Writing Wednesday: Shorthand vs Longhand

Last week’s goals:

I made my three blog postings as usual, and continued to be moderately active on other people’s blogs (It helps to do this throughout the week rather than at the end.)

Still reading to Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings (it’s a long one – it would help if I wasn’t such a penny-pincher that I saw value in picking long books for my audible credits; I do the same thing with restaurants, selecting the establishment that gives me the largest servings for my buck.)

Stories rotating in and out of market as they can (I currently have five available for publication.)

I produced 2,227 words of fiction last week – not bad production, but again only on three days, so I need to improve to writing EVERY day. “Cat’s Paw” has crossed the 6,000-word mark.


I wonder if I’m making proper use of my time. It occurred to me as I considered the length of The Way of Kings that by taking advantage of my FREE TIME to listen, I’ve left myself with a lack of time for FREE THOUGHT (while I’m listening to Audible, I’m not having my inner dialogues that would spew out new stories.) Perhaps THAT is why I’m having difficulty coming up with new short fiction AND FOLLOWING THROUGH on writing. This didn’t matter so much when I was working on Swordsmaster – by the time I started listening to Audible at every opportunity, the story was cemented and I was mostly revising and rewriting. But there is a value to NOT occupying my mind – it allows my inner voices to tap me on the shoulder and introduce new ideas.

Then there’s the problem of the short-fiction mindset vs the novel. My natural way of thinking is to rebel against adding “unnecessary” words – I remember all the way back to middle school refusing to add words to an essay just to hit a particular word count – I had already made my point, why keep going?

Conciseness can be useful in short-fiction – all the words you use are supposed to be necessary. I can admire the ability of a writer to deliver robust descriptions in his prose, but do I REALLY need to know the exact color of the hero’s eyes to tell a story? In short fiction, you rely on shorthand – conveying the story with as few words as possible. You don’t have space to waste – a lot of description is just extra baggage that you wouldn’t be allowed to carry onto the plane.

But if you’re writing long-fiction, you have cargo space to take advantage of. Readers are willing to put up with those extra pieces, as long as they still get to the destination the author promised; it’s even expected for a novel to get you there with extras to make the trip more entertaining and memorable.

Because of my own sparse nature when it comes to writing, my INFERNAL EDITOR™ often chimes in when I’m trying to add even modest details, questioning why I’m including ALL THOSE WORDS – are they REALLY NECESSARY?

Well – if your readers are expecting them, then YES, they are, so best not to short them. They didn’t sign up for acronyms and bullet-points – they want it all in longhand with paragraphs and chapters, and a bit more than their own imaginings to color the story. Just saying…


Swordsmaster4Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write) is ready for reading.

Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.

The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?

Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/954501

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WNK79FM

(there is also a paperback on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691904910


CatsOfWar_IIa_CoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing (including Cats of War II, his latest collection of Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire tales) can 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

• 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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