However, Cheryl Klein, Senior Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, gave the following advice in a recent interview for writers who "keeps getting so close but doesn't make it":
Figure out what (1) your two greatest writerly strengths, (2) your favorite subject to read about, and (3) your two biggest weaknesses as a writer are.
Develop (do not yet start actually writing) a book that uses (1) to portray (2) and minimize (3). For instance, if you know your strengths are awesome characters and dialogue, and your favorite subject is romance, but you’re terrible at plotting and creating tension, come up with your awesome characters, but put them in a simple story that doesn’t involve a lot of tension—a love story with a straightforward central conflict that lets the characters do their thing.
Then get help with (3) to improve it as much as you can before you dive in; then write the book and revise it.
Reading this advice was a revelation to me. I have always carried the belief that my writing needed to be perfect to get published. But perfection is different for everybody. Each of us has a few writerly strengths, some writerly weaknesses, and many writerly mediocrities. It's much better to write to our strengths and work on our weaknesses, rather than trying to be good at everything.
After all, though I won't be studying the Harry Potter series on how to write beautiful, breathless prose, I will always be in awe of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world and all its characters. And that, I think, is the recipe for a successful novel.
What do you think? Agreed? Disagreed?
What is one of your writerly strength? Writerly weakness?