Creativity / goals / writing

Writing Wednesday: Honestly

First, my goals updated:

  • 3/3 blog postings
  • Back-to-market rotation within 7 days is back on track
  • ePublication every 4 weeks is on schedule (“Victimless” releases June 30th.)
  • I wrote a very disappointing 820 (of expected 3000) words (a mere 27% of quota.) I’ve been a bit slipshod with my writing commitment, trying to make up for not writing at the start of the week by cramming at the end. I KNOW it will only work if I’m consistent, so starting this week I’m holding myself to a 300-word-per-day minimum. We’ll see how that goes…
  • Still sitting at 6 of 12 new stories for this year; the seventh (“Baastard’s Revenge”) is scheduled to complete final revision this weekend. I’ve started #’s 8 and 9 (Herc Tom #5 and “Paranoia.”)
  • Have yet to return to the next draft of Swordsmaster.
  • I’ve “read” 3 of my 6 spec fiction novels so far (Orson Scott Card’s first three Tales of Alvin Maker) with the help of Audible.)


As happens sometimes, I had a great deal of difficulty coming up with a cover for “Victimless” – I had some ideas (a woman behind glass watching herself, her husband and child having breakfast), but couldn’t find free images that would help me create it. In the end, I settled for the cover I created (see below); it makes sense if you read the story, but it’s not compelling. I’m sure I could have come closer to my vision if I’d taken more time, but I had already spent too much of that valuable and scarce commodity on the task already, and also was coming up on my deadline. Like everything else in life (and writing) there are tradeoffs – it isn’t worth it to me to lose five hours of writing to create a cover for a short story. MAYBE for a novel – I’m thinking about drawing the cover for Swordsmaster, but I have plenty of time to think on that before it’s done.


As I’ve explained before, I do my cover art on the cheap – my guiding principle has been that I can’t afford to spend money on my writing that I’m not making with my writing, and – truth and candor in operation, I don’t sell much.

Some people might say you have to spend money to make money, but I don’t have enough faith in my ability to promote, so it would be like throwing that money down a hole with no hope of seeing it again.

It’s not about the quality of my writing – I think my writing is fine. I know I’m not perfect (no one is; we are all different and each have our own strengths), and may be an acquired taste (which is somewhat limiting when the audience for speculative fiction is already itself limited.) I tell a good story – I don’t have any problems with ideas or plotting, and dialogue just naturally falls out of my head (probably my theatre background.) Where I feel I’m my weakest is in description – I tend to be a bit sparse. This isn’t too bad a trait in short fiction, and I’m told my stories read very quickly – not just because they’re short – there’s something about the way my words flow that catches people by surprise who only intended to read a little and are suddenly on the last page.

Who are my influences? I think I’m a child of mid-century television – at least Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. My mind tends toward the odd twist, and my stories often appear in my mind as though on a television screen (old black & white CRTs, not modern flat-screens.)

I don’t know that I can rightly say who or what writers influenced me – there was a time when I read A LOT, but not so much now, and my memory of what I’ve read is a bit hazy. I can point out authors and some specific stories that I think have stayed with me and are similar to some of my stories.

Edgar Allan Poe is a definite – I have a particular affinity for “The Cask of Amontillado”, which influenced my “A Dish Best Served.” William Tenn’s satire (especially “The Flat-Eyed Monster”), and the voice of the protagonist in Ambrose Bierce’s “An Imperfect Conflagration” infused my narrator in “The Body.”

I find reading Orson Scott Card to be inspiring. He has a way of making me care about his characters that I wish was bottled for my own use, which is why I’m working through his Alvin Maker series now, hoping that some of it will rub off on me by the time I return to Swordsmaster.

Just saying…


VictimlessCoverThe release date for “Victimless” is in 2 more days:

A murderer’s defense team proposes a novel approach to making crime truly victimless (or at least as victimless as it can be, considering it IS a crime.)

“Victimless” is a speculative fiction short story. It is currently available for preorder on all the usual sites, including, but not limited to:




JD2DowntownBluesCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing, including his most recent publication Downtown Blues:  Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #2,  can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• 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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