracking up. I think/hope this carries over to my writing. Before I read Terry Pratchett (and Douglas Adams as well) I wasn’t sure it was possible to write good fiction that make you laugh.

One of my top posts right now is a funny little short story I wrote a while back called Frank – A Halloween Short Story. I don’t know who is reading that because it’s not getting any comments, but that’s story is an example of my humor, I guess.

Ideas

I’m pretty good at coming up with interesting and unique ideas for stories. I’ve had stories about Elves and Scott Baio, a time machine bought on ebay, a man who grows a second head, and an alien invasion thwarted by a pet Ferret. You can see all these in the My Fiction section on this blog.

One of my most successful stories was my honorable mention at The Clarity of Night. It was about teenage werewolves on their way to a party. You can read that one here.

Pacing

I enter a lot of writing contests, and don’t really win any of them. However, I do get some nice feedback. I often hear my stories have good pacing. I’m not really sure what this means, but I have it.

Write What I Like To Read

I enjoy reading stories in which something interesting happens and the author gets to the interesting part right away. I don’t like combing through a lot of description (ala Lord of the Rings, though I did enjoy those books). I’d rather read some snappy dialog or hear what the characters are doing. I like to read simple stories that are well written. That’s what I hope I write.

Entertaining

Above all, I think my writing is entertaining. At the end of the day, I want someone to be happy they read what I wrote, that they didn’t feel like they wasted their time. I want their day to be brighter, a smile to be on their face. I want them to be entertained.

A Book About Fairies

Helen mentioned in the comments of one of the posts about purchasing a book about fairies by Vladimir Propp. This was timely as I have been thinking about/searching for a book titled An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures by Katharine Briggs.

I discovered this book last week while listening to the podcast of Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman in which they discussed which books they used as reference for their stories. It turns out Susanna Clarke used this book in writing Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel and her short story collection. The book is out of print, but they have copies available on Amazon.com. The book is 480 pages of fantasy reference goodness.

Rather than purchase the book, I thought I’d check to see if they had it at my local library. Sure enough, they did. Now, my wife takes our daughter to this library every Monday, where a librarian reads a story to the kids and the kids get to play with the trains before and after. Seeing my opportunity, I explained to my wife the book and asked her if she could pick it up for me. I didn’t remind her about it on Monday, so I figured it wouldn’t happen.

Well, it’s Tuesday and I haven’t yet read An Encyclopedia of Fairies. This isn’t because my wife forgot. She actually took the time to find the book in the library (in the kid’s section?) and tried to take out the book. After some discussion, they told her the book was classified as reference material and could not be removed from the library. This seemed odd to me as the book is Number 1 fiction, and Number 2 probably not that much in demand as it has been in print for twenty-nine years. Oh well, I’ll just have to visit the library and take some notes/photocopies.

The librarian asked my wife why she wanted to take out such a book and she replied,”My husband is writing a novel with fairies in it and wanted the book for research.” This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but it was huge to me. To hear my wife say the words “my husband is writing a novel” to someone really makes me feel good, as if what I’m trying to to is legitimate.

Anyhow, I’ll check out the book in the next few days and let you know what I think. In the meantime, here’s the cover:

encyclopediaoffairies2.jpg