Creativity / writing

Writing Wednesday: Under the Influence

Last week’s goals: 3 blog posts. Stories cycled to market on schedule when markets are available. My next release date for ePublication is July 13th, so I have to decide what that will be – most likely another short story.

I made a handful of comments out there in blog-land as I attempt to stop being invisible. To paraphrase a wireless ad campaign, Can you see me now?

I finished Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time, book 3), and because I had not yet received my monthly credit on Audible (hey – I have to live within a budget), I started Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars (I had gotten it on a BOGO earlier) – enjoying it, but not a good choice while editing Swordsmaster (more below the ‘*****’.)

I had a productive week on my Swordsmaster rewrite – 4,541 words written, and Swordsmaster is now 83,100 words. I’m a little unsure whether I’ll finish this revision by the end of this month – I still have 25% of the current draft to go through, and I think I do need t finish this round before I table walk away from Swordsmaster.


Be careful about writing under the influence. No – I don’t mean drugs (that should go without saying – most anything done under a MIND-ALTERED state may seem LIKE, WOW, but only until you sober up. Sort of like drinking and driving – the results are iffy at best, deadly and LIFE-ALTERING most likely.)

There have been a few authors/bloggers I’ve read who’ll post examples of music they listen to when writing, and what mood they use it to help with. I can’t do that. If I listen to anything that has lyrics, I start singing along, and that takes an important part of my brain (and I don’t have much to spare) away from the writing. The lyrics even start appearing on the page if I continue typing. No good, there (not the same thing as consciously using a song lyric as a writing prompt.)

Instrumental music is a problem, too. I spent a lot of my youth playing and playing around with instruments (trumpet, French horn, alto horn, trombone, guitar, keyboards), and I tend to hear and play along with the instruments in my head. And if there’s any sort of beat to it I start drumming on everything, and you can imagine what THAT does to my typing.

Actually, the influence I meant to be talking about was what you’re reading in the same time-frame while you’re writing. I’ve mentioned the impact that listening to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series had on me – aside from becoming entirely too jealous of his world-creating ability and the level of detail, I started trying to make Swordsmaster more like it. For example, how complicated did the story needed to be? My character interviews provided some interesting background information and depth, but it didn’t all have to be included in the novel (which is what A Song of Ice and Fire feels like), and extra material started weighing down my story as I progressed through my revisions. Fortunately, Mr. Martin left me hanging by not finishing the series YEARS ago, so that I switched to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, which is a much better match for the feel of Swordsmaster. Gradually it helped me realize that Martin was sending me in the wrong direction, although the later parts of this revision are still suffering from the influence. I’ll simplify-it-all-back when I return to revising in the fall (well, maybe not ALL the way back, but more in line with what the story had been intended to be.) Now, with only one week to go with this revision, I don’t think there’ll be time for Red Mars to pull it in yet another direction.

It’s a little disconcerting (no, it’s A LOT) to see how I allowed myself to be led astray. It was almost like the few times I was able to get beta readers to critique my work in the early days of my writing “career”, and I would change my story to match what they thought it would be, instead of staying with and strengthening what I knew instinctively it was meant to be. Those missteps and misdirections were conscious, but this one was more subliminal. I will need to be on guard in the future, or Swordsmaster will never be finished (just like it took me two years to finish “Passed Life”), or it will become less than it was meant to be by becoming too much.

It’s your creation – be careful what you let creep into it. Just saying…

What works for you? What causes changes in how you write? Feel free (or obligated, if that doesn’t work) to post yours in the comments.)


CollectionTheLast3CoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent collection The Last Three ‘Things I Could Get Out of My Mind’  – can be found in many places, including:
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• His Amazon Author page:
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• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

One thought on “Writing Wednesday: Under the Influence

  1. Pingback: Forecast Friday: Focusing on the Future | William Mangieri's Writing Page

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