Writing Wednesday: Pick Your Poison

Progress from last week: Made my three blog posts as usual, as well as my quota of comments on other blogs. Still looking for a new market for “Schizo the Magnificent.” Have started prepping “Truth in Advertising” for its June 21st release.

Last week I managed to spend time on all seven days (helps that I was on vacation from my day job) revising Swordsmaster – I finished the revision I was on plus another. I get credit for 6,351 words of fiction, and Swordsmaster is now near 95,500 words.


One of the helpful things about reading other authors (it’s implied that these other authors are successful since they’re published – I’m not in the habit yet of randomly choosing authors yet who no one else has read), is that you get to learn about RULES. Not necessarily that you should follow them, though.

One of the rules I remember being emphasized everywhere I studied about writing (as though it was a RULE that all sites and books purporting to teach about writing needed to include it) was about words ending in LY (usually an adverb.) “Don’t do it!” the rules say. Using too many LY words is the sign of a writer with a weak command of language.

Well, I don’t consider Robert Jordan to be a weak author, but I can find plenty of LY words in his work. (I’m not sure what the cost of that rule is – perhaps you lose the respect of the INTELLIGENTSIA and don’t get invited to as many cocktail parties…) He also repeats the use of words in a sentence, or in adjoining sentences, which is also a no-no. I’m aware of it when he does it, but it doesn’t stop my reading.

Another thing you’re not supposed to do is misspell words to look more like the way your character (with an accent) is saying them – it supposedly distracts your reader from the story. I’ve done this myself on occasion, and I’ve seen authors do this to good effect (adding flavor), and some to excess where the reading becomes impossible (but in some cases that may be the point the author is trying to make.)

You also read authors in a particular genre to understand the rules for that genre (as in READER EXPECTATIONS.) Of course, it seems a bit counter-intuitive to say you can’t innovate in a genre (that’s how we wound up with that genre in the first place – someone decided to break with reader expectation and created something new.)

One of the things you’re told about rules (by the more flexible RULE MONGERS) is that you can disobey rules, but you must realize that rebellion comes with a price. When you make a decision to ignore a rule, it’s almost as if there’s a tally sheet of rule-breaking, and you have to compare the negatives you’re accumulating with whatever positive you think you gain by breaking the rules (of course, the costs and benefits are all subjective. There is no agreed on, scientifically derived chart that helps you determine your RULES VIOLATIONS BALANCE (unless Watson or some other aspiring AI has created one.) Ultimately, the READERS get to determine whether your rule-breaking was worth it.

There is a danger with trying to adhere slavishly to rules. Assuming that we could all learn to be perfect, BY-THE-RULES writers, would there be any variety – any UNIQUENESS to our stories? Or would they all begin to seem part of a homogenized soup of PROPER LITERATURE (something that Watson could probably create right now.) What decisions you make as an author – which rules you decide to thumb your nose at – may be the very thing that makes your work stand out.

In the end – as an author – you have to pick your own poison. Just saying…


There’s still an outstanding coupon for my collection And Yet Still Even More Things ICollection6eBookCover Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (the next ten people to purchase the collection at Smashwords with coupon code LZ78M will receive a 67% discount (so you pay only 99-cents for SIX stories – such a deal!):

Stories included: “The Red Barrens”, “Dempsey’s Debut”, “Look Both Ways”, “The Final Ending?”, “Close Enough”, and, of course, “The Wolves Will Come.”

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/587154


William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent release “Date Night” – can be DateNightCoverfound in many places, including, but not limited to:
• 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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