Creativity / goals / writing

Writing Wednesday: When Should You Give Up on a Story?

Last week I fell short on my writing goal – only 2013 of the 3000-word target. I wrote a little every day (but a couple of days VERY little); my efforts were slowed by a pernicious internal editor (addressed further below.) My first story of 2017 (“Victimless”) has gone to market (that means it’s now playing musical rejections – fulfilling Heinlein’s rules 4 (You must put the work on the market) and 5 (You must keep the work on the market until it is sold).)

I’m now 2800 words into “Breathing is Overrated”, and it’s been giving me fits since the day after it started. The difficulties came from a couple of directions, the minor being my internal editor, which reared its ugly head and tricked me into changing the verb tenses (by convincing me the tense I was using sounded stupid), and then had me change it back (because it sounded even stupider.) As a rule, you shouldn’t listen to your internal editor until the rough draft is done – you can always go back and fix things later, but the story itself is a fragile thing that needs to be gotten out before it disappears in a fog.

The bigger problem has to do with my writing method (and what makes writing a novel so fraught with peril.) I’m a stream-of-consciousness writer (or a gateway writer, as Sarah Hoyt calls it.) I don’t use outlines for short fiction because it’s rare for me to know where a story is going to take me (that’s right, I don’t take a story anywhere – it goes there all by itself, and drags me along.) My SHORT short-term memory issues come into play if I don’t write a draft continuously (skipping no more than a day or so in between) – the story twists around and goes other places than IT originally intended, and often this means that the beginning, end, and middle parts lose cohesion and relationship with each other. Even though the originating idea is still the same, it feels like different days are heading for alternate realities.

Is there a point at which a story fights you so much you should just give up? As tempting as it is, a bigger part of what makes me tick is a refusal to give up (Never give up! Never surrender!), and the last thing I will do willingly is throw something out once I’ve started. This may seem like good money after bad, but I can’t help it – I yam what I yam.

Just saying…


 “Immortal” is due for release February 10th.


collectivecoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing, including his latest publication “The Collective Is All” can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri


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