Meme: Writing Strengths

Rats, Joanne tagged me. I haven't done a meme in ages. But here it goes...

The guideline for the meme is as follows: Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you’d like to see share their strengths.

Here are mine:

1. Character - I seem to have a knack for making my characters real and true. By real I mean my readers seem to believe that my characters are real people, or are based on people I actually know, instead of simply figments of my imagination. And by true I mean these characters are true to themselves, and not easily manipulated by me, the writer. I may not like these characters (nor may the readers), but they're true to themselves. I think that makes sense because to me, these characters are real; they talk to me. They show me what they do (of course everything happens in my head). They have real conversations and they do what they damn well please. Of course, imagination is nothing if they're not based on reality. The truth is, I observe people. I take mental notes. And I also draw upon my own experiences.

2. The human conditions - human conditions and behaviors fascinate me. I think we humans have great potentials, but we also have many flaws and limitations. We bicker. We fight. We manipulate. We hurt. We also love and cherish and remember. That's what is fascinating about humans: we are so complicated. I love complex, flawed characters, and how they meander through life trying to find themselves and connect with others. And this fascination turns into gold for novelists. Not everything or everyone is pure good or evil; not every character is just an archetype. In fact, one of my strengths seems to be having no stereotypical villains or heroes in my stories. They are all "heroes" in their own stories, and that makes their relationships all the more interesting and revealing of the human conditions. My stories are always about the deeper aspects of the human conditions: emotions, behaviors, relationships, desires, etc. because that's what make them interesting and relatable. After all, my readers are humans.

3. Descriptions - I have a way with words. I can use the simplest words and put them together to draw a perfect picture of what is in my mind. I think visually, but I am also able to translate these images to words in such as way that it's easy to understand, precise and economical. The trick is to find the right word, and usually the first word that comes to my mind is the right one (and everything else can be fixed in rewrites). I also have the ability to conjure just the right images, and just enough for the readers to fill in the blanks using their own experiences and imagination. My words tend to evoke the right emotions and visuals.

4. Visual/Cinematic - As a writer and an artist (I also draw and act and make music and films), I draw upon my strength as a visual person. I have no problem visualizing every scene and movement in my mind before translating them onto the page. I also grew up with the movies and have become quite a movie buff, so there is always a movie running in my head. The trick, of course, is to put that movie into words. But once I do, the cinematic, visual storytelling is vivid and riveting.

5. Truth and points of view - whether it's a universal theme such as death or betrayal or unrequited love, and no matter what kind of fictional characters and situations I put forth, I always try to tell the truth: the truths about my characters, their relationships, their ups and downs, their highs and lows, their faults and virtues, their views and beliefs, and, through them, the world we live in. And the truths are usually tinted by cultures, religions, beliefs, social constructs, education and so on, and I try to bring them all together to reflect the world we live in, even if the story is set in a fantasy or future world. I think that is what makes a piece of fiction relevant and timeless, that we can all get lost and imagine ourselves in these worlds. Because when you tell the truth, there is no limit in what you can do with that truth.


Nothin in common! Ha! We have lots in common; you just put the words together much better than I do. :D Great post, Ray, and honest too!
Ray said…
Yeah right. ;)
Nita said…
Gotta agree with Joanne, Ray. You do string the words together well, maybe not better than her, but different. And much better than me. I love that "the to put that movie into words." that's one I struggle with. Glad you played Joanne's game, loved reading your post.
Anonymous said…
Hi, Ray! You've got a nice blog, and I enjoyed reading this meme. Those are all excellent strengths -- sounds like you have a lot of insight into people. And yes, telling the truth -- that, to my mind, is priority #1 as a fiction writer -- to uncover and illuminate truths about what it is to be human.

I'm a member of AW, though lately I've been more of a lurker than a poster. Hy AW name is Pellegrina Leoni.

I'd like to do that meme on my blog, so I'm tagging myself! :-D
Ray Wong said…
Hi Thomma Lynn! Great, I'd like to read your answers!

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