f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 4 of Strengths and Weaknesses – The Rest

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, December 17, 2004

Day 4 of Strengths and Weaknesses – The Rest

1. Creative Details – Does your world feel lived in and evocative? Do we avoid trite descriptions and easy explanations? Do we see every detail as a possible opportunity to enhance your novel?

2. Emotional Resonance – Does your story add up to something in your reader? Do you trigger an appropriate response of tears, laughter, fear when you are trying? Is the reader engaged with the characters and their struggles?

3. Overall Affect
– At the end of the book, does a reader feel impacted? Do they walk away affected, in at least some way, by the read. Do the elem

4. Originality – Is there something we haven’t seen before in your book? It just needs to be a single element? Does it set itself apart from other stories?

5. Saleability
– Are your idea and its execution at a level that your book is potentially attractive to a wide audience of readers?

6. Topicality/Zeitgeist – Is your idea at the cutting-edge or timely for what’s happening at the moment? Are you good at writing about things now that will be at the forefront of our minds soon?

7. Authentic research – Does the research and exposition sound real, credible, and yet fit into the story appropriately? Are readers ever drawn out of the story by something that seems out of place or wrong?

8. Genre Appropriate – If you’re writing in a genre, do you understand the genre? Do you meet expectations for that genre, but in a new and exciting way?

9. Inventive – Are you thinking outside of genre and trying creative things? Are you purposefully breaking rules of narrative, exposition, description, or genre in an intentional and comprehensible way? Are the new rules you establish clear to your readers?

10. “Whole” – Finally, have you written a book that exists and works within itself? It tells its story, its way, and succeeds.

So that’s it for your strengths and weaknesses. I’ve listed 40 things. To be a successful writer my guess is that you need to be excellent at 5, very good at 5 more, good at 20, and at least competent at the other 10. That’s all blind supposition though. I don’t actually have data to back that up.


Next week I’ll join the fray, ignore creativity, and do a review of my favorite books, music, movies, etc from the year. Then on Friday, Dec 24, I should have my Christmas story up for your holiday enjoyment.

Remember the deadline for submitting your own stories. We’ll be doing the selecting next week and then the ones that are chosen will appear Dec 27-31.

Have a great weekend.