Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Play to Your Strengths

I stirred up a lot of controversy with my last post.  That certainly wasn't my intention.  If I wanted controversy, I would have said something like... pretty friggin' scary when Michele Bachmann is declared the "winner" of a presidential primary debate.

Anyway, my point was... write what comes most easily and naturally to you.

Sometimes my writing partner, will say to me, "Let's write this PB in prose."  And my response is "Okay, and maybe Derek Jeter should try out for the Jets."

Rhyme is what we do best.  Why would we throw our best asset out the window?

When editors read our manuscripts at conferences, they don't say "Wow, what a great plot!"  Or "Oh my gosh, I LOVE this character!"  They say, "This has a lovely, rollicking rhythm." 

Once we are a bit established, then we can experiment with different formats and styles.  But for now, we should play to our strengths.

12 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I agree! We should always play to our strengths while working on our weaknesses.

Rebecca said...

Ah, but sometimes it's easier to write in rhyme once a first draft is done in prose. That way the story doesn't get hung up too much on the rhyme. :-)

Jeff King said...

"We should always play to our strengths while working on our weaknesses."

Amen to that!! what else is there to say?

K said...

I had to laugh when I read your subtle comment about Michele Bachmann!! I love the discussions here on your blog and wouldn't it be fascinating to see what all of your readers have to say about that :) I loved your post about writing for the right age, because it isn't something that was so obvious to me for so long. Then after a few years of writing I finally understood it. I wonder if perhaps as I get older and my children get old I might evolve or change to write for a different age.

Anyhow, I feel like burying my head in the sand when it comes to the next presidential election for fear of what the outcome may be.

Julie Hedlund said...

I agree - even when your strengths seem out of line with what is supposed to be "marketable." Write well, with passion and purpose and the rest will (hopefully) follow.

MelissaPEA said...

This post is more controversial than the last one, you rabblerouser. I think if people only play to their strengths, they miss the opportunity to discover hidden talents. And sometimes when you take a wrong turn, you wind up in the right place.

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! Melissa, what I was really trying to say (as nicely as possible) is... if you're skilled at meter and rhyme, do NOT write a rhyming PB!

Kelly H-Y said...

Good point!

Julie Musil said...

I learned this the hard way. My first manuscript was a middle grade novel, but I soon realized I was not a MG writer. I'm a YA writer. Which means I'm a teen inside, which makes my gray hair suspicious!

Lauren F. Boyd said...

Well-put! I'm the same way: Highlights magazine seems to like a certain format and style of manuscript that I submit to them. So I'm going to keep submitting manuscripts in that format and style to them because I know it works for their magazine! I'm sure it's the same with PB book formats and styles.

Joanne Fritz said...

As someone who STILL hasn't figured out what her strengths are, I have to say I admire you for sticking to your, uh, guns.

Yay, Corey!! You ARE a rhyming expert (I told you, you should be teaching one of those workshops at SCBWI). Write in rhyme if that's what works for you. But don't be afraid of prose.

Tana Adams said...

Agree!!!! Never forget where they lie. They are the path to your future!