Goals update from last week: Three blog posts, 10-day turnaround to markets still on track, and ePublications on schedule (the last of this year – “Sleep with the Snowmen” – will release a little early to allow time until Christmas.) Last week I wrote 3229 words of fiction. This was mostly Swordsmaster revision and character interviews, with the first revision of “Date Night” (one more revision and it will be my twelfth story out to market, which fulfills this year’s quota), and an extra revision of “Breathing is Overrated” (I was about to submit to Writers of the Future, and whenever I do that with a story, I feel like I need to give it an extra look.)
I’m learning a lot from character interviews. The first thing I’ve learned, just from a writing perspective, was that I can write even faster than I thought I could. I KNOW, and have known for quite some time that when I’m writing a rough draft, I need to ignore my internal INFERNAL editor and just write; get the story on paper first, THEN worry about cleaning it up and making it look pretty. I thought I was doing that, even prided myself PUBLICLY on this, but now I see that my INFERNAL editor was creeping back in when I wasn’t paying attention.
How do I know this? Because I normally can write between 250-400 words per hour when I’m writing a rough draft, but character interviews are over 500 words per hour. What could cause this difference? I think it’s because I view the rough draft as something other people will eventually see, so I’m hesitant about writing JUST ANYTHING down – I’m not trying to be perfect, but I am choosing my words carefully. In contrast, the character interview is never intended to be seen by anyone but me, and so I’m not being careful – I’m just letting it all come out.
I had considered posting an interview or two in a future Writing Wednesday post, but I see now that it would be a mistake. If my INFERNAL editor were to find out that someone was going to see these interviews, they would jump right in there and put the brakes on the process, so there will be none of that (at least, not until all the interviews are done, but don’t tell the INFERNAL – we’ll let him worry about it what it looks like when I try to post one, instead.)
The process is worth it. I’m not particularly good at details and descriptions, but what the characters – even the minor ones – tell me during their interviews is fleshing out and informing the world of Swordsmaster. For example, Darvish the merchant and his swords Petron and Kalban occupy several pages (about 25% so far), coming into Saandrik’s story throughout. I thought I knew them before the interviews – I could tell you what they would do in different circumstances, but I hadn’t really looked at the deeper WHY of who they are. Why was Darvish, a Southron, so far north, plying his trade among the Havel? Why had Kalban stayed with him when he was free to go his own way decades ago? And how had Petron, another out of place foreigner, come to join them? Just through those three interviews, I filled in some gaps in my world map to include three other kingdoms (I had pretty much restricted myself to Caladan Earldom in northern Havel), as well as a little military history and an understanding of the relationships between the peoples of Swordsmaster.
I didn’t know that Vaasa had a loom until I asked her how she met her husband Mikaal.
I bet this sounds strange to people who don’t write (and even those who DO write, but who work out the details BEFORE they start; we all have our own methods to our madness.) My writing process involves A LOT of surprises along the way, and as I’ve said before, a big part of the fun for me is that I don’t always know where a story is going. Swordsmaster has had some of that to begin with; although I did know where it was going to end up, I had no idea HOW it would get there. The interviews are giving me even more fun and surprises, and I think they’re going to make for a better story by the time Swordsmaster is done (the gods know when that will be…)
Anyone else out there regularly surprised by your own stories? I can’t be the only one. Just saying…
Next up for ePublication is “Sleep with the Snowmen”, a slightly different kind of Christmas story:
Ask not for whom the bells jingle…
A petty criminal crosses the wrong fat man, and is offered the opportunity to change his path; or, he could just “Sleep with the Snowmen.”
The release date is December 8th, but it’s available on preorder now at various sellers, including, but not limited to:
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent ePublication “Imperial Purrogative” 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