writing

Writing Wednesday: It’s YOUR Story

Goals update: Last week I made my three blog posts and my minimal comments on the blogs of others.

I currently have no stories waiting to be sent out to market. There will also be no further short fiction releases until after Swordsmaster’s, so I might as well suspend tracking this (next short fiction release is currently set for October 11th, but that’s awfully close to my (yet to be firmed) Swordsmaster release in September.

Last week I continued with my Swordsmaster revisions. I logged 4,004 words of fiction, and Swordsmaster is now over 98,600 words.

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There are mistakes you can make when you’re writing.

I have no beta readers anymore (I didn’t really choose this business model – it just sort of happened. Hey, I’ve always been a loner – it’s part of why I chose writing as my creative outlet.) This lack of feedback during my writing process in and of itself is probably a mistake – at least it causes me to occasionally miss errors in my stories. But when I was first getting into writing seriously, I spent a couple of years working on my first story (“Passed Life”). I had a handful of beta readers, and I made the mistake of trying to respond to every suggestion or criticism from my readers. This is a problem when you keep changing your story to satisfy one reader, then have to change it around more for the next one. Sure, if you have multiple readers giving you the same criticism you should seriously consider taking it to heart, but remember that it’s still YOUR story, not theirs.

There can also be a problem with comparing your work to that of others. I ran into a severe illustration of this while simultaneously working on Swordsmaster and reading A Song of Ice and Fire. Not only was I looking at the disparity between George R.R. Martin’s depth of detail and my own, but Swordsmaster’s voice started sliding toward that of Game of Thrones. Swordsmaster was never intended to have that feel. Switching my listening to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series helped swing Swordsmaster’s voice back to where it needed to be, but still allowed me to fall into another comparison trap. Sure, Swordsmaster shares a kinship with The Wheel of Time, it’s NOT the exact same voice or style, and I’m NOT Robert Jordan. This isn’t a criticism of my own quality or skill as a writer (although I have no delusions of grandeur); it’s a statement of each story (and writer’s) UNIQUENESS. Again, remember – this is YOUR story, not theirs.

Another mistake you can make involves rewrites and revisions. When your story fist comes into your mind (from wherever) and makes it onto the page, it’s in its purest form. It has its own voice, its own style, even distinct from anything else you may have written. Then, once your rough draft is set down, you begin trying to clean it up. Some of this is necessary – typos, grammar, name switches – things that are actual mistakes that need to be corrected. Sometimes you have holes in your story that you need to plug – some foreshadowing you didn’t include, or plot clarifications, or background info you needed to flesh out your story. But often, revisions and rewriting become a perpetual motion machine, where you keep changing and correcting your story away from it’s own unique voice into a homogenous mediocrity that anyone else could have written. (I think I have managed to preserve Swordsmaster‘s voice, despite how interminable the revision process has seemed. Hope I’m not fooling myself…)

AGAIN: this is YOUR STORY. Learn to value it for what it is – don’t turn it into a pale imitation of the work of some other author (or even a poor imitation of itself.) Let your story be itself. Just saying…

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Collection7eBookCoverThere is still a Smashwords coupon out there for the next ten people who purchase the collection More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (If you purchase the collection on Smashwords with coupon code BT87H you will receive a 67% discount – that’s only 99-cents for SIX stories – such a deal!) The collection includes “Dredging Things Up”, “Saturday He Fed the Cat”, “Finding Sanctuary”, “#InWhoseReality?”, “Gladius”, and “Behind the 8-Ball.”:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/638073

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William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent release “Truth in Advertising” – TruthInAdvertisingCovercan be found 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

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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