Authorship, Publishing, Books and More

Banish Your Writer Shortcomings with Madeline McEwen


I was moved by a previous post here—“Writers Block Fact or Fiction”—and reflected on how events affect our lives so profoundly, and yet so differently. While that writer understandably found herself unable to write following the death of her father by contrast I have always escaped whatever troubles me through the craft of writing and self-expression, which acts as a therapeutic outlet.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses as authors. I’m great, [I think] at dialogue. However, I am guilty of other vices. My critique partners and editors frequently press me for fuller scene settings and better descriptions of my characters.

There are several quick fixes for this failing if you suffer similar shortcomings.


  1. Remind yourself that without specific physical descriptions on the page, your reader will make their own imaginary character such as an alien from outer space or a mythical beast or a garden gnome.
  2. As a writer, you already have the character’s image in your head. Try describing him/her/them aloud to a neighbor or friend. Then, ask them whom they visualize–what have you conjured up? This is the quick and dirty way of discovering what you exaggerated, glazed-over or omitted.
  3. Use Google images to find someone who resembles your character and then put those details in your narrative. [Print out, label, and file for future reference especially if you’re a visual learner.]
  4. Sometimes an analogy gives a sharper introductory thumbnail, [avoid clichés] especially for secondary characters. Make them memorable without over-burdening the reader.
  5. E.g. “His hair was dark as the shadows of twilight, and upon it was set a circlet of silver; his eyes were grey as a clear evening, and in them was a light like the light of stars.” From Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (page 274)
  6. Lastly, any description is enhanced by an appeal to the senses: sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell. Use those elements to flesh out a fuller persona. {Make yourself a reminder cube—my kind of visual aid.}



Author Bio

Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer’s. In her free time, she walks with two dogs and chases two cats with her nose in a book and her fingers on the keyboard.

Here is the uni-link:






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