Writing Wednesday: The Devil with the Details

Goals watchlist: 3 blog posts. Stories cycled to market as soon as markets were available. “The Voices” eBook released on time last week. I made comments the requisite number of blogs (just barely.)

I wrote a piddling 993 words on Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire #6 (yes, still with no title – I like to be further in (and know where the story is going) before I decide what name makes sense.) I have been grumbling rather loudly at myself for my lack of productivity – which is to say I have been ineffective at stirring myself to write more. Some of it is LIFE INTERRUPTSUS issues, but it’s mostly a combination of NOT FORCING some writing time, and just some good old-fashioned WRITER’S BLOCK when I do sit down. This week I am attempting to remedy the FORCING part – I must sit and write every day, and set down at least 300 words. (As of this posting I have written NOTHING in the first two days this week – I seem to be in a pattern that even my own PUBLIC SHAMING may not be able to remedy. We shall see…)


One of the most intimidating things about reading Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is the level of detail – he comes close to describing enough detail that I can see and feel his world. But there are also times where it to goes a bit overboard (like that time Tyrion stops to examine the composition of an ancient road; why?), but it all still fits together in the weave of his story.

Robert Jordan doesn’t quite go that deep – he definitely is more detailed than I am, but there are times when I realize (after the fact) that he has only given very sketchy descriptions, but the strength of the plot or specific actions or what’s going through his characters’ minds transported me to where the details were unnecessary.

Detail has never been my strength (which is why I envy it like the green of my neighbor’s lawn.) My strengths are in ideas, plotting, and dialogue. There’s also something I have that I don’t know the name for: people who have read my works have told me that they sat down intending to read only a little and were surprised with how fast it read (not just because it’s short fiction, but my words somehow flow more swiftly than they expected.) I doubt I will ever feel that my details are as good as they could be, but I am trying to learn – that is why as writers we are supposed to read the work of others; the pure pleasure of it is a bonus.

Detail isn’t always there – sometimes (most times) it is hinted at just enough to make us think we read it, when in fact we created it in our own minds. The real art is not to create the exact same image in each person’s mind (that would be an unparalleled feat), but to give the reader JUST ENOUGH to color what they’re envisioning without trampling on their imaginings (sort of like my theory about how a song can have universal appeal the less detailed it is – finding a way to cut straight to the listener’s emotions and analogous life-experiences without introducing a lot of alien (to them) information.)

We can’t all write like George R.R. Martin, or Robert Jordan, or anyone else – and we shouldn’t, unless we want to be like those painters who are really good at impersonating the Masters, but who are counterfeits have no distinctive style of their own. We should learn from others, but WRITE AS OURSELVES – that distinctive voice is what gives our work true value.

Just saying…


VoicesCover“The Voices” is out there with the rest of my standalone short fiction and collections:

Billy Thompson knows the voices are real, even if they are just in his head. Or are they coming from somewhere else?

“The Voices” is a speculative fiction short story. It’s available on various online sellers, including:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/889532

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GH57XB6


BlueNeonCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing – including his other ePublication, such as “Interview with the Blue Neon God” – 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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