Writing Wednesday: Adding Color (and Touch, and Taste, and…)

Last week’s progress:

Three blog posts as per usual. I Just discovered an email I had overlooked; “Truth in Advertising” was actually rejected back in November, so I’ve lost three months of shopping it around because I thought it was still under consideration.

My commenting on others’ blogs continues to be adequate. My March 1st release will be “Reining Cats and Dogs” (Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire #7) and is available for a couple more days of preorders (see below.)

I’ve started another round of revision on Swordsmaster – this one intended to add the sort of details I normally neglect in my short fiction – the weather, sound, scents, clothing, the appearance of the various characters, and stronger hints of the thoughts in their heads. I’ve gotten off to a slow start on this one – the flu and the rest of the events of last week certainly haven’t helped, so all I managed to log last week was 181 words. Pitiful. Oh, but wait – I said I was going to stop worrying about that. Well, we can see how well THAT is working…


Detail just doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t tend to use flowery language, and my thinking on stories is mostly dominated by plot – what has happened, what’s coming next. I tend to rush ahead of description and spend my time on plot and dialogue – my details are sparing – only what I consider ESSENTIAL for the story.

I know this dearth of detail is a short-coming when it comes to long fiction, and Swordsmaster being my first truly LONG fiction (a NOVEL now approaching 90,000 words is a whole new experience when my longest previous works were a couple of my Herc Tom stories at @ 17,000 words each, which is the top end of the NOVELLETTE classification), it’s taking me quite a lot of focus to MAKE MYSELF include those details.

Like I said, this is unnatural to me, so I can’t rely on the details just organically appearing in my writing – I have to force it. To accomplish this, I set a goal for each revision/rewrite pass I make on my manuscript. For the pass I’ve just started, I’m supposed to pay particular attention to detail, especially related to season and weather related color; even whether it’s day or night – I’ve tended to neglect mentioning it unless it was IMPORTANT (you keep using that word, Bill; I don’t think it means what you think it means) to the scene. Now I have to make a deliberate effort to include it (although I will try not to go overboard like George R.R. Martin micro-describing the composition of the road Tyrion was traveling; some things are REALLY not important.)

Another thing I’ve worried about with the novel is that, as you add more characters and length to a story, how it becomes possible to start repeating yourself. How many ways can you describe how blonde a person’s hair is? You will eventually use the same phrase. Well, I don’t have a count of how many times that Robert Jordan wrote a variation of “his smile did not reach his eyes”, but the repetitions didn’t hurt the story (and were certainly more poetic than “his fake smile.”) It’s more important to paint a picture for the reader than to have every word and description be unique.

I have no idea how many passes I’m going to have to make – I know that as I finish one pass, I’ll think I’ve done a good job – until I start the next and see how plain it still looks.

Well, who said writing was supposed to be easy? Just saying…


ReiningCatsAndDogsCoverUp next for publication is another Herc Tom story – “Reining Cats and Dogs.”

Empress Isabella continues to increase her hold on power with the help of her Slobberer allies. It’s up to our Champion of the Empire and his friends to do something about it.

“Reining Cats and Dogs” is a speculative fiction novelette, and is the seventh of the “Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire” stories, following “Purr Mission”, “Nipped in the Butt”, “Cat and Mouse”, “Baastards’ Revenge”, “Imperial Purrogative”, and “Cats Out of the Bag.” The release date is March 1, but it’s available at a promotional preorder price for TWO MORE DAYS at several online retailers, including (but not limited to):

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/924409

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NW6BFBH


William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent release “Cats Out of the Bag” – can catsoutofthebag2coverbe 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

• 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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