Creativity / writing

Writing Wednesday: The Value of Reading the Work of Others

First, to last week’s goals: I’m focused on Swordsmaster for the first half, so I’m not writing any short fiction right now (I’ll stop updating on my ten story quota until July – unless some rogue story forces me to write it.) My stories are going back out to market as quickly as they can. The first ePub for this year (“Out of Place” – see below for links) will be released on the 19th (this Friday.)  everything I have is out to publishers right now, so I’ll decide Friday on which story it will be if nothing has come back by then. Blogs continue to post. I managed to comment on a couple of other blogs. Still not three  – I hav to get more comfortable with feeling like I’m not just piling on and saying “Me, too!”

I generated 3391 words – that’s two weeks in a row above my 3,000 word quota. Swordsmaster is now over 67,000 words.

(BTW – to clear up any confusion, a goal is something that you can make happen. I don’t include things like “Make X dollars off my stories”, or sell a story to a traditional publisher – those are MILESTONES, not GOALS. And of course, I also leave out things like “Become independently wealthy from my writing”, because that’s just a dream within a dream…

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Since I started getting serious about writing some seven or so years ago, I’ve only given lip-service to the value of reading other people’s work to a writer. I had it as a check-box on my list of goals each year, but I worked toward it as though it was an end in itself – I really wasn’t learning from the process, although I was enjoying it as a reader.

That has changed in the last few months, during which time I’ve read one Terry Pratchett book (Guards! Guards!), and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Maybe it’s because working on Swordsmaster (a novel) has forced me to pay more attention to details. I tend to skim a lot when I read, more interested in plot than any other element, and that’s what I focus on when I write short fiction.

Pratchett writes (I think it’s proper to use present tense when speaking of a deceased author) the way I think – full of puns and sideways approaches to saying things. He always seems to be looking for (and finding) the humor in humanity (is that why they both begin with HUM?), and builds his details to enforce that. I find myself charmed by his details, but more immersed in the emotions of his characters.

Martin is writing a huge epic, and uses details to immerse you in his world. You feel the cold, hear (and feel) the scrape steel, the discomfort of sweat and scars. He builds mood and uses detail to foreshadow things to come. He’s also especially effective in getting you inside the minds of his characters – especially aided by using a different POV character in each chapter. I don’t think that will work for me on Swordsmaster – it’s currently third-person-limited, staying with Saandrik except for three scenes where he isn’t present (the prologue some four-hundred years before his birth, a scene that introduces the young Dragor Tarlenon fifteen years before the main action, and one other scene from Vaasa’s perspective two-thirds of the way through the present timeline.)

No one would mistake Pratchett for Martin; they each have their strengths, and appeal in their own ways. The main thing I’ve learned is that there are different ways to be a great writer. I’ve learned a lot from the two of them to make my writing better, and I hope that my next book (by R.A. Salvatore) will show me yet more ways to improve my writing.

Just saying…

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OutOfPlaceCover1My next ePub release will be “Out of Place”. I missed the deadline to post it as a preorder on Amazon, so I won’t have any links for that until Friday, but here’s the blurb and the cover:

So many things out of place. Wildlife. Tribesmen. Husbands…

Wildlife seems to be overrunning Sue’s neighborhood. At first Sue thinks that’s all it is, just local fauna run amuck, but her world is changing; an uncomfortable situation for someone who expects everything to stay where it belongs. Who knows where it will all end up?

“Out of Place” is currently available for preorders on Smashwords – here’s the link:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/780752

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SleepWithTheSnowmenCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing – including his latest ePublication “Sleep with the Snowmen” – 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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