writing

Writing Wednesday: Learning and Growing

Goals… I’m managing my blog postings okay, but I want to start getting ahead on them a couple of days so I’m not in panic mode when I’m writing them. WordPress has done me the favor of now allowing me to schedule a posting instead of having to manually publish it when it’s time (at least I THINK they just added it), so that might help me be more disciplined.

As noted below, I’ve lined up my ePubs for the rest of the year, aided in part by the glut of stories I have in rotation, and the problems with not having enough markets to send them to.

I only wrote 488 words last week – a pretty pitiful metric. Of course, this is all on Swordsmaster, and I’m now in the process of solidifying locations (creating maps), charting histories and timelines, and researching some of the background details so it feels like there’s more reality behind it (yes, FANTASY still needs some degree of REALITY to work – ever see a dragon and think ‘that doesn’t look real’? A reader can only suspend so much disbelief.) I don’t know how to measure my production in terms of a word count when I’m not actually writing. Any ideas?

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When I decided to make writing part of my MIDLIFE RENAISSANCE™, my “studies” emphasized the importance of reading what’s already out there, especially in your genre. I will confess, I haven’t spent much time reading spec fiction in that time, but Audible has changed that. There really is a value to reading the works of others. Aside from seeing what’s already out there and what’s expected (understanding the genre’s collective consciousness), it’s also instructive when evaluating your own skills – both your strengths and weaknesses.

What are the things I know I’m good at? That would be ideas, plotting, dialogue. Where I fail – or at least am frighteningly deficient – is detailed description and characterization. For short fiction I can get by, but on longer fiction there is more room for – and expectation of – DETAILS.

When I read Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!, I marveled (and laughed out loud more times than I can count) at his use of simile and metaphor (often absurd) to both describe details and enhance the humor at the same time. It made my own use of language feel so inadequate and plain – something I hope to remedy as I continue to grow my skills.

I’ve finished my six reads for this year, but now (again, thanx to Audible) I’m continuing on with Game of Thrones (no, I haven’t watched the show, and I hadn’t read any of the books.) I’m impressed with how thoroughly absorbing George R.R. Martin’s descriptions are – I experience the smells, can feel the cold and the different textures he describes. I hope to emulate this as I continue revising and beefing up Swordsmaster.

He also gets me inside his multiple characters in ways that I feel like I know them (at first I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep them straight, there are so many of them – the cast of my stories are fairly small, and it doesn’t take much to distinguish between them (and again, short-fiction doesn’t allow a lot of space for this), but long fiction like Swordsmaster is a different experience for me. There are over twenty significant characters, and another thirty or so named, and each of these will need to be detailed as I revise (they are pretty much non-descript sketches right now.) Lots of work to do.

No one said it would be easy – even if I occasionally fooled myself into thinking that. Like with everything else, you learn and grow or you die.

Just saying…

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This year’s remaining releases:

October 20th: “Stalking Rebecca” – the story is what I consider a creepy but light horror, so it fits for my pre-Halloween release. Need to get working on my cover.

November 17th: “Imperial Purrogative” (Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire #5) – it’s long, and it’s hard to sell publishers on novelettes; stories in a series are also a hard-sell as well.

December 15th: “Sleep with the Snowmen” – this story just HAS to be my Christmas release.

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Collection9CoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent collection Just Some More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get Out of My Mind – 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

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