Mr. Green did it in the library with the wrench.


Okay. I admit it. I’m competitive.

And one game I do get competitive in is Clue. When four people are playing, I get intense. I keep track of what everyone is asking and how often they ask it. I keep track of what everyone says they don’t have. I make little marks and code signs on my tiny who-done-it paper. (I can’t say exactly how I do this just in case my family is reading.) Yes, it’s an incredible mental strain and almost impossible to get it right. But, still, I try. Because that’s fun. And no, I don’t always win.

Being competitive doesn’t make me a sore loser, it just makes me try harder the next time.

And now, on the writing path, being competitive is what drives me to get better. I could float from novel to novel and keep writing, but I try and figure out what I did wrong and then I go out and find out how to do it. I’ll read books and study techniques those authors employed.  I’ll read how to books. I’ll google topics and read blogs. And then, I practice with my next story.

 Thankfully, I don’t feel competitive with my writer friends. It’s just a drive that pushes me forward to learn, to write, to improve.

When you move from one story and start another – how do you make sure your writing is improving? Do you just start plotting/writing another one or do you single out your weaknesses and attack them head on?

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12 Responses to Mr. Green did it in the library with the wrench.

  1. Terry Lynn Johnson February 24, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    I think just by writing more, my writing improves. A competitive streak is a very good thing in this industry!

  2. Sherrie Petersen February 24, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Our family loves to play Clue together! And actually, now that I’m in a critique group, I’ve learned a lot more about my weaknesses. Hopefully I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned as I jump into writing my next book.

  3. Laura February 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Terry Lyn – Yes, just by writing, writing definitely improves. That’s a good tried and true way and what most people suggest. Read. Read. REad. Write. Write. Write. 🙂

    Sherrie – Critique groups have definitely helpe me to see my weaknesses. I don’t know what I would do with out them!

  4. Lisa Green February 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    Ditto! The act of writing in and of itself somehow helps me improve. Though reading, revising and critique groups can’t be ignored.

    I get competitive too, though I try to reign it in with my kids. I love Clue and the logic involved!

  5. Laura February 25, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    Lisa – I do say that my 6 year old and I go head to head in Monopoly and in the past, Candy Land. But for some reason, he always wins, even in games that require on strategy.

  6. Tina Lee February 25, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    I’m impressed with your posts, Laura. Where do you get inspiration for them? You must always be thinking writing. I love it!

  7. Laura February 25, 2010 at 3:21 am #

    Thanks Tina. It’s funny you say that. It’s just what I needed to hear. Because I’ve been a little discouraged lately – for like 2 weeks. And during this time, I’ve felt like all my posts have been suckage. Thanks. 🙂

  8. Anna February 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Laura, your posts have definitely NOT been suckage!
    As for writing, I’ve found that what seems to get stronger over time are my ideas and how I approach them. When I first started writing I’d have a really vague “what if?” idea that wouldn’t really lead me anywhere. I’d write for a while and often abandon the project halfway through because it had nowhere else to go.
    Now when I have a story idea, I don’t start writing until I have some sense of the conflicts involved, and they better be pretty major conflicts. I wish I’d known to do this when I first started – I could have avoided some dead-end stories. But that’s how we learn, I guess. 🙂

  9. Laura February 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    I think that is very true Anna. But I think it’s a stage that all newbies have to go through. Sometimes, even as a beginner, I heard wisdom but couldn’t grasp it or apply it until later. That would make a good post for you!

  10. Heather Kelly February 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    Laura–I loved this post, and have been loving your posts (as you’ll see tomorrow when your interview is up). I too am very competitive. (But, not with other writers–I find their progress inspiring–like with Bryan Bliss’ blog post today.)

    I am taking my sweet time with this manuscript, because I want to learn what I need to learn to make it be the best it can be–and that takes a while–all the internet research, the talk with crit partners, the writing books, the blogs by published and publishing authors… That’s how I’m learning. I touch base with writers on a daily basis. It’s amazing how much there is to learn. And your blog here is a part of that. Don’t lose hope!

  11. Susan Pauling February 25, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    I love that you use the word “suckage” and still end up sounding smart. Maybe I should start using this word with my boys 🙂

    I have played clue with you before….I am sure that I won.

  12. Laura February 25, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Susan – It’s definitely not a word that I plan on using with my kids…yet. Maybe when they are older. 🙂

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