Craft: Types of Writers

When I bring home iced doughnuts from shopping there is  a feeding frenzy in my household. I noticed though that Twinling1 loves to savour the icing, taking time to eat slowly; Twinling2 loves to inhale the icing, and licks it off quickly then tries to take the icing off Twinling1’s doughnut because he eats so slow. Mister4 eats it all together in one big hit and then complains that he can’t have another.

Watching them interact  made me think of how we as writers get our words down on paper.

Some writers start off with dialogue, others use description, still others use a combination of character dialogue mixed with descriptive narrative.

What type of writer are you? Do you hear the conversation and write it down?

Do you see the action and get that down on paper then go back and work out what they’re saying?

Or are you a combination of seeing it, hearing it and being part of the action?

A theory of behavioural management states that there are three types of learners, I’d like to change that to writers. Three types of writers. Visual; Auditory; and Kinesthetic.

Visual writers see the action happening, they describe in great detail what the scenery looks like, describes the characters appearance and so forth.

Auditory writers start with dialogue, what the characters are saying. They concentrate on sounds and then go back and put in details like scenery, hair colour etc.

Kinesthetic writers go for action, what the characters are doing, how they’re running away from something or someone (if that’s what the story calls for). They do include dialogue and a little bit of scenery, but they’re concentrating on the action.

If you know how you write then you can see the weaknesses you have and work on them. I need more work on description and depth of character, so I’m reading up on ways to improve this. If dialogue is your weakness there are many great websites/blogs/books which address how you might strengthen this part of your writing.

I think I’m a mixture, I get dialogue down quickly, but I also look at the movement of the scene, so I guess I’m  leaning  more towards Kinesthetic writer. I like to be part of the action, and get it all down. But I do have to go back and put in all the descriptive stuff.

So tell us, what type of writer are you?

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10 Comments

  1. Nice article. This is so true. I am very much visual/auditory. I struggle with the feeling stuff

    Reply
  2. Anita Joy

     /  September 28, 2009

    Having listened to a lot of writers discuss how they write, I agree with you Nat. For me, I see the scene as a series of still shots. I don’t hear the dialogue, more feel the emotion of the characters in the scene – and then write the dialogue to fit the emotion.

    Reply
  3. Natalie Hatch

     /  September 28, 2009

    Now see Anita I’m the opposite, I hear the dialogue first and then wonder who is talking? (yes I think those tiny voices in my mind have finally taken over)
    Like Jenn I have to work at emotion, but I do seem to get the actions going. I just need to stop concentrating on movement and have a look out the window to see where they are. More description, more description, more depth of emotion…. yep I tell myself everytime I write, but what happens? I go the same way again, maybe on my fortieth novel I will get it right the first time?

    Reply
  4. Heather Boyd

     /  September 28, 2009

    I’ve always needed to see what what I’m doing. Whether creating a spreadsheet formula or writing novels, if I can see it in my mind, I can get it out. Dialogue for me is the hardest, I tend to write really short conversations and lots of narrative and have to go back and fix it during edits. Its an area I’m always working at improving.

    Reply
  5. Your description – Or are you a combination of seeing it, hearing it and being part of the action – pertains to me the best. For me, the only way to bring about conviction and passion through my characters and their story is for me to be a part of that event – either through vivid visualisation or reliance on my own memories.
    Pamela Wilson, WriteSmart

    Reply
  6. Natalie Hatch

     /  September 28, 2009

    Heather I seem to be the opposite to you, I write tonnes of dialogue, love the way people speak but being able to describe things around them, settings etc, I suck! LOL. I suppose everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
    Pam I love falling into a novel and losing myself in it. I appreciate writers who can do this, especially the fantasy novels.

    Reply
  7. Mel Teshco

     /  September 28, 2009

    I’m definately not auditory! I’m most certainly a visual writer and I guess a good mix of kinesthetic (what a mouthful lol). I almost always write what I visualise and the dialogue fits in with that =)

    Reply
  8. I’ve got a different type of writer for you. Recently I’ve been looking “over the shoulder” of two writers. Vashtan in the UK, and Raev in the US who are co-writing on an Etherpad.
    They each have a character and write as that character, taking it in turns.
    They’ve roughly fleshed out the direction the storyline is going to take and use Skype or a chat box to discuss the story, the back story or the weather as they go.
    Once they’re done they can go back and edit it. Sometimes even changing which POV the particular paragraph ends up as.
    It’s a fascinating process to watch.
    It’s how the 1,000,000 free online epic “Special Forces” was done by Marquesate and Vashtan. (It needs editing but that’s another story)
    One advantage is there doesn’t seem to be any staring at the keyboard time as they’re continually bouncing ideas off each other.
    The output is incredibly fast. They’ve been doing it so long, what they’re putting down is pretty clean text.
    You can “sit in” and watch and comment as a bystander even. A bit surreal when you think about it geography wise.

    Reply
  9. Nicky

     /  October 10, 2009

    I would say I’m a mix of auditory and possibly visual. The interesting thing for me is my character’s literal voices have to be right in my head. I don’t use images of performers for characters, rather it’s their voices I use. If they sound right, then I can say that is them – but not mean the way they look.

    The visual comes more from the worldbuilding element rather than stuff like a character’s hair or eye colour.

    Definitely been working on my kinesthetic side, I get to the point that they haven’t moved for ages – rather internal/external dialogue takes over.

    Interesting post Nat.

    Reply
  10. Maggi Andersen

     /  June 21, 2019

    Interesting article. I’m visual, I see the scene as I write it, but also kinesthetic I guess. Love writing action along with fast paced dialogue.

    Reply

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