ideation / writing

Short-Term Thinking

My writing is subject to the effects of short-term thinking.

It’s particularly obvious in writing LONG FICTION. While I was working on Swordsmaster, I would make a choice that seemed good at the time and then a thousand or more words down the road realize what a mess my decision had led me to. Things were happening, or about to happen, that would put an end to the story, so I had to backtrack and make a different choice.

It would be nice if we could do this in real life, wouldn’t it? Get those do-overs we’ve all experienced playing video games, where even DEATH can be recovered from.

(I wonder if that might be a major problem in simulations? You become accustomed to the idea that no choice is irrecoverable, so you’re prone to making quick decisions with dubious, sometimes dangerous outcomes because you can always get a do-over. Hmmm…)

Short-term thinking can be okay for SHORT FICTION – as long as I’m not determined to have a particular ending, then I can let my muse blow in my ear and take the story… wherever. But sometimes, like on “Therefore I Am” (my current work in progress, which is STILL being uncooperative; maybe if I change the name…), I have a very definite idea of where I want to end, but my choices aren’t taking me there. So I have to suffer the consequences of not thinking far enough ahead and move on.

We all do it. It’s called LIFE.

We have to get through a situation, and there’s no perfect choice (when is there ever), so we pick the path of least resistance – it’s what we do as human beings. Whatever seems the easiest to deal with at the time.

We also have a hard time seeing the path ahead – it’s very easy to know what’s happened before (as long as it hasn’t been rewritten.) It’s a little harder to be sure what’s happening right now, because you can’t see all the pieces, not like in a chess game. Life moves faster than that. And you don’t always get to make as many moves as your opponent.

And even if there’s clarity around the current state of the game, you don’t know what is going to happen. Oh, you can be meticulous and exacting about mapping out every possibility and weighing all the options before you make your move, but like I said, LIFE doesn’t sit still and wait for you to move. The board changes, pieces shift. If you do try to find the perfect right choice you’ll be overrun – so in the end you pick – the path of least resistance? the lesser of two evils? – and move forward.

(Yep – this is what Meandering Monday is all about.)

Sometimes, it’s all you can do.

Just saying…


ADishBestServedCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “A Dish Best Served”:

A self-aggrandizing faux-French intergalactic food critic runs afoul of a prideful chef, and gets an unexpected lesson in alien cuisine, living, and manners. If you can’t say something nice…

Use coupon code TS57T 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 20th.


The preorder campaign has begun for my speculative short story “The Pipes”:

PipesCoverSometimes it’s the little things…  An unexpected extraterrestrial visitation has an adverse effect on a Texas farmer’s well. Think twice before you drink the water – there’s something in the pipes.

Release date is March 11th, but you can preorder now at a reduced promotional price at all the usual places, including (but not limited to):




William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Ultimate Awareness”, can be found in many places, including:


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