Writers’ Strengths, Writers’ Targets. Writing Time, Part 91

A Writer’s Strengths

It’s helpful to know what work our inner editors can manage on their own, and what aspect of a narrative requires a writer’s full attention.

Take for example writers who excel at exchanges of power in dialogue. Authors with this particular superpower may find their minds popping up unexpectedly with revisions notes: I don’t think this supporting character would react that way in Act 2, that’s more of an Act 1 comment. No matter what stage a manuscript is at, we ignore these casual mind-notes for revision at our peril, although if we don’t write down a reminder, they’ll return intermittently until we deal with the problem.

A Writer’s Targets

However, no editor knows everything, and identifying the skill that spoils the party is a vital concern, especially if a writer is finding that stories are returning unaccepted. The top reason I reject stories by good writers, for example, is that the central conflict is slow to emerge. If this might be the case, then rather than thinking, Well, CS Lewis took his time to develop the story or Okay, I’ll start the story in the middle of the action (not a good move, equating action with conflict) it may be worth studying works where the conflict is not slow to emerge. For example, a writer may make an in-depth study of debut novel or emerging writer prizewinners’ first pages ( see look inside on Amazon) to see how they get the central conflict up front without sacrificing a well-paced set-up. Take notes of great beginnings and best first sentences as if for a master class. With so much on our plates, thank goodness our brains love learning.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and is Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.


If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume here. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires you through 30 days of hints and help with narrative structure.

From Pulp Literature Press

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