Writing Wednesday: Scene Placeholders

Last Week’s Goals Report

My three posts scheduled and out there on time, and I continue to comment on other blogs sufficiently (hey, three per week isn’t that hard…)

I had another story return from market and I sent it right back out like Heinlein says I should.

WeirdButCoverMy WEIRD, But Not TOO Scary Tales collection completed its release weekend on schedule. My next release was scheduled for January 1st, but I have another themed collection I can put together for the holidays, although the theme will have nothing to do with Thanksgiving or Christmas (I’ve only written ONE story related to either of those holidays, so sue me…) Alien Thoughts will most likely be set for release November 27th.

I’ve already read all the speculative fiction novels I was supposed to for this year. I’ve paused my Audible membership (because I’m a penny pincher), and I will be relistening to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series while I write Swordsmaster: Deception (since that series seems to do the least to contaminate my writing and voice in Swordsmaster.

I’m still 3 stories short for this year, and if I honor my commitment to finish the draft of Swordsmaster: Deception, I’ll fail that goal (I wonder when I will begin to accurately estimate how long it takes me to write a novel…) I may still try to write that one idea my Significant One gave me before year’s end.

I wrote five days last week and produced 3,915 words of fiction. I’m still working to bring Swordsmaster: Deception into sync with the new outline; it has just reached 40,000 words.

Using Placeholders

Bringing Swordsmaster: Deception closer to my revamped outline has continued to be a struggle. I’ve mapped out what scenes I need, and what needs to happen in each, but then I stare at the blank page and don’t write because I can’t think of the perfect way to start. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Especially in the writing of the rough draft, the idea is to JUST WRITE whatever comes to mind – I’m supposed to hold worrying about whether it’s good until AFTER the draft is done.

Of course, it’s not just that I can’t think of the PERFECT way to start. Part of my problem is that I’m not used to writing to specifications. The story just flows out as I write, and I haven’t had much experience with “Bill, this is where you need to write a scene in which…” – the concept of writing to demand (even if it’s MY OWN DEMAND) is alien to me.

There is a way around this. If I can’t get started on the scene, I need to leave a placeholder that tells me “Bill, this is where you need to write a scene in which…”, and move on to the next section.  In a way, this is like what happens when I need a name for a character or a place but don’t want to spend the next half-hour thinking about it, I just put something like “<<NameOfTheTavernInReithal>>” so I can keep writing and go back and replace it with the real name later and keep writing  (I used to used pairs of alphabet letters instead, like AA, and then keep a record of what it meant, but I kept running out of letters…)

I don’t have to write everything in sequence – I just need to know how to sequence (that’s called plotting) it all when I’m done. So, I leave a marker, and move onto the next section, and if the scene my notes say I need pops into my head, I’ll write it – if not, then leave another placeholder and move on. Just write SOMETHING – you can come back later and improve it. Keep moving forward.

There – stalling is all done now. Just saying…

Current Promotions

Swordsmaster4Weird, But Not TOO Scary Tales has completed its In A Flash-2200Cover-Whitepromotional period (it is still a good read for Halloween, mind you), but I have other free series starters and discounted eBooks on my CURRENT PROMOTIONS PAGE – check them all out here!

Reaching Out

William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily RidingTheDevilCover_SmashwordsScience Fiction. His other 80-some-odd short stories (plus his collections & Swordsmaster) can be found at several online retailers, 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 – you know you should…), 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

• On BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/william-mangieri-58193793-177b-4177-b6f8-6192f5187ad5 
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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