My goals march along…
Blog posting, market recycling, and ePublishing schedules continue apace. I finished Alvin Journeyman, so that’s 4 of the 6 speculative fiction books I was supposed to read this year.
I wrote 3026 words of fiction, so that’s three weeks in a row of making my weekly 3000 word quota. All of it was on Herc Tom #5, which is now over 6500 words (I failed to write at all on 2 different days, but immediately made up the loss the following day – I am still disappointed in that failure despite making my weekly quota; I need to be diligent about writing EVERY day.)
“Baastards’ Revenge” is posted for preorder, and “Truth in Advertising” has gone out to market, so I’m sitting at 8 of 12 stories this year. Herc Tom #5 will make 9. At that point I should be able to churn out the last three stories over the remainder of 2017 as I to knuckle down (I think that’s an expression) and work on Swordsmaster. Still have to figure out HOW to account for writing production (word output) while revising the novel (having a metric really helps in gauging whether I’m actually being productive.)
I read a couple of posts by David Farland (the coordinating judge for the WOTF competition), and as often happens when I read about writing, I started analyzing myself (well, I never stop analyzing myself – I mean my writing) to see where I fall short. The post that particularly got me thinking was “What Makes a Story Great?” The consensus (from David and others he mentioned in the article) was that you can tell a story is good enough for a Hugo or other award if it makes the reader cry.
I will admit that when I read a story on Daily Science Fiction and rate it, I mostly reserve a 7 (out of 7) for a story that is not only well-written, but that brings tears to my eyes. But does it have to be tears? I believe that a worthy story can also make you angry, or astonished, or fill you with a palpable hope – quicken your pulse, or horrify you in some way – anything that heightens the reader’s emotions and thus firmly implants itself in their memory.
Of course, my own theories about memorable, impactful and lasting art also involve making your story amorphous – not tied to any particular time or event (the more specific you get, the lower the percentage of readers who can truly identify with it.) You don’t want your story anchored to the external details – the strength is in the universally appealing, spiritual (I don’t mean RELIGIOUS) underpinning. The difference between U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is that the first relies on knowledge of an actual event in a particular time to appreciate it, whereas the second could be transported years into the future or past and still have meaning.
What does it say about me that the stories I seem to gravitate toward writing are about self-centered sociopaths? The chef in “A Dish Best Served”, the gigolo in “Dredging Things Up”, the suffering son in “The Body” are all relatively unemotional characters. Or are they? Is it just that their base emotions are harder to identify with? An example of a “rule” that you can break if you’re willing to suffer the consequences – a point-of-view character who is out of the norm of decent people enough that they can’t identify with him. Coldly controlled. Is it because I tend to control my own emotions? Disturbing…
But back to evoking deep feelings in your readers; you have to really put your passion out there – risk exposing your own deep inner truths. If you are skillful enough as a writer, then the reader will feel it. I think this is difficult to do in short fiction, near impossible in flash – you just don’t have as much time or real estate to deeply connect with the reader. I’m going to try harder to find ways to make that connection in my stories, and I’ll put particular emphasis on it when I restart Swordsmaster (Lord knows I’ll have enough words to spare for the effort.)
“Baastards’ Revenge” – the fourth story of my Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series – is prepped and ready to go.
Champion of the Empire Hercules Tom thinks this is a mere diplomatic mission to Baast; little does he know what the Baastards have in store for him. But don’t worry – this cat has proven time and again that he has more than the usual nine lives.
The release date is July 28th, but it’s available for preorder at a reduced price now in the usual places, including, but not limited to:
Since the preorder campaign has begun for “Baastards’ Revenge”, NOW would be a good time to read the first three Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire stories, all conveniently collected in Cats of War I:
“Purr Mission” – Major Tom’s dander is up. His cub is dying of the Morient Virus, and he knows their sworn enemies are responsible (the Baastards!), but bureaucats order him not to go to their planet to recover the antidote. Well, it’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask Purr-mission.
“Nipped in the Butt” – More intrigue as a familiar hallucinogen finds its way into Ramses society. Are their long-time adversaries behind it? Time for Major Tom to save the Empire again…
“Cat and Mouse” – Major Tom has plans for his leave time: this cat is finally going to get some much needed R&R with his mates. But recent additions to the household (including his Admiral father-in-law and an uppity mouse chef), as well as an unexpected visit from yet another enemy puts his whiskers in a twist.
I’m offering a Smashwords coupon to cut the price to just 99-cents for the collection (such a deal!) Here’s the link on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588921
Remember to use coupon code WF25Z
William Mangieri’s writing, including his previous publication “Victimless”, 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