Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Rewrite? What was I Thinking?

Through the wonder of morning pages, I became convinced that the manuscript I completed about a year ago would be better as a police procedural. It needed some rewrites anyway, so I figured this wouldn't be much more involved.

Yeah, right.

Don't get me wrong. This is still the best way to go—and I'm oh-so-much-more excited about this story—but it is requiring some careful crafting and so many changed scenes/new scenes/deleted scenes it's almost like writing from scratch. Sheesh.

So, Rough Waters continues to be about black market organs and the importance of organ donation, but with a competent detective in charge rather than a distraught father.

Have you ever changed the direction of a manuscript you're writing? Or have written?

As a reader, have you ever read a book that felt like it was missing something? That if the writer would have taken just a bit more time and fleshed it out, she would have really had a winner?

CR: I confess I'm currently reading a book that's interesting, but not engaging. It's The Apostle by Brad Thor. Kind of a military thriller. I think my husband will enjoy it a lot more.

It's all better with friends.


  1. Hi, Peg! While on a "break" from DS, I am in the middle of a rewrite for another novel. This one is taking on a lot of changes to make it more suspense, less mainstream. I'm excited about the new direction, but it's been a challenge not to fall into old habits with these characters.

  2. I know what you mean about the character issue. They're so real and I know them so well.

    What has happened with RW, so far (I'm just beginning the process) is that Chase Waters, rather than being a former shrink from Denver and current bookstore owner in my fictional mountain town, is a former shrink turned cop from Denver and current detective and partner in a bookstore in my fictional mountain town.

    Other than introducing new characters, and losing others, the other main characters remain the same.

    My little notebook that was supposed to be comprised of editing comments is looking a lot more like a new story brainstorm session.


    Good luck on your new direction!

  3. It's always more work than we envision, isn't it? I bet RW will be so much better for this change in direction.

    My novel (the one just sold) existed in a completely different form a long time ago. The premise was the same, but that ended up being all. I replaced about 92,500 words out of 93K, but it was right for the book.

    Hang in there--you'll be glad you did.

  4. Hey, Peg! I'm sorry to say I've read books that made me feel like the author just decided to sit down and write a book one day. And I mean that literally. They sat down, wrote the thing from start to finish in one day and never looked back. Some had interesting concepts, some had characters that had great promise, but they just didn't seem to have any effort behind it all. Some were just a downright hot mess.

  5. Jenny, you virtually wrote an entirely new book! I cannot wait to read COVER OF SNOW when it's released!

    Isn't that the worst thing, Nissie? Escpeciallly if the story had so much promise!

  6. Sorry for that amazing typo issue. My husband surprised me. I need to get him a collar with a bell.

  7. It's so disappointing, Peg. There are so many that would have made it onto my favorites shelf with just a little more work.

    LOL @ the typo comment. You could make a fortune on the Husband Bell Collars. ;)

  8. I wrote a mystery short story about a young mother being stalked by an unbalanced admirerer. The detective on the case was male. When Ellery Queen Magazine rejected it, I changed the detective from male to a female that could relate to the victim's plight. The story sold to Alfred Hitchcock Magazine.

  9. Whoot for you, Carol! What made you make the change?

  10. I realized I needed to make the protagonist pro-active, with a criminal case that touched her personally. The female detective's sister had been murdered by her abusive husband. In other words, I had to flesh it out as well as reverse the main character (male to female). The story is Shattered Crystal, in my short story trilogy, BROKEN JUSTICE.