Last Week’s Goals:
All my blog posts went out according to schedule. I had one submission return, and immediately sent it back out to market.
I wrote on six days last week. I made my daily quota on only one of those days, and came up short again with only 1,192 words toward my weekly quota. This was on continuing revisions of Swordsmaster #2 (now at 106,192 words.)
Rules to Write By
When I decided to be a writer some years back, I went through a pretty standard process of reading up on what a writer is supposed to do. There are tons of books, blog posts, and other pieces of advice out there – writers giving guidance to writers.
Everyone who puts their method out there has their own rules of how they themselves function as writers. You can try to follow each one’s methods to the letter, but I doubt that one writer could exactly mimic another’s way of working – I know I can’t. We’re all individuals, and what works for one doesn’t work for another.
As I worked on Swordsmaster #2 over the last week or so, I struggled to incorporate Savannah Gilbo’s ideas about building scenes. I divided the manuscript into scenes, but applying concepts like Inciting Incidents and Turning points to every scene just wasn’t gelling for me. I couldn’t make it fit my writing, or my writing fit it. At first I kicked myself (figuratively) for not being able to consistently apply her ideas to my story. There were just too many instances where I could not apply Savannah’s methods. I almost gave up and returned to where I had been before. But then I would be wasting an opportunity.
I (You) should never slavishly try to emulate someone else’s technique – or even your own. Unless you’re the kind of writer who can ONLY work that way, that is… But even if you can’t apply the whole system to your work, you can still find bits and pieces that work for you.
I may not be able to adOpt another’s method entirely, but I can adApt from them – sometimes in ways that seem to have no resemblance to their reason for doing what they do.
Here’s what I’ve found useful in this exercise:
As I split up my story into scenes, I noticed places where I had a string of scenes with the same POV character. As I examined each scene, I realized that using a different character’s POV in some of them produced a more interesting scene – either the character had more at stake and more potential conflict, or just letting the reader inside someone else’s head helped to give variety to the experience.
I wouldn’t have realized this if I hadn’t tried to emulate someone else’s method. Hopefully, it results in a more interesting read.
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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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