Happy to have M.M. Gornell (who is a friend of my friend and tenant, Ann Wilmer Lasky, by gum)!
Thank you, Alice, for hosting me on your blog. I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about rewriting—I know— boring, possibly even a turnoff. But, how I feel about rewriting has been evolving, