So here’s an opportunity to show how writing goes for me. I’m going to be a little vague on the story details because I don’t want to give things away (and let’s face it – stories evolve for me, and if I tell you that “A” happens, it will probably change to “B” before I’m finished.)
I mentioned in last week’s Writing Wednesday that starting to write a story is hard for me. I go through all sorts of hesitation from my internal editor. It’s so inhibiting and intimidating that I find other things to do instead of getting started. That was why I was writing that blog post INSTEAD of starting Detective Jimmy Delaney #6.
Eventually I got past the intimidation and started writing. Where does a story start for me? Usually I have a specific scene or dialogue in my head – most of the time it’s the opening (it was in this case), but sometimes it’s somewhere else. The germ for all Jimmy Delaney stories is either an interesting future tech or an odd cause of death. The story isn’t standalone, so instead of being created in a vacuum, there are already settings and supporting characters to filter in when needed (and sometimes as THEY choose to intrude.)
I only KNEW two things about Jimmy #6: the implement of death and the opening scene. So I started down that road haltingly; 70 words in the first session, then 250, 400, and then a thousand or so at a clip.
I was 2800 words into it before I had my first victim, and at that point I didn’t know WHO DUNNIT (that’s right – it’s a mystery to me, too – probably why I enjoy writing the series.) The killer appeared at around 4100 words – not because I deliberately decided to put him there, but because I needed to have an incidental character as an excuse for some dialogue Between Jimmy and one of the stock characters to further a sub-plot, and suddenly I had my killer.
Another thing that sometimes happens to me is a plot hole (more like a canyon, really) – I know some of the scenes at the beginning and near the end, but I don’t have anything in mind to join them. As hard as it is for me to get the words flowing, I don’t let myself stall out trying to bridge the canyon – I jump to the other side and write the words that are already coming out of my head. I can go back and write the bridge (usually when IT decides it’s time) and clear up any inconsistencies later.
How can I write like this – pretty much by the seat of my pants? I don’t know, but it works for me. Thinking and planning is wonderful, but like Heinlein said, a writer MUST WRITE. Outlining and plotting doesn’t work for me as a rule (at least not in short fiction), but if it’s your style, more power to you. Find the way that works for you and go for it!
**as this is posted, Jimmy #6 sits at over 6500 words, and I’ve gone back to create the bridge because now IT wants to be written. That’s probably going to be about 4 scenes, and then it will be time to write the climaxing scene and the wrap-up. I love watching the story appear!
This week’s Smashwords coupon is for “Mutiny on the Star-Bound”:
How would you like to be shanghaied to the stars? Does whether you’re human or not make a difference?
Martin Henshaw, a digital mechanic is tricked into a job with Transgalaxian, tending cybers far from home. But when he finds himself in the middle of a mutiny on the Star-Bound, Martin begins to wonder: who’s rebelling against whom?
This one started in my head with the opening scene, and it was fascinating to see where it took itself; a fun WRITE & a fun READ. Use coupon code YF28L to get 72% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until June 18th. Here’s the link:
“Mutiny on the Star-Bound” is also available in the collection – Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get Out of My Mind.
Still not sure what the July 1st release will be. I sent “Mating Rituals” out to another prospective publisher, “Obsolete” is still out at another. My favorite choice would be for Jimmy #4, but I’m still waiting to hear back on it, too. Stay tuned…
William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest publication More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• 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