She Has A Nice Personality #IWSG

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is doing a new thing. They’re asking a question:

What’s the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

By seeking out feedback, I’ve gotten helpful criticism. As a result, I know where my faults lie. Emotions—I’m terrible at manufacturing those moments that make people cry. Tension—How the heck do you get a person to hold their breath and grip the book with white fingers? Setting—oh, did I mention these people were in some place interesting? No? Clarity—I’m awesome at confusing people! Wait, that’s not a good thing, is it?

But not everything about my writing sucks. From what I can tell, I give good voice. And I can make the occasional person burst out in laughter. Sure, that might be me chuckling (manically cackling), but I’m still a person. Right?

Anyways, back to the question at hand. What’s the best thing someone’s said?

I am really impressed. This is usually pillow throwing, head banging, omfg levels of “WHAT IS GOING ON”, but you’re somehow carrying it through sheer force of personality.

BAM! Not bad for having thrown someone with no exposure to me or my writing into the mess that is currently Isto. Now, I’ll just ignore all the Urban Dictionary entries about female personalities…

Do you know your writing faults? How do you recognize what you need to work on? Do you have any tension suggestions?

About Insecure Writer’s Support Group
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You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

55 thoughts on “She Has A Nice Personality #IWSG

  1. Being told that your writing has a nice personality sounds like a good thing as opposed to someone in who you are romantically interested in saying you have a nice personality which is usually the equivalent of saying, “Let’s be friends.”

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  2. I completely missed that we were supposed to answer a question this month. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that next time.

    I agree with Arlee; your writing having “personality” does indeed sound like a good thing. It’s alive and has its own quirks and recognizable features. It stands out. It may be hard to define, but from what I’ve read of your work I definitely agree with that statement. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    IWSG July

  3. Great feedback, Loni. YAY!! I think it’s important that we can identify our own weaknesses as well as strengths so we can work on improving them. I love your positive approach to your writing and most of all your energy. Good for you!!

  4. Hi, Loni,

    Not a shabby comment AT ALL! Giving your writing PERSONALITY makes it unique and MEMORABLE. And isn’t that what we writers want? To be remembered!

    As for TENSION. Me being sort of an expert in emotions and SETTING THE STAGE.. Tension begins with FEELING. You must FEEL your character’s emotion. Put yourself in their place. HOW would YOU react…. Build it up in small layers and then WHAM! Hit the reader hard. Layering is the key. Set it up for the reader through details. Yes, we have all been told to not use to much description, BUT that description, if done well, will ADD the tension you need. Emotions, atmosphere, and description… Hope that helps.

  5. In my longer works, I struggle with the plot and the pacing. I’ll keep working on them both though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. That’s some great feedback! Come to think of it, I’ve been told my story has a strong voice, and I think that’s always a good thing.

  7. I love it. And I’m much better at making people laugh than cry–just saying. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  8. That is great feedback! And I love how you’re able to recognize your own weaknesses as well as strengths. That’s the first step to improving, right?!

    I’m typically able to point out my own weaknesses when I’m reading a really good book. I’ll think, “she/he does that so much better than I do.” I think we’re always a little critical of our own writing though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. You do have great personality. It even shows in your blog. Happy IWSG Day
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  10. My writing faults… Goodness, yes. They primarily revolve around plot and arcs. I plot out great ones. I really do, so why does it take so many stinkin drafts to get the book to line up with my vision?

  11. Everything about my writing has faults so it’s not too hard to recognize them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As far as tension goes, just make sure that everything the MC tries to solve his/her problem actually makes things worse. While having your characters feeling tension is good, it’s even more important to have the reader feeling tense.

  12. You know something I truly loved about This World Bites when I beta read for you? It was the personality. Your personality (and Cera’s) just bounces off the page. It’s brilliant. I also loved the action and twists. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Sheer force of personality. I’ve never heard it phrased like that before!
    Description? What’s that? Yeah, I’m not good with place either.

  14. You have so much personality here on your blog that it’s no surprise it carries over into your fiction writing. That’s fantastic feedback! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. That was fun. You wander through the question about the way I would have. And I did, and then skipped it. I’m going to pay more attention to compliments in the future.

  16. HA! I was nodding along with everything in that first paragraph! Yes, I agree you have a great voice, which is probably the hardest thing to “get” or learn.

