ideation / writing

Writing Wednesday: Does Your Writing Have a Mind of It’s Own (or am I the only one)?

When I start writing I usually have a specific destination in mind – I REALLY THINK I know where the story is going.

I. Know. Nothing!

Take “Therefore I Am” (working title of my current work-in-progress); let’s call it TIA for short… (hey wait, that’s the acronym for Transient Ischemic Attack – I’ve had one of those. I didn’t realize about the initials when I started writing it.) I had a very specific story idea in mind, about a self-aware Artificial Intelligence that we created questioning whether human beings were actually capable of thought, or merely responding to their chemical reactions / programming. I started writing it with this in mind, but by the time the first draft was complete, the story wasn’t about that at all.

This could just be about me – I’m very into process, but not so much into organization (if you’ve seen my desk, you KNOW you don’t want to look into my mind.) I have tried outlines as a way of trying to set and maintain a direction, but an outline is a form, and I’ve never been able to fill out a form from top to bottom, left to right. As I’m working through the answers, something more interesting further down catches my eye, and so I jump to it, and then somewhere else. When I’m done, the answers are all there, and no one can tell that I did it OUT OF ORDER, but a story written that way is a bit more obviously so. (that’s probably why that exercise where I printed out my rough draft, cut out the sentences and rearranged them worked for me when I wrote B.I.T. )

Does anyone else have this problem? The morphing of story into something entirely unrecognizable as you try to pin it down, I mean.

I’ve heard rumors of writers who actually use outlines and follow them all the way to the “exciting conclusion”, of others who don’t outline at all, and instead write a summary of what’s going to happen in the story and then flesh it out (that may be what a proposal is), and even writers who only wrote what they intended, and didn’t rewrite it unless someone MADE them (Heinlein, anyone?)

There’s a method to my madness – but if you tried my method, I suspect it would drive you mad, too. Fortunately, it seems to work okay for short fiction, but I know it caused me headaches when I wrote the rough draft of my first novel last year (that would be Swordsmaster, and no, don’t go looking for it – it’s still a rough draft until I get back to wrestling it to completion later this year.)

I’m curious to hear from other writers – do you experience this, too? Or did you used to work that way until you found a cure? Should I want to be cured? Feel free to comment.

We are all different, and we can’t be expected to work the same way. My stories all seem to have a minds of their own and take me on a fun ride of discovery. I hope my readers enjoy the ride and have as much fun as I do.

Just saying…


InAFlashJimmyCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “In a Flash” (that’s my first Detective Jimmy Delaney story):

Jimmy was a good cop, but age and changing times were getting the better of him. If he could only get an edge, take advantage of some of that new-fangled tech – what would be the harm? I mean, everybody cheats a little, don’t they?

Just be careful not to get caught…

Use coupon code FY86V to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s 99-cents – such a deal!). Here’s the link:

This coupon will be good until February 13th.

(“In a Flash” is also available in the Broken Down: Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #1.)


UltimateAwarenessCoverThe “Ultimate Awareness” preorder promo continues until its February 12th release (that’s only 2 days left to save!):

Omnius has relied on his Ultimate Awareness to dominate the city as well as any supervillain could, but an interview with a prospective sidekick casts doubt on both his own limits and his career path. How much does he really know?

The preorder is available at multiple sellers all over the internet, including:




William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Behind the 8-Ball”, can be found in many places, including:


One thought on “Writing Wednesday: Does Your Writing Have a Mind of It’s Own (or am I the only one)?

  1. I don’t use outlines because I like my story to take me where it wants to go. I usually just figure out what I want my big ending to be, and then I create my story around that. Outlines jut wouldn’t work for my brain. I don’t want them telling me what to do. I want my character to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

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