Writing Wednesday: Discovering Revisionism

Last Week’s Goals

All blog posts went out on schedule. One story returned from market and cycled back out.

I’m listening to Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind again, because it’s worth the re-listening to.

I finished the rough draft of “Too Much of a Good Thing” (Detective Jimmy Delaney #9.) I’ll wait a week before I revisit it for a revision (explanation of my method below.) In the meantime, I need to keep writing – a hopefully much shorter piece. 

I made my weekly fiction quota, producing 5,726 words of fiction. I wrote on all seven days, and missed my daily quota on one of them. The novella “Too Much of a Good Thing” is now a 24,853-word novella. It should stay in novella length when I finish the revisions.

Admitting to a Certain Lack of Control

Being a DISCOVERY WRITER, it’s sometimes hard to be sure how much credit I can actually take for a story – at least for the rough draft. At times it feels like I’m just a stenographer for the story, not the actual creator. This is where I imagine the reader of this blog thinks to themselves, in their own imitation of Jim Gaffigan’s concerned audience member voice:

“I don’t know if we should be here. Does he really believe what he’s saying? I think there might be something wrong with him…”

No, I’m just a PANTSER.

Detective Jimmy Delaney and company finally made it clear how they wanted to end “Too Much of a Good Thing.” The story actually fought against the various endings I planned out and presented its own. Yes, I know being a PANTSER can sound crazy, but it is what it is…

So – what happens now.

From what I’ve read in trying to understand my PANTSER affliction, one of its unfortunate aspects is the need to do a lot of revising on the backend. For most unplanned stories, the plot doesn’t generally flow into a rough draft in a sensible order. That leaves REVISION as the part where I trade in my writer hat (the one I wear when the muse is at work) and put on the editor hat (when I become my own INFERNAL EDITOR™.) This is where I stop getting to PLAY and actually do some WORK.

In the case of my shorter pieces (under 10,000 words?) I may dispute how extensive a revision is required. I generally work those cases in three segments:

  1. Write the full rough draft.
  2. Immediately revise for consistency, to clean up obvious technical errors, and checking the plot-flow with an eye to making sure appropriate detail and foreshadowing is where it’s needed. Strip what doesn’t seem to add to the story.
  3. If I’m lucky enough to have beta readers, send it out, see what kind of feedback I get, and judge whether it necessitates any changes.
  4. Wait at least a week (usually two or more) and reread to see what I’ve missed, which includes a final cleanup.

When I get into longer pieces (somewhere more than 10,000 words, but definitely in pieces over 20,000 (novella length), I’ve adopted the following steps:

  1. Write the full rough draft.
  2. Immediately revise for consistency, checking the plot-flow with an eye to making sure appropriate foreshadowing is where it’s needed, and that the order of events makes sense. Strip what isn’t needed.
  3. Wait at least one week and reread to see whether the story is consistent and clear, and whether I forgot to include anything important.
  4. Immediately (usually) add detail (descriptions of setting, characters, weather, etc. because I know I tend to be sparse) and do more line editing.
  5. Wait another week and read it again – how does the narration sound? How does it flow? Did I miss any more technical errors.

The story is then hopefully as ready as it’s going to be.

With both story lengths, this is when I would start sending it out to markets if I’m shopping for a publisher. I restrict my submissions to publications that pay “professional” rates for short fiction (when I started that was a minimum of 5-cents per word; I believe it’s 8-cents now.) I keep sending it out until I run out of appropriate markets, and then I indie publish.

In the case of “Two Much of a Good Thing” and my other series stories (Detective Jimmy Delaney and Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire), the stories go straight to indie publication – I don’t have much hope of being able to sell the subsequent stories in a series to a publisher who hasn’t bought the previous episodes.


Any other writers out there who would like to share their own system, I’d like to see it in the comments. Just saying…

On the Marketing & Promotion Front

Simily.co is a new platform for selling short stories. I discovered them through a posting on LinkedIn. The principle seems to be similar to Kindle Select / Kindle Unlimited, where members (current fee is either free or a reduced amount as they start up) and authors get a small payment for each reader who looks at their story. There are two main differences between this and what Amazon does:

  1. This is only short fiction
  2. The author’s story doesn’t have to be exclusive (with Amazon’s scheme, you have to be exclusive)

The author retains all rights to their works, and can withdraw at any time. So far, I don’t see a downside, so I’m giving it a try with a couple of my stories and see what kind of pennies I pull in. I currently have eight of my stories on the site – you can check them out here:


I’d be glad to hear your thoughts and impressions of both my stories and the site in the comments here – thanx!


If you have Kindle Unlimited, Swordsmaster is still FREE for you to read. You can check it out here:Swordsmaster4



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.

Current Book Promotions

In a Flash Detective Jimmy Delaney eBook CoverPurrMission-MainTall_025For 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.

Reaching Out

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:

Want to help me make a go of this writing gig WITHOUT IT COSTING YOU A PENNY? I’m in the Amazon Affiliates program, so any time you click one of the links I provide here to my books on Amazon, and then make a purchase of something like, say, a TV, I get a small percentage of Amazon’s profit. So PLEASE consider using one of my links to get to Amazon before you make that next purchase. Thanx!


or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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