  17. Great feedback. It sounds like you got the tension right in that one.

  18. What a unique comment. It says a lot about your skill and voice. I also love your thoughts on weakness. Mine is throwing to much action out there and forgetting to answer all the questions I’ve presented, but I am working on that with the help of a really great crit partner.

  19. Hi Loni. I do know my writing faults. I don’t give a lot of description and I tend to use certain words too much. I know I make these mistakes, so one would think I would stop making these mistake over and over, right. Nope. I think that is a good compliment. Good writing indeed.

  20. I love your blog, Loni. Your voice is wonderful, delightful, witty, quirky. Your huge heart always shines through. I’m not confessing my bad writing traits today because I’m suppose to be working on my fragile ego. Haha. It’s a long story. Anyway, I agree with the commenter.

  21. Oh yes, I recognize my faults. I have a problem with staying in the same point of view and scenic descriptions. But, I am working on it.
    And I love your compliment. I think it is beautiful. Very positive.
    Shalom aleichem,

  22. That’s a great compliment. And I believe you do better in those other areas than you think.

    I probably have way too many writing faults. My biggest one is description – it takes me several drafts to get it all worked in. As for tension…I’m not sure. I just get caught up in the character’s emotions as I go.

  23. It’s probably much easier for most writers to know their trouble spots than to identify their strengths. Voice is majorly important, so sounds like you’ve nailed that. Kudos!

  24. You do and it shows in everything you do. I laughed most of the way through This World Bites because of how you wrote Cera.
    I can’t give any tension suggestions. I barely understand it myself. And my faults tend to vary between stories: in one there’s apparently wonderful description, whilst another has too little (there’s never too much, odd that). Sometimes, it happens within the same story… don’t know what’s up with that.

  25. LOL! Voice is good. Voice you’ve got in spades. Hey, anyone who talks to squirrels is speaking my language.

  26. I’m not surprised you got feedback like that. Not surprised at all.

    My faults? Setting, dialogue, and the passage of time, I think. I have a tendency to squish a lot of things happening into a short span of time because I can’t figure out how to write, “The next week…”

    But yay! It is always nice to hear something amazing (and true) about your work ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Wonderful feedback, Loni. Keep going.

  28. Sheer force of personality โ€” love that description. What a great compliment! Cera’s personality definitely shines through, and so does yours. That’s what makes your blog so much fun to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Every writer has faults (and strengths, too). The very best thing is to know what they are so you can edit yourself. I learned all my faults well due to my awesome CPs who don’t hesitate to (diplomatically) point them out. Now I can hear them in the back of my mind when I’m writing and I know I’ll have to fix certain things. Forever grateful for CPs!!

  30. Personality is awesome!

    I don’t know if I can give advice on tension – I think I still need to work on it. When I read, I think the most tense scenes are either when I know there’s something more going on with a character but the writer hasn’t told me everything yet, and when two characters are about to reveal something to each other that I already kind of know about. Somehow, I think it’s about pacing out the information – and I often want to dump all the secrets on the first page. I have tons of faults in my writing – my main characters are often flat while my sidekicks/secondary characters leap off the page, my dialogue is terrible at times, and kissing scenes – oy.

  31. Hi Loni, like you I have my strengths and weaknesses in my writing. Luckily for me my critique partner always points it out and I can then work on it. The compliment your have received for your writing sounds good. A good review or feedback makes my day.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna’s Scriptorium

  32. Pah, yeah – tension & description. Toughies ain’t they?
    But that’s great feedback, and to reinforce everyone else’s comments, your personality does beam out from your blog (so you must be doing something right hey?)
    (btw, what is ‘isto’?)

    • Isto is the name of my novel’s sequel. I released Thanmir War in 2013, and then intended to finish Isto the following year. But my son (also born in 2013) has effectively put a nail in my productivity’s tires. So, here it is, three years later, and I’m floundering to get it finished. Oi!

  33. Being able to express your personality is the basis of so much, and a huge stride in winning over the reader/this reader.

  34. Your writing has personality? YAY! That’s a HUGE compliment! It means you’ve discovered your writing voice…and you’re using it!!!
    You go girl!
    Squirrels ROCK!

  35. Hey, a complimental is a compliment!

    Hmmmm. Tension. No clue. With my first rough draft people kept saying “build tension” but never bothered to say HOW. I’ve since had people compliment my tension. I dunno. I think a lot has to do with flow maybe?

