Writing Wednesday: Writing and Revisions

Goal monitoring continues (as it always should – don’t let yourself slide.) Three blog postings, as expected. – check! Now that I’ve decided to ePublish “Victimless”, the submissions rotation (back out to another market within a week of returning from a submission.) My indie publishing schedule is still good (“Victimless” will release on June 30th.)

I wrote 1888 words (63% of quota) – all in the first revision of “Baastard’s Revenge.” I’m still stalled at 6 of the 12 required stories for this year until the final revision of “Baastards’”, which is due in two weeks.


One day, if I’m ever paid by someone to write to a specific length, we’ll see if I can make myself do it, but as I’ve said before, I don’t try to write to a particular length – the story is whatever length it decides to be. Which is why “Baastards’ Revenge” is currently 16,830 words – almost as long as the first three Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire stories combined.

In general, my process for short fiction is to make three passes at a story:

  1. A first draft (rough), in which I try to ignore my internal editor’s attempts to stop the story from making it onto the page.
  2. A first revision (cleanup), in which I look for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and facts. This is when I also look at the story and fill in plot gaps (where plots and sub plots maintain consistency throughout the story.)
  3. Send the manuscript out to my readers and wait at least two weeks before returning to the story (my memory is so poor that two weeks is more than enough time to forget what I wrote so I can read it fresh – you may need longer.)
  4. Perform a revision (final) in which I take care of errors and consistencies either discovered by my readers, or that my eyes have found now that I’ve had a break and am taking a fresh look.

The first couple of stories I wrote went through far more revisions (“Passed Life” went through over a dozen revisions in the two-plus years it took me to finish it.) A couple of pieces of guidance on this – on is Heinlein’s Rule #3:

“You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.”

(that means that unless someone has told you they’ll buy your story on the condition of specific editing, don’t do it.)

The other principle I can’t attribute completely to one source, although it was finally brought home by Dean Wesley Smith – writing (and finishing) fast doesn’t mean the story is bad – best t’were done quickly.

Also, stories and their uniqueness come out of the creative half of your brain, but once you start the cycle of rewriting a story (over and over again as SOME writers do), your internal editor takes over and tends to bland out the story’s unique voice in favor of homogenizing it into something that anyone else could have written. So the less you rewrite, the less damage you do.

Hey, it’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Just saying…


The June 30th ePub will be “Victimless” – it’s just a short story, so there won’t be a preorder campaign – 9 days to format, figure out and design a cover.


JD2DowntownBluesCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing, including his most recent publication Downtown Blues:  Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #2,  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
• 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

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