Blog Chain: Celebrate your strengths and weaknesses

Ah, we have arrived at the first new blog chain of 2011! Ce-le-bration time, C'MON! Let's celebrate!

And with those song words, let's begin the party as Sandra has the start of the 2011 celebration blog chain question:

What do you think your strengths and weaknesses as a writer are? Did you have to develop your strengths, or did they come naturally to you? How are you trying to overcome your weaknesses?

I would say that my one weakness was not preparing to do this blog chain, so I hadn't put all that much thought into it. Then my smartphone went off with a reminder my turn was today.

Me = almost flaking out on this round. BIG weakness.

Okay, I believe my biggest weakness is my wordiness. Yes, I've come to admit that for a long time now, which goes to show that I'm still fighting against this particular demon. I use too many words to get my point across.

And my strengths? I love developing a good twist ending. I like to say I can do dialect very well and I have no problem with developing transitions from one story arc to another, fitting in the pieces and able to keep the main focus of the plot together. Another strength is that I'm a good little panster, able to write off the top of my head without planning while (hopefully) still creating an entertaining story... sorta like this blog post I'm doing at the last minute without any planning.

All my talent is natural. I've never took any classes for creative writing. I don't have any degree for it. Most of my writing is quite natural. Whenever I wish to develop a new writing skill, I use my blogs. I create stories there and find out new ways in developing plot, entertaining characters, and perhaps LESSEN ON THE WORDINESS!

Well, that's about it. I'm going to get some leftover cake and New Year's Day drink and continue to ring in the new year into the next blog question. Read Cole's post and Eric's post on this topic.

Recently, I wrote a bit of a story on my other blog to bring in the 2011 new year. It's sort of a spur-of-the-moment freestyle piece. So there are very few editing and revisions done to it. Just a little bit of something, perhaps an ongoing writing piece I'll keep coming back to when time allows. Enjoy and leave any writing advice if you wish.

There has never been a new thought, a new word, a new story, a new way of looking at things or a new way of inventing something. Whatever idea you create now has been developed before. The only difference is how the idea is perceived, how it is used, and whether the person succeeds or fails...

The assistant shook her head and closes the door, leaving the scientist's nameplate and his idea of thought-provoking office decor behind. She approached the lab table and the white-robed shape with a perpetual bent to his back. Her nose wrinkled at the bright blue flash and the odor of burnt metal wire.

Solder on, mighty soldier. For your country needs you...

The assistant took a seat at another table, pulling out the romance novel from her jacket as her mentor worried away at his latest invention, something to do with human sound frequency. The assistant opened the novel to the dog-eared page of where she had left off in the story: the love triangle heating up between the virgin Duchess, her lowly chimney sweeper lover, and the pompous Baron high off his status as he stalks his love with false righteousness.

Duchess: I've never meet a man who could fill my heaving bosom with the fruits of passion.

Chimney sweeper: Sweet lady, I am but a lowly man. All that I own is the sweeping brush. All I am given is this mere six-pence and perhaps a spare end piece of three-day old bread. These things are my life, and I thought my life was content. Yet I've found something that I've never thought I could be given, or was within my status to have. Your love has left me wanting more, more than just sweeping out chimneys and eating stale bread...

Duchess: Hush! Did you hear a crackling from the nearby mulberry bush? I think the Baron has followed us to our secret meeting place.

Chimney sweeper: He is a man full of his own pride, his own ego, and his own justice. His mind is gone, obsessed for that which he cannot have by force. He wants you, my lady, and shall pursue you until that obsession is sated.

Duchess: But his obsession's gratification may not be what he desires. Quickly, my love. I see the glint of metal flashing in the foliage. Unlace the top straps of my bodice piece. There you will find the small dagger. Sate the Baron on what his obsession has led to...

"Ah, I think I have it now. Come over here, Lizzy."

The assistant sighed and dog-eared the new page as the book slipped into her lab jacket. Elizabeth strolled to the scientist's table, studying the wire-y mess of transistors and circuit boards. The contraption looked like a ninth-grade science project that might erupt lava, or more than likely just erupt completely into oblivion, at the clicking of the switch.

"And this is suppose to be the next big invention of the century?" Elizabeth's eyebrows shot up, seeking to migrate into her sandy blond hair.

"It is the next big invention of..." the scientist looked down at his watch "... April 5 of 2007 at 11:34 am. Whatever will be the next big invention of April 5, 2007 at 11:35, we will have to wait and see."

Elizabeth sighed, "And what, oh great mentor seeking his sixty seconds of fame, is this going to do to help humanity?"

The scientist spread out his hands above the invention as if bestowing good graces upon the machinery lightly humming. "This will save people's lives. Can you imagine a soldier out in the field, needing specific orders relayed to him about an ambush seen over the next ridge by a helicopter pilot, but the pilot unable to communicate with him by normal means? Can you imagine a way to tune into that particular soldier's hearing, his "signature frequency" that is unique only to him? Can you imagine sending out a warning that only his ears can pick up and his mind perceive? Can you imagine the implications?"

"I imagine some pervert having fun sending out dirty messages to unsuspecting women and believing he can get away with it." Elizabeth snorted and rolled her eyes.

"Come now, Lizzy. Think of the greater good. Men in distress contacting medical aid while in battle without giving away their position. Soldiers cut off from the rest of their battalion could arrange rendezvous coordinates while avoiding hostile forces."

"We work in the secret weapon's branch of the State's military department. 'Greater good' and 'military weaponry' means someone at one end of the tool is going to come to a messy end. Why invent something with the potential to hurt someone? Can you imagine, doctor, a convict getting away with killing everybody in a McDonald's by claiming someone else was manipulating him to do so through sound frequency? It gives new meaning to 'the voices in my head made me do it' in every court plea."

The doctor sighed. He swiveled his lab seat and pointed at his door. "Lizzy, you've read the plaque on my door, the one under my name. 'There's no new idea or new invention that hasn't been thought of before.' I've thought of this invention, but I won't allow my ego to believe that nobody else is smart enough to come up with the same invention. And what if that someone was an enemy to our country? I work for the military where my inventions can be used out in the field. Yes, I realize it could lead to hurting them also. But I have to keep holding on to that sliver of hope that my invention will save soldier's lives during combat."

"I only know that use of something can lead to misuse." Elizabeth stared at the soldering tool. It still smelled of burnt wire in the air. "Just because a person is smart enough to invent something doesn't mean they are not dumb enough to use it for a deadly purpose."

"There is nothing new under the sun," the doctor shook his head...
Michelle Thompkin's Diary
Journal entry 12: May 2010;

I would say this was an ordinary day that was part of an ordinary life. I would say my existence wasn't very significant to either myself or to other people. But I don't believe that is the case anymore. I've been hearing things, voices in my head. I want to think I was imagining them.

But I can't think that anymore.

I suppose if I told other people they would just roll their eyes and snort or give me funny looks like I was out of my mind. I can only imagine what a shrink would think if I told him the voices were harassing me in every way imaginable in my life.

Yeah, the shrink would think I've gone crazy.

But I know the voices are real. I know because they are familiar to me, familiar to the point where I've actually met the people beforehand. And the voices are the same to those people. There is also one little thing that brings me back from having everyone, including myself, into believing that I might be taking a headlong dive over the cliff of insanity.

Other people have heard the voices too.

But let's start from the beginning, when the Starbucks barista was filling up the napkin container as I sat in the lounge chair, sipping on a vanilla cafe mocha, as the voice called out, "BITCH!"

Nobody in the cafe turned their heads to look around at the offender to our coffee-sipping silence. Nobody except me and the barista, who frowned and stared about until our eyes momentarily locked. Then the woman scooted behind the counter and disappeared into the back of the store.

She couldn't blame me for calling out the derogatory word. The service I received was fine. Besides, the shouting voice had belong to a man and only one man was in the store. He was asleep in the chair next to mine.

to be continued...


  1. I love reading people's response to this question. I'm kinda glad I'm at the end of this chain!!!

  2. I think you've listed a lot of important strengths!

  3. It's interesting that you mention wordiness. I hadn't noticed that in your writing at all. In fact, I've always found your writing to be pretty tight. Nice response though. Like Sandra said, you've listed some important strengths.

  4. Anonymous4:32:00 PM

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  5. Wordiness isn't bad. When I write, I frequently give myself options. I might write: The car rattled like a man on his deathbed. A skeleton in a cage stretching for the key just out of reach. A soda can full of change. Or something like: He was hot and dusty and sweaty and stank like yesterdays tuna casserole.

    It's a tic of my own writing, but I don't consider it a bad thing because when I revise, it gives me so many things to chose from. It lets me find the best word and cut the rest. So don't think of your wordiness as a bad thing. Think of it as your subconscious giving you more to work with when it comes time to revise. Writing it like tailoring: I'd rather have a dress be too long than too short.

  6. I'm so jealous of your ability to come up with endings with a twist. Endings are my biggest challenge.

  7. Gotta say, I'm the opposite of wordiness sometimes, which, in my mind is as much a "weakness" as saying too much. People always get kinda freaked out by the quiet one...can't imagine why! ;)

    Nice post! Love the excerpt! :D

  8. Being able to come up with twist endings is terrific!


All comments are welcome. Thanks for stopping by!