  36. Hey, a complimental is a compliment!

    Hmmmm. Tension. No clue. With my first rough draft people kept saying “build tension” but never bothered to say HOW. I’ve since had people compliment my tension. I dunno. I think a lot has to do with flow maybe?

  37. Personality is definitely a great characteristic for writing (and writers). As for building tension . . .I try to cut down on too much minutiae of life moments and get us into frying pans and fires ASAP (Bring on the bears!). But building tension is also about letting us inside characters’ heads so that we worry with and for them, and can see when a situation is about to push their buttons. False alarms and starts that don’t start can be part of that. That’s a slow process, that, for me at least, usually comes in second and third drafts. I have to know where the story is going before I can back up and build in the appropriate background to give those moments punch. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  38. Oh yeah; I know my writing faults. My crit partners consistently point them out, lol. But, that is what they are there for – and the occasional “well done”.

  39. This made me laugh, Lori. Yes, I do know my faults. That doesn’t mean I can always correct them. Just like in real life. I know I should exercise, but…

  40. I think they’re telling you that you’ve found your voice, and that’s amazing praise.

  41. That’s a huge compliment! I bet it did your heart good to hear it (read it). Good for you! I’m with you, I totally forget the most basic of things as I write sometimes. My CP has the patience of a saint, he has to! I had a scene in my book that involved some pretty crazy stuff my main character had to do, so she did it, and just moved on to the next scene. My CP was like, um, yeah, so, uh…what was going on in her head after she did all that? haha ๐Ÿ™‚ I got so wrapped up in writing the action, I forgot the emotion. Totally get where you’re coming from.

  42. Great thought about knowing our writing faults. To be honest, I’m unsure what mine might be. I’ll be keeping my eye open on how to pinpoint this.

  43. Stephen Tremp

    Lonui, my brain thinks, :She has a Nice Personality But ….” is nice Loni dragging a body through the woods. Nice is relevant. Or irrelevant. Depends on the POV. Haha heehee hoho!

  44. Having good voice/personality in your writing is a great thing to be complimented. It’s hard to develop that if you don’t have it. Whereas you can edit emotions in (I have trouble with emotions.)

  45. Hi Loni
    To build tension short sentences are the best. Thanks for picking up my book. Keep plugging away and all the stuff that is hard will get easier.

  46. I’m one of those occasional people bursting out in laughter, just so you know. What a fab compliment. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know my weaknesses. Hell, yeah I do. And one of them is that I’m so damn insecure that I can’t post to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. (Also, I can’t take a compliment without going into self-defense mode.)

  47. I feel like this is similar in a weird way to my IWSG entry this month. ^_^ And you’re clearly doing something right if a reader is confused but still wants to keep reading, especially if it’s a character’s personality that’s helping to carry them through.

  48. That comment actually makes me want to read your work ๐Ÿ™‚ Confusion and laughter certainly makes the reading experience memorable. I’m sort of the opposite in my writing, I sometimes tend to over-explain things. I feel like I want my readers to fully understand the point, but when the conclusion is as long as the middle and the beginning of the story combined, I think there might be a problem…

  49. Personality is hard to find in writing, I think. Sounds like a great thing to me.

    I’ve gotten several emails from men who claim I write good for a ‘girl’. I know they mean it as a compliment, but I’m kind of insulted at the same time.

  50. Hey Loni!

    I let some CPs I trust read my works in progress and tell me. It takes me months and months to get to a place where I can see for myself places that need improvement. (Or, like… after I published. *facepalm*)

    As for tension…

    If I might be terrible, I have a whole book about creating and sustaining tension on Wattpad.

    Do let me know if you need another pair of eyes on your work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Tension is all about what you don’t tell the reader. Let them know something isn’t right…but delay telling them what’s wrong.

    That’s an awesome compliment. But the way you presented it is even better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Knowing your writing faults is half the battle. And it’s great to be able to make someone laugh and have a great voice.

  53. What a fabulous compliment! Personality is voice, the most difficult aspect of writing to get a handle on.

    As for tension, I start every story with my protagonistsโ€™ inner conflict. Once Iโ€™ve established inner turmoil, no matter where the plot goes, thereโ€™s always conflict on the page. I also try to leave readers with a question in each scene in hopes theyโ€™ll keep reading to find the answer.

    VR Barkowski

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