Monday, February 2, 2009


Writing is rewriting. We've heard before. We'll hear it again. But we can't hear it enough.

I've been handed the tangible proof of that.

I had started work on my sixth mystery. The early, easy, fun stuff. Brainstorming, letting the ideas flow. No editing in sight. The inner critic is fed, burped, diapered and put down for a long nap. And then...

Final edits for OCEAN WAVES, my fourth book (third in the quilting mystery series) arrive on my desk. The book needs one more pass to ensure that the other edits were included as I'd wanted. I start reading and am amazed. It's a book. The scenes hold together, the character arcs are there, clues and red herrings in place.

How did that happen? I remember when this book was nothing but a series of notes. An anecdote. A lovely setting. I remember vividly when it was a jumble of scenes and disconnected characters. I remember when it was unreadable. And yet here it is.

How did it get there? I swear, I don't know. I know only this. That if I start with an idea, a truth, a principle and I write and rewrite, and write some more, it happens.

The words become scenes. The scenes become chapters. The chapters become a novel.

Its alchemy.


Keith Raffel said...

Who knows? It's like evolution or the Grand Canyon. It just happens. I'll follow up with more comments on a post on Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

It's a miracle! Every time.

And I can never remember, either, how I did it. It's an eerie and endlessly fascinating process.

Terri Thayer said...

Isn't that the most difficult question to answer at signings and talks? How did you do it? Who knows indeed?

It came make it difficult to sit down and write, too. Because the result seems so far away, so precarious.

G.M. Malliet said...

One foot in front of the other. Suddenly you're there.

Anonymous said...

did you outline? James patterson says outline I hate that myself. but he's been writing since the 70's so I am finished with my first Thug Life then I decided to change the title of the book. writers don't share because of a few are cheaters and they steal your work.come on share more.