Vesper tagged me to talk about what I see as my 5 greatest strengths as a writer. It's not the most comfortable topic for me, since I generally believe it's up to other people to identify our strengths. We're a bit biased (and possibly delusional), after all! I like a meme now and then, however, so I'm going to give it a go.
What I think I'm good at:
1. Mood. The atmosphere of a story is one of my favorite elements to create. Creative choices in scene setting are infinite. The danger, however, is to go overboard. I had to learn to pull back and give the reader some space.
2. Livability. I try to stay very close to the action so the reader can live the scene. I avoid adding a layer of character retelling/commentary.
3. Strong language. I've found that brief, but vivid sentences with strong verbs have far more impact that a paragraph jam-packed with description. My background as a Latin major also helps me mix up the structure of sentences to keep the feeling fresh.
4. Pacing to real time. Along the lines of #2, I want the experience of reading my stories to generally take the same amount of time as the action described. The language reflects the reality. For example, no literary treatment of high tension/action scenes. The flying pace is reflected in short, racing sentences.
5. Learning. Even as I say these things, I think I can improve. I simply don't trust myself to ever get it totally right. That attitude helps me separate writing failures from personal failures.
How about you? What are your strengths?