Last Week’s Goals
All my blog posts went out on schedule. Two stories returned from market and were turned around, and a publisher I’d been waiting on opened their reading window so “Installment Plan” could get back out there.
My next eRelease is scheduled for September 3rd. Haven’t started prepping “Possession” (Detective Jimmy Delaney #8) yet – I need to get onto that.
I’m still participating in the writing group that I joined this year. Last week they needed someone to present something for the group to critique, so I volunteered and submitted my two most recent efforts, and was encouraged by the reception (this is a kind group, but they are also politely honest, which is what I hope for in feedback.) I was pleased to hear that my world-building was very good (and a little surprised, because I consider it to be one of my weak points, but I think we often see huge warts in ourselves that others see as freckles.) I completed final revisions on “And Then Her Tail Fell Off” and “Remembering” (formerly called “Memories”), and sent both of them out to market, so my current tally for completed stories this year is seven – three more to go.
I made my weekly fiction quota again (just barely) – 3,713 words. I wrote all seven days, but three of those came up short on my daily. The final revisions of “And Then Her Tail Fell Off” (994 words), “Remembering” (2,239), plus work on the rough draft of Jimmy Delaney #9 (currently over 4,799 words) made up that pile of words.
On the MARKETING & PROMOTIONS front…
(Remember – if you have Kindle Unlimited, Swordsmaster is still FREE for you to read. You can check it out here:
The SMASHWORDS JULY SUMMER/WINTER SALE also finished up (yes, July is finally over), and results were similarly disappointing. I believe there’s simply too much free stuff out there for a discount to compete with. I will continue trying to find ways to get people to at least look at my stuff (hey, I don’t just write for myself, although sometimes it feels that way ;-( …
To help keep this writing gig going, I’m also an Amazon affiliate. If you click on one of my Amazon links and then purchase ANYTHING on the site, I might get a small commission AT NO COST TO YOU, so consider using one of my links the next time you plan any purchase on Amazon.
When Do You Discover Where You’re Going?
As I work on my third Detective Jimmy Delaney story for this year, I’ve noticed a pattern to how the stories have developed, so this week I’ll share that with you, in case there are any PANTSERS out there who might be heartened to know that it’s NOT JUST YOU (and equally for the rest of you to see further justification for calling me weird…)
Hi. I’m Bill Mangieri, and I’m a pantser…
When I decide to write a story, the process usually begins with some form of inspiration – a double-entendre turn of phrase, a pun, a picture, or some odd idea for a ‘what if…’ plot, or some type of technology. I don’t do outlines – at least not until after the rough draft is completed (and even then, the outline perseveres about as long as any other military battle plan.)
When I start writing, I sometimes know how it’s going to end (those stories leave me scratching my head about how they start, or what’s in the middle), but usually I just start writing from the point of inspiration, and see where the story takes me.
This works quite well for me with my stand-alone stories, but my series are another matter. There ‘s already backstory, defined characters, and a world/setting, so these things need to be accounted for when I add a new story.
When I decided I was going to write some Detective Jimmy Delaney this year, I planned to add three stories (because I hate the amount of time it takes me to get back into / familiarize myself with my own series, and it seems a more efficient process to write the stories in multiples. I picked three different crimes that I hadn’t done before, and set to work.
Each story had a slow start. On the first one, I thought it was just happening because I was re-familiarizing myself with Jimmy, but it happened on the other two as well. I’d start writing with a very definite idea of where I was trying to get to, but things just weren’t coming naturally, or in any kind of rational sequence. it was taking anywhere from five to ten thousand words before I finally had a decent understanding of what the story was really doing. This was disconcerting, because my Jimmy Delaney stories have been ranging from around 8,000 to 14,000 words, which meant I almost had that much written without things settling in. However, since it appears that Jimmy is now insisting (in 2021) on novella-length episodes, that means my stalled, confusing period on each story is only a quarter or so of the finished length, and although I’m not totally comfortable with the time I spend lost in the land of the unknown, I (almost) know that my muse will lead me out of it.
I eventually hit a sweet spot where the words and scenes come shooting out faster than I can write them, and things don’t slow down until the draft is done and I’m trying to organize the scenes in a way that makes sense – the revising that we all know and (– love? No, I don’t think so, but it’s an important part of the process if you want to reach the finished line.)
“Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As a PANTSER especially, it helps to realize that every series you write – even every story – has its own rhythms and patterns. No matter how confused and in the dark you might feel at times, you will eventually get to your destination.
Even if it isn’t where you thought you were headed in the first place.
Current Book Promotions
For information on my current promotions (including the FREE Presale and reduced price preorders for Cats of War III, my participating books in the 14th Annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale, as well as FREE starter eBooks for my Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series and my Detective Jimmy Delaney series), look HERE on my CURRENT BOOK PROMOTIONS page.
William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
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