Creativity / goals / writing

Writing Wednesday: When Writing Runs Amok

Some of my objectives are being met. “Sleep with the Snowmen” made it out to market, so that’s two of the twelve I’m supposed to complete in 2017. I’m maintaining my re-submission schedule (a story gets rejected – it’s back out in a week or less.) “Immortal” will be Friday to keep to my four-week ePublishing schedule.

Last week was a pitiful one for writing (I’m just talking about mine; that’s right, it’s all about me…) I only made 668 of my 3000 words, and that was on four days. That makes last week my worst this year for honoring HEINLEIN’S RULE #1 (A writer must WRITE!), and the failure this time was caused by two things: once again not holding to my WRITE EVERY DAY schedule, and the uncooperative nature of “Breathing is Overrated.”

That’s right – a story can be uncooperative.

This may not be the case for you – if your mind is organized differently (just the idea of a mind being organized is different for me), you might be one of those people who has an idea, visualizes the plot, maps it out in an outline, and then uses that outline as a roadmap that takes you from the beginning of the story to the end. Lucky you (yes, that’s my green-eyed jealousy rearing its head.)

As I’ve said before, I’m a gateway writer; stories just come to me, and they’re rarely fully formed. Of the 71 short stories I’ve completed, maybe a half-dozen (8% or so) had enough there when I started that I knew where the story was going from the get-go. The vast majority begin with a line, or a concept, a name, or an image, and it just starts writing itself. EVENTUALLY the story finds its end, and then I just clean up the extraneous stuff.

“Breathing is Overrated” has been different. It began with the title (which is also the opening line of the story), and before I finished the first couple of sentences, I knew Jansen was floating in space, and as I wrote further, more of his background – including why he was out there – became apparent. But as I reached the 3,000-word mark it was obvious that not only didn’t I know where it was going, the story didn’t know either. I could see it flailing around, searching for a way forward, but just floating around aimlessly (like Jansen in his spacesuit.) If I wanted to see the end of this, it was time to rein it in.

What does that mean for me? I’ve had to do this a couple of times before – instead of just letting the story happen, I have to look at what I have, where it looks like it could go, and then PLAN IT OUT. I pick an ending and then map out HOW the story will get there (this time around I had to trash the last 800 words (oh, the humanity!) to get to a spot where it would make sense); there may be multiple paths, but I pick the most appealing and move on toward the end (keeping in mind that at some point the story likely will take over again and find its own way, and when that happens, I’ll give it enough rope to see if it finishes up okay, or winds up hanging itself again.) Repeat as often as necessary, because:

Heinlein’s Rule #2: You must FINISH what you write.

Just saying…


immortalcover“Immortal” is available on preorder for two more days:

Riddled with a more than terminal disease, Commander Solitaire considers an extreme way to protect the Earth. There’s more than one way to be immortal.

“Immortal” is a speculative flash fiction (that means it’s VERY, VERY SHORT), which borrows slightly from Richard III (see if you can spot the influence.) The official release date is February 10th, but you can preorder in various places, including but not limited to:




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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