Friday, September 14, 2007

New Meme: Five Strengths

I've never created a meme before, so we'll see how it goes. None have been going around lately, that I know of, so perhaps they're out of fashion.

Something Gary Garrison said in his visit to Boston earlier this year caught my attention: "What are your strengths as a writer?" he asked. "I'll bet you'll have no trouble listing your weaknesses, but what are you good at?"

I think he's absolutely right. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to improve our manuscripts and how to improve ourselves as writers. Our interior list of negatives is continually polished, when we should make sure that we're able to move forward in our writing from our strengths.

So, here's the challenge: 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: (this is harder than I expected)

1. I have an interest and a knack for creating stories that are unusual or slightly off-beat. Possible examples would be my novel, Tornado Siren and my play, Blinders.

2. Writing dialogue comes easily for me. This is part of what makes writing stage plays come naturally for me. I'm still learning to incorporate dialogue effectively into my fiction.

3. I'm stubborn, persistent, dogged (and sometimes patient). This means I can commit two years or more to writing a novel, or five years to writing researching and writing a play about William Tyndale and the creation of the English Bible (God's Voice). I had the idea for the novel I'm currently writing in 1998, and I waited until 2006 to start writing it, when the time was right and I was ready.

4. I have a good sense of pace within a story. I know when things are going too slowly, and know when the rhythm needs to calm down a bit to let the audience or reader catch up.

5. I have a certain earnestness to my writing (I possessed the same quality when I was an actor). If I'm aware of this, it can be used as a strength. This has shown up quite effectively in a lot of my short plays, which have been accessible for both professional actors as well as high school actors.

That'll do for now. I tag Adam, Dan, Johnna, Laura, and Novel Eye (I know that's five, but I want to see what they say).


Leesa said...

Funny, you have never created a meme before. And I rarely take on the challenge of answering them. Your meme has found itself to me, through a few other people.

Interesting meme - that's the only reason I chose to do it.

patrick said...


I really loved your meme response/list (and laughed hard at the second version). Thanks for doing it.

I'm fascinated by how these things work--your post is a fourth generation response (I think) to the initial post. By following the thread of the meme, I've come across a whole bunch of writers whom I've never read before.

It's also been interesting to watch people work at seriously assessing their strengths as writers, and how hard it can be.

Ben said...

The deed is done. Hopefully I can help keep it going as well.

patrick said...

Thanks, Ben. I think its up to at least 8 generations by now. Lots of great comments. I'll have to make a list of all the blogs that have posted for it.

Ben said...

Hey Patrick,

I'm tagging you for another meme. Spread it around, because I think it'll really catch on. It's the newest post on my blog, under the title "Brevity Is the Soul of Wit." Take a look!

patrick said...


I like your post. I'm going to have to think hard about my six words, once I get back from NYC.