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Good Writer Traits

July 29, 2007

1) a passion for words

I’ve had a passion for words for as long as I can remember. There’s something infinitely satisfying about stringing a bunch of random words/phrases/thoughts together and making something interesting out of it.

2) a deep interest in people

I love to people watch. I’m more interested in what they don’t say as opposed to what they actually say. Pay attention to people’s expressions and body language – it’s a whole new dialect.

3) a desire to communicate to others

Though I don’t actively go out and communicate with people, I do have a deep desire to get my message out there. It’s just that I choose writing as my medium to do so.

4) be inquisitive

I’m curious about everything, but mainly about what makes a relationship work. What exactly are the components that bring two people together? What kind of glue keeps them together? The answer is different for everyone and THAT is what fascinates me.

5) commitment to writing yet detached enough to critique it objectively

Since blogging (almost three years now), I’ve made a commitment to write to the best of my ability – at all times. Because of this self-imposed mission, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my thought process and both my written, and oral, communication skills. Blogging has molded and shaped me into a better writer. And if anyone is willing to objectively critique my own work, it’s me. I’m my own worst critic – trust me.

6) a willingness to revise

Absolutely. I write it, forget about it, return to it later and revise the crap out of it. Is it better? I can only hope so.

7) alert to details

Details are what MAKE a good story even better.

8) disciplined to write every day

Again, blogging has trained me to write every day. True, everything I write is not necessarily geared toward publication, but the mere act of blogging, writing down my thoughts, reviewing books and just being my goofy self has taught me more about myself, and my writing style, than anything, or anybody, ever has.

9) ability/willingness to take criticism and/or objections

Writers MUST take their audiences into account when they write. However, writers MUST learn when to call it quits, go with their guts and stay true to the story.

10) a grasp of the basics of English mechanics and grammar

Absolutely essential. Writers MUST know semantics or their stories will be rejected – both by the publishers AND by the readers.

11. willing to explore “what if” scenarios

It’s what makes great stories. Get in the habit of asking yourself “what if.” I can almost guarantee you’ll be surprised by the answer.

12. willing to cater to an over-active imagination

You’re a writer; you’re different. Accept and embrace that knowledge because it’s what makes you stand out and write good stories.

13. willing to break standard guidelines in order to stand out from the crowd and dazzle the reader.

You know the old adage? “You must first know the rules before you can break them?” That is never truer than in writing. Don’t break the rules until you KNOW them. Then, and only then, will your story stand out and dazzle your reader.

LAST CHANCE to donate to our worthy charity, First Book! Can we make it to $132? Can we?!

One Comment
  1. July 30, 2007 7:35 am

    This is a good succinct list, I think. RE: item #9. Yes! Check out more on literary rejections at my blog You will get a good idea of what it’s like to get rejected and rejected and rejected!

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