So (yes, it’s a week later, and I’m still saying that.)
I’m about to do something I’ve sworn for the last five years I would not do.
When I say I first got SERIOUS about writing was when there was a confluence of frustration at how long it took me to finish a story, my “inability” to find time to write, a vacation week that became completely stay-at-home, and the rediscovery of Heinlein’s Rules for Writing.
The rule that has pertinence today is:
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order
What this means is you write your story, clean it up (look for obvious problems), and then send it out to market and don’t revisit it or do anything to it UNLESS an EDITOR (defined as someone who would actually be able to BUY it for publication) says “I’ll buy it if you…”
One of the traps a writer can get into is the perpetual rewrite. I’m not a stranger to this myself – each of my first two short stories took 2 years to write (and one of those was a FLASH fiction!) What could make a short story take SO LONG to finish?
- First there’s the slow process of my own internal editor getting in the way and questioning every word I wrote down. LEARN TO SILENCE YOUR INTERNAL EDITOR – you have to get the story out first; your internal editor knows WORDS and GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION, but not STORY.
- This was followed by multiple solicited readings, and each critique was followed with a rewrite to satisfy that person’s critique. YOU CANNOT SATISFY ALL YOUR CRITICS – it’s your story, not theirs.
- I then started sending it out to market, and when it came back (rejected), I looked the story over and “tweaked” it before I sent it back out the first couple of times. This was without ANY SPECIFIC SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS. No one ever said the magical “I’ll buy it if you…”
Ultimately, what you have to understand (and believe it) as a writer is that you don’t become a better writer by rewriting the same story ad infinitum; you become a better writer by writing MORE and DIFFERENT stories (that is also called practice.) Plus, the more you rewrite, the more the voice of your writing becomes homogenized – less unique. There is nothing (or at least not much) new under the sun – your story’s voice is what makes it different.
So, with all of this in mind, I am now caving on my own personal rule – I’m going to review and rewrite (or at least revise) the stories in both of my series. It probably is more of a revision. Not trying to excuse myself – once a story has gone out to market I had sworn off revisions as well, so even if Heinlein doesn’t mind, I do.
Here’s what I plan to do:
- Irritating things I noticed that aren’t that bad – just that could have been better (the same word repeated in 2 consecutive sentences, for example.)
- Clean up some bad edits (simple stuff – missed punctuation and such)
- And yes – I will add some details and clarifications that I commented on last week, to bring the reader and I closer to seeing the same thing.
That last one probably DOES make it a rewrite. Sorry, Heinlein, but this is a series, which means my past efforts are impacting the future, so I guess in this case, an exception is in order.
Sometimes, you have to break rules – even if they’re your own.
The preorder campaign continues for “Burial Details”:
Be sure to bury your charges deep.
An old farmer, scraping by after the Sahrian invasion, buries his most precious treasures to hide them from the aliens’ “salvation”.
When I first started writing this one, all I had in mind was the single line “They’re all buried now.” I hope you enjoy finding out what it’s about as much as I did.
Release date is April 8th, but you can preorder now at a REDUCED PROMOTIONAL PRICE at all the usual places, including (but not limited to):
This week’s Smashwords coupon is for “Sasqwhat?”:
It’s bad enough that people treated Ben like a freak – now he’s seen something bigger and hairier than he is hiding in the Arkansas woods, and he needs to find it to prove that he’s no crazier than anyone else.
Sometimes you don’t know what you’re made of until it’s staring you in the face…
Use coupon code VD49Q to get 72% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until April 2nd. Here’s the link:
“Sasqwhat?” is also available in my second collection, aptly titled: More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND.
William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “The Pipes”, can be found in many places, including:
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri