Wednesday, November 9, 2011

RTW: What's YOUR Superpower?

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:

What are your writing and publishing superpowers (drafting? beta-reading? writing queries? plotting? character creation? etc.) -- and what's your kryptonite?

When I first sat down to think about this, two superpowers popped into my head right away, and then a WHOLE LOT of kryptonite. No, for reals. Like my kryptonite list is STILL writing itself. But I think that's the nature of the writer. We are our own worst critic, so I decided that I'd only list five. And then I forced myself to come up with five superpowers too.

My superpowers!

1) Authentic dialogue – I attribute it to my theater background and being around teenagers all day. And my ninja wall-creeping skills.

2) First chapters/premises—I can write an intriguing, explosive, hooking first chapter. And I have these KILLER premises. Now if I could just figure out how to back that up in the rest of my story. Hmm.

3) Funny (or maybe I’m just kidding myself—get it, kidding myself? Ha). Seriously though, I am like the most boring person in real life with no witty comebacks EVER, but I can write funny. Not LOL like John Green or anything, but well, I can make myself laugh.

4) Critiquing—I’m far from a grammar Nazi, but I am thorough. And I like to think I hope I offer good advice.

5) My passion—for my stories. For my characters. For writing and books in general. That passion transfers to my stories and I can definitely tell my eh scenes from my WOW-some ones, the ones I wrote with heart.

And when you’re passionate about something, you tend to sell other people on it too.

As for my kryptonite?

1) Plots and subplots and sub-sub plots and sub-sub-sub plots and… Yeah, my stories can get wicked complicated.

2) Back story—when I first started writing, I was all about some info dump. Then, I veered the other extreme and didn’t provide the reader enough information. I’m still trying to find the balance.

3) Em-dash and her evil twin ellipsis. I’ve calmed down—a little…or not.

4) Overwriting—or what I now refer to as my love of writing crappy first drafts.

5) Self-imposed deadlines—I drive myself nuts with these, like I set the bar TOO high sometimes.

Okay, could seriously go on, but I'll stop.

YOUR turn! What's YOUR writing superpower? And what's YOUR kryptonite? And don't forget to hop on over to YA Highway to check out everyone else's powers!


  1. Em dashes are addictive. I love them so much.

    And yes! Self-imposed deadlines! When I meet mine, I push the bar higher.

    Loved your lists!

  2. Oh gawd we're like the same hero, except instead of overwriting, I'm an underwriter to the extreme. There was a while there (when I first started NaNoWriMo) when I couldn't write more than 50,000 words. :D

  3. Great list, Alison. Good to be so self-aware!

    I can turn anything into a poem.

    I go overboard revising pbs - like completely re-writing them several times over instead of moving on.
    I can't depict humans very well so everything I write is animals.
    I want to write MG but I can't get passed 10,000 words and then there's the state of the writing lol.

  4. Have you tried to write and publish short stories? It would force you to eliminate ANY subplot, and you'd have that rocking "first chapter" feel to the entire story. I'll bet you'd produce a good story!

  5. Oh, Em-dashes are evil!
    Balance about backstory is one of my problems too (forgot to list that one).
    Nice list!

  6. Stupid ellipses. They try to sneak their way into SO MANY of my sentences.

    And I can totally vouch for your dialogue superpower. Remember when you tried to write bad dialogue as an example for something on YA Confidential? Yeah, even your BAD dialogue is good. :)

    Love your lists!

  7. I definitely have a lot of the same kryptonite problems that you do :)

  8. As someone who's read a bit of your work, I can confidently say that you're right on with the dialogue and humor superpowers. They're what made me want to read on!

    Great post today!

  9. I, to, have a better sense of humor in my fiction than in real life.

    And I'm an m-dash fanatic...mainly because I avoid elipses almost entirely.

  10. So I think my superpower and my kryptonite are the same thing, actually: that I am like Dexter when it comes to murdering my darlings. I slice out SO much of each draft in revision. Sometimes I worry that I never learn to fix smaller things, because when something isn't working I immediately cut it out completely and start from scratch. And I also worry that I assume something isn't working and cut it before I really have confirmation that it isn't working.

  11. What's awesome about these is that your superpowers are so much stronger than your kryptonite. You are very, very lucky!!!

  12. I should have added some punctuation Kryptonite, too. I have issues with semicolon and em-dash overuse!

    You write funny so well--that IS a true superpower!

  13. I like to throw in dashes where the completely don't belong - just because - well I don't know why - so I feel for you.

  14. I share your third kryptonite. I never know when to use them, and if I do, I never know if they're right.

  15. Totally get the infodump. Check out my RTW for my thoughts on that.

    I have the opposite problem of bad first chapters. Usually it's a combination of not enough detail and starting in the wrong place. Always great to finally get it right.

  16. Ellipsis...I do use those...quite a lot :-) That and smileys but smileys luckily never found a way to sneak into my WIP :-) (into my comments, though, they do come often...)
    Very nice list!

  17. Superpower: End of chapter hooks and getting the reader to want to keep going.

    Kryptonite: Description. :(

  18. I'm so jealous of your first chapter superpower--I tend to envision my third acts without a sense of how to get there! I'm also impressed that you have such a plethora of superpowers and can articulate them so well.

  19. I would have to say my superpowers are my passion and my hooks and cliffhangers.

    Kryptonite? Wow that's a long list. I would have to say my past tense usage or lack thereof at times and my impatience with myself.

  20. Nice way of putting it! (RE: superpowers & Kryptonite!)

    My superpower? Um, I think that I like to outline? Though it takes me a really long time to put the outlines together.

    My Kryptonite? Word-count. My mss are always either too long or too short, and I have to struggle a lot to get to the admitted limits!

  21. OMG, we are THE SAME. Seriously, the same.

  22. super power? = DESIRE to write
    kryptonite? = DOUBT


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