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

April Interviews

4/1 Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue
4/8 John Gaspard
4/15 Art Taylor, The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74
4/22 Maggie Toussaint, Seas the Day
4/29 Grace Topping, Staging Wars

Saturday Guest Bloggers
4/4 Sasscer Hill
4/18 Jackie Green

WWK Bloggers:
4/11 Paula Gail Benson
4/25 Kait Carson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

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

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Editing Your Mystery is like Brushing a Persian Cat By Kelly Oliver, Author of the Jessica James Mysteries

As I revise JACKAL, the fourth in the Jessica James Mystery Series, I realize that editing is like brushing a Persian cat. It’s time-consuming but absolutely necessary. You have to keep at it, sometimes gently, other times with force, stroke after stroke, cutting out a mat here or there, all the while holding onto the wriggling mass and cajoling it into submission.

I have two Persian cats, Mischief and Mayhem. I chase them around the house to groom them, little-by-little, day-by-day, until their coats are smooth. When their knots get out of control, I have to call a professional groomer. With my novel, as with the cats, professionals see rough spots that I missed. The difference is that the cats will survive without grooming; they can live with their knots and tangles and hotspots; my novels may not.

Luckily, I enjoy editing, almost as much as I love brushing my cats. I especially like going back through my manuscript to accentuate the differences between points of view, reserving certain words for certain people. Writing different points of view gives me the opportunity to voice diverse perspectives on events and characters.

When editing, I comb the manuscript for common verbs that I can replace with more exciting ones tailored to each POV. I revise descriptions of places and people to reflect the metaphors and similes
unique to each character telling the story.

Another challenge in editing is balancing backstory and action. Sometimes I have to cut out big matted chunks of it to keep the action moving. Then I go back and sprinkle bits throughout the novel.

As I edit and revise, I brush away what isn’t necessary to develop the characters and advance the plot. I smooth out the rough spots so the reader has a seamless experience. The reader doesn’t need to see me fighting with the wriggle mass to enjoy the end result.

Okay, time to get back to brushing, combing, and teasing out the mats from JACKAL. Like the coat of my two Persians, some days the novel gets smoother and finer until it flows beautifully. On other days, I just have to say to hell with it and get out the clippers.

Kelly Oliver is the award-winning, best-selling, author of the Jessica James Mystery Series, including WOLF, COYOTE, FOX, and JACKAL (2018). Her debut novel, WOLF: A Jessica James Mystery, won the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal for best Thriller/Mystery, was a finalist for the Forward Magazine award for best mystery, and was voted number one Women's Mysteries on Goodreads. The second novel, COYOTE won a Silver Falchion Award for Best Mystery. And, the third, FOX was a finalist for the Claymore Award. When she’s not writing novels, Kelly is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, and the author of fifteen nonfiction books, and over 100 articles, on issues such as the refugee crisis, campus rape, women and the media, animals and the environment. Her latest nonfiction book, Hunting Girls: Sexual Violence from The Hunger Games to Campus Rape won a Choice Magazine Award for Outstanding title. She has published in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Review of Books, and has been featured on ABC news, CSPAN books, the Canadian Broadcasting Network, and various radio programs. To learn more about Kelly and her books, go to www.kellyoliverbooks.com, where you can get WOLF for free through the end of August.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

great comparison. I look forward to reading your books.

Kait said...

What a fabulous analogy! Thank you for visiting. Do you keep some of the wonderful fur and weave it into future books?

Warren Bull said...

Great analogy. I'm always looking for ways to explain the process of writing and I will definite use yours.

Gloria Alden said...

I think your books are ones I'd like to read. Comparing the editing of your books to brushing your Persian cats makes me think about brushing my full sized beautiful tri-colored Collie, Maggie. She only puts up with just so much. I, too, don't mind editing my work. I do have two critique partners who find little glitches here and there, but over all I do the major editing part.

Shari Randall said...

What a great analogy! I'm editing a book now and your struggles with Mischief and Mayhem (great names) resonated. Thank you for stopping by!

KM Rockwood said...

My cats are all short-haired, but as they get older, they don't groom themselves as effectively as they used to. Much the same way, the further along a manuscript gets, the more it becomes obvious that I need to work on editing.