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What Type of Writer Are You? Part 2

#writingfiction, #writingtips, #fiction, #critiquegroup, #genre, #novel, #storybuildingblocks, #screenplay, @Diana_Hurwitz,

In addition to a writer's preferred method of approaching the task of writing, there is a spectrum they fall on when it comes to the types of feedback they prefer.

Dick belongs to the Sensing tribe. He wants the facts and only the facts. He isn’t interested in Jane’s theories or flights of fancy. He keeps it real. He bases his opinions on what he thinks he knows to be true and dismisses anything that counters it. Critiquing Dick's work is challenging because he has already made up his mind about it. He listens (or pretends to listen) then says, “Yes, but.” At the extreme end, Dick can be so fixed in his position, he isn’t willing to change things that aren’t working.

Dick is good at pointing out factual inconsistencies in your plot. His critique is practical. He may get lost in correcting grammar and lose sight of the heart of the piece. He isn’t open to experimentation and thinks writers should stick to what has already been done, whether it is poetry or novels. Sometimes his advice is relevant. Sometimes his advice wastes your time.

Jane belongs to the Intuitive tribe. She doesn’t care how you come up with the idea. She is only interested in whether the idea is intriguing. She loves stepping outside the box. She loves experimental work. Her critiques focus on the possibilities. She makes suggestions that ask you to expand or deepen your idea. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t.

Jane isn't attached to her own opinion, so she is willing to change anything. She struggles when she receives conflicting advice. Asking her to revise her work can send her into a terminal loop of self-doubt or cause her to stall.  At the extreme end, she can get so lost in exploring possibilities she never finishes.

There are far more Dicks than Janes in the writing world. There is a 70/30 split in the general population. They face off in workshops, classrooms, and critique groups. Agents or editors paired with their opposites guarantees conflict, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.

Dick thinks Jane is undisciplined, unorganized, and erratic. He dismisses her advice as unrealistic and impractical. He resents her creative suggestions for how he could fix his plot. Sometimes Jane has a point. He should open his mind a little and consider the merit of the advice before dismissing it. Jane can offer a global perspective when Dick gets too lost in the details. She can help him avoid major plausibility plot holes. She can explain the emotional context.

Jane thinks Dick is plodding, boring, and too rigid. She dismisses his advice as short-sighted and simplistic. She should listen occasionally because Dick can help her fix speed bumps and cause and effect plot holes. His nitpicking can force her to make her work tighter when she has strayed too far from the point or added too much filler.

These opposites can help each other shore up their weak side. They may wish to strangle each other at times, but by working together they encourage each other be the best they can be.

Next week, we will continue to explore writer temperaments.

For more tips on how to craft believable characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict available in paperback and E-book, and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, also available in paperback and E-book.

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