If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Dreaded Rewrite

Ever notice how hard it is to regain your writing momentum when you've been away from a project for a while?  A successful author might not have this issue because they're probably used to the schedule set by their team (agent, editor, publisher, etc.) and so don't have huge gaps in their writing, but I noticed it recently.

I got married back in July and had been planning for the occasion for over a year.  Somewhere about six months before the wedding, I decided that my creative juices were primarily focused on the big "party," and the thought of being creative elsewhere seemed too taxing to my brain.

To be perfectly honest, that's also about the time that a particularly nasty bit of rewriting needed doing.  Some feedback I'd gotten suggested that I didn't have enough red herrings in my mystery, which I agreed with.  Unfortunately, this meant revising several scenes throughout the book and finding ways to throw my future readers off the scent of the true culprit.  I had started on the necessary changes, but soon discovered that it would take much more planning and thought than I'd originally hoped.  The hiatus for the wedding planning was a handy excuse.

Then after the wedding I had to plan out the honeymoon, which wasn't until the end of October.  And then, of course, came the holidays.  But fear not, I began revisions on the book at Chapter 1 shortly after we returned from Greece, so I didn't procrastinate too much longer, but I still dreaded that murky middle where the Red Herrings and the True Culprit threads wove closer together.  Several doubts plagued me at that time:  How would I have my protagonist hunt down and eliminate the Red Herrings?  When was it okay to let the audience see the True Culprit?

I'm a huge fan of the movie "Murder By Death," so, in deference, I didn't want to wait until the last minute to "introduce" the villain, but I also didn't want to make it so obvious that my readers would grow bored with the story after page 50; hence the need for the Red Herring.  Each chapter I got to led me closer and closer to this tangled mess I'd left behind over a year before, and with each chapter done, I felt a looming sense of dread.  Would I be able to pull this off?

A couple weeks ago, I finally got to the chapter where the real and perceived villains meshed, and I froze for a good 30 minutes, trying to think my way through it.  Eventually I just started typing and was successful in moving the story forward, but I now have to go back and polish it, not to mention the remaining chapters that still need to be rewritten.  There's still a lot of trepidation inside of me; especially since it's been so long since I'd been involved in this story.  I have to reconnect with my characters again, and remember how each one reacts to the situations they're in.

I'm sure every author had these same issues with their first full-length novel.  At least I hope so.  Because believing that Sue Grafton had to work through this gives me hope that I'll eventually figure it out, too.


Gloria Alden said...

I'm actually one of those people who like to edit and polish and at times rewrite sections. But I understand the lag in actually sitting down and continuing with a current work in process after I've been away from it for too long because life got in the way. Yesterday, because of the extreme cold we're experiencing here in NE Ohio, which meant no morning walk, I made myself get to a short story I'd started several weeks ago instead of doing anything else and I finished it. What a good feeling that was! It's one of best highs there is.

Kara Cerise said...

I was in a similar situation where I tried to revise a full-length novel a year or so after I had written it. The rewrite was so daunting that I shelved it for another few months. Finally, I changed my mindset and instead of thinking of it as a rewrite, I thought of it as writing a new novel. I made an updated outline, merged two characters into one and so forth. Then I wrote the new book and copied and pasted some of the first book. Time consuming but I ended up with a better story. From that painful experience I learned that I can’t let too much time pass between my first draft and a rewrite!

Alyx Morgan said...

Congratulations, Gloria, on finishing the short story! Yes, it's an awesome feeling when you're "done."

Alyx Morgan said...

That's an interesting way to go about it, Kara. I don't know that I'd want to rewrite the entire story, but it might be something to think about if this isn't successful. I just want to get it done & move on to the next book.

E. B. Davis said...

You can reveal your villain, Alyx, but if you do, you are writing suspense rather than pure mystery. What you have to do write is how the MC discovers the villain. And usually, the villain's story is revealed slowly in counterpoint to the MC's discovery of the villain. By the time their stories intersect, the villain sets a trap for the MC as she/he gets close to finding out the villain's identity. Perhaps I've just thrown a monkey wrench into your story.

I stop revising my WIP last summer when a flurry of short story opportunities came my way. I wrote six back to back from July until December through vacations and holidays. No time for the WIP--except for now--when we are in the middle of remodeling our kitchen/baths after 28 years of putting it off. It's not procrastination, but competing needs. So far all of the shorts I wrote got published, so it was worth putting the WIP on hold.

Good luck--you'll do it!

Alyx Morgan said...

LOL No, EB, you haven't thrown a monkey wrench into it. The trap was set in the original draft, but my protagonist deduced who the villain was about 5 chapters before they actually met. The reader thought that was too much filler between "discovery" & climax, & I agreed.

My villain is a recurring one (a Professor Moriarty to my character's Sherlock Holmes), so much of the information in the superfluous chapters was her backstory & relation to one of the other suspects. I'll just have to use that information for one of the other books.

Thanks for the luck. I'm just looking forward to being done with this thing.

Maddy said...

You shouldn't be so hard on yourself - wedding plus holidays - it's enough to have survived those events with your sanity in tact.

Bette Golden Lamb said...

I don't know, Alyx. Sometimes getting away from your WIP is a real boost. It allows the computer in your head the opportunity to examine what you've written without you actively interfering. I'm always surprised with the solutions that just "magically" evolve. Good Luck!

Paula Gail Benson said...

All your work products and task juggling is inspiring. Thanks for the great post and comments.

Dana Fredsti said...

I've found every book is different as far as the experience of whether or not the rewrites are relatively easy or hell on earth. THe only way to do it is just to do what you're doing... and forge ahead! Bravo, Alyx!

Jim Jackson said...

Congratulations on fighting your way through your perceived obstacle.

I guess I’m a bit weird, but I rather look forward to the rewrite process and wish the first draft would appear under my pillow one night.

~ Jim

Alyx Morgan said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Maddy, Paula & Dana!

Alyx Morgan said...

I agree that taking a step back can help a lot, normally, but when it's in as "bad" a place as mine was, I think it makes it harder to go back to it. Then again, I'm still fairly new to all of this. I might find revisions to vary from book to book, like Dana does.

Thanks for posting.

Alyx Morgan said...

I'm glad you said it, Jim. ;o) j/k

Maybe my next revision/rewrite will seem a little easier, though I don't know that I'll ever get to the point of actually "liking" that part of the process. I LOVE writing the first draft (so far), because it's like I'm going along with the story.

The rewriting seems more technical in nature, rather than creative: pacing, plot, making sure all the dialogue sounds like each character speaking it, etc. It currently strikes me as the analytical portion of writing, & not the magical. But we'll see how I feel as I go along.

carla said...

Dreaded is right! But it's worth the journey--even if you have to take Dramamine.

Warren Bull said...

Sometimes a delay can be a good thing. Ideas percolate while you're thinking about other things. When I get stuck i may decide to work on other works and let my original work simmer.

Tess Grant said...

I agree with you, Alyx. I never understood the advice to throw your first draft in a drawer and leave it for months before starting rewrites. I need to do them immediately because once I set a manuscript down it's so hard to pick it back up again.