Writing Wednesday: Listening and Learning

Goals… Blog posts have still kept to quota, and I did a better at being a couple of days ahead of posting date. I’m prepping the next ePub (“Stalking Rebecca”), but the cover is giving me problems (cheap doesn’t = easy); hope to have it ready by this weekend. Ten-day rotations back to market are still difficult to maintain, but I’ve managed to keep most of them in that range.

My word tally was only 772 out of last week’s 3,000-word quota. “Schitzo the Magnificent” insisted on being written, so most of the words were for the first draft and revision. “Date Night” is also being pushy and contributed just under a hundred words (it will probably force me to write it in the next week or so.) The continuing work on Swordsmaster accounted for even less – more on that below.


I am now totally in the thrall of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and I find it very hard to stop listening. Some things I’ve noticed that surprised me – I worry all the time about repeating phrasing in my own writing, but Martin often repeats descriptions, whether it’s how much someone’s hair has been brushed, or how the walls at Winterfell are warmed. I notice the repetition, but it works (I wonder if he intended it as a device, like the repetition use in the Homeric conventions of storytelling?)

The breakdown of the story into individual chapters, each told by its own POV character is a good device – when clues to what’s happening are discovered, the character doesn’t know what the reader does, so plots are revealed to the reader while the characters remain none-the-wiser. I often become frustrated, yelling at the characters when they don’t catch on. Another way to involve the reader…

I find Rowling’s Harry Potter books to be as involving – the descriptions aren’t as textured, the settings not as intricate, and yet the world is as alive, and the characters as involving, but it’s done in different ways. Heinlein was an expert at thinking and science, and didn’t give me as much character or a feel for the setting, and yet he could still sell you on a story.

Not all books are written the same, and we shouldn’t strive as writers to make ours just like someone else’s. Yet I am jealous, and almost disheartened as I listen. The artistry in word-choice, the craftsmanship with which Martin keeps me turning pages makes me painfully aware of my shortcomings as a writer. It verges on discouragement, but I hope instead to use it as a learning experience to help me improve my work.

You can learn to write from other authors, but you cannot learn to be them. We each have our own voice(s.) If you choose to write in someone else’s style – become a mimic, then what distinguishes your work? Do you really want someone rechecking the cover to make sure they’re not reading Martin or Rowley? Or do you want them to appreciate YOUR uniqueness?

A Game of Thrones is particularly intimidating as sparsely as I normally write. Swordsmaster is still sitting around 61,000 words as I do some research that I neglected early on (because I could still write the story – and HAD TO) without stopping the narrative to find out what the merchant Darvish would be trading in, or why Reithal is located where it is, or what Dragor Tarlenon would wear. All of these things will help add color and detail (and words) to the story – and hopefully I can get more at ease (and adept) with the “extra” verbage.

Just saying…


This year’s remaining releases:

October 20th: “Stalking Rebecca” – Vampires are always good for Halloween.

November 17th: “Imperial Purrogative” (Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire #5.)

December 15th: “Sleep with the Snowmen” – because he knows when you’ve been bad or good, so…


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
• 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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