Knowing Myself as a Writer

A few days ago, friend of the blog Adam posted about his writing style and how he’s okay with the fact that it’s different than some of the so-called “experts”. (That’s me totally paraphrasing.) His points got me thinking.

I’m a clean writer. I write chronologically and cannot wrap my head around those who write in bits and pieces.

I don’t include a lot of detail, including hair color, height, etc. I rarely mention what a character is wearing unless it ties into the plot somehow, and even then I trim it down in edits.

I DO go into the emotions of my characters, what they’re thinking, and include a lot of snarky thoughts.

That may or may not be for everyone, but that’s what I prefer to read and that’s how I choose to tell my stories.

Another thing I’ve known but only recently accepted is: I really don’t like short stories. I’ve enjoyed writing the handful of flash fiction pieces I’ve written, and it was great getting two of them published, but my heart’s not in it. I don’t like READING them, so why would I subject that on others? Considering how much less free time I have now that I’m back in the working world, I choose to empty my mind of any niggling worries that I’m not doing everything I should be as a writer, and instead focusing on the parts I truly enjoy: novels.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


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  2. His post made me ponder, too. To me, this ties loosely to the whole thing of “write what you know.” I write in a way that works for me because it’s, well, what I know.

    I have a love/hate relationship with short stories. I used to love writing them “back in the day,” but not anymore. I have too much to say and I can’t trim (there’s the hate part). I have to be in a particular mood to read them, which is often indefinable, so I don’t read them often at all. I used to, though, in Reader’s Digest and anthologies ALL the time.

    • Same here. If my friends have short stories up someplace I’ll read those, but even then it takes me awhile to get to them. I don’t understand it. I think that’s why I like flash fiction — it’s over in a few minutes.

  3. Allen

    I write short stories to fill in the time when I can’t work on the novels or NF work. Often, I pen them in pencil and paper on the back of a scrap of paper.

    I like short stories, though. I like shorter books, too. The more concise and tightly written, the better I like them.

    My wife says I am an author in search of a two word novel. Maybe she is right. (Damn I hate it when she is right.)

  4. ab

    I admire short story people. I can’t wrap things up like that. I think I dead end with almost every one at 60K then BAM! I worry if I will stop at 80K. There are readers for everything. Write what you like to write & read!! And I thank you in advance for not going “clothes descriptive. Not a fan…
    Happy Friday!

    • That’s how I feel exactly. I tend to lag around the 30k mark but I always know what will happen between 60-80k, so I keep plugging. I truly don’t understand how someone plots a 20K story.

      And you’re welcome. 🙂

  5. I’m internet famous! Woop! 😉

    Glad ya liked the post, Hoo. It’s the only one of my posts that took two attempts I think. 😛

    I dislike short stories, for the most part. Nowhere near enough to get my teeth into. Like you, I’ve written a few, and had one published, but ‘meh’. 🙂



  6. LOL, we’re direct opposites. I hate writing novels. It pains me to think of something over 20k. I may be a bit mouthy online but when I’m writing, I’m in the “write tight” school o’thought so cut out any superfluous words to the point I think I’m probably not giving the reader enough. =P

    However. I’m very happy you’ve figured out what works for you. This is a pivotal time in your growth as a writer. Cut out what you don’t want to focus on what you do — that goes beyond writing as well, my friend. 😉

    Great post, Mel!

    PS- I tried bouncing around in scenes as well, did nothing but give me a headache and a failed NaNo attempt.

    • And see, we need people like you to write the short stories. 🙂

      Yeah, the bouncing around thing just will not happen with me. If I think of a scene out of order I’ll take notes so I don’t forget it, but I won’t let myself write it until I get to that part in the story.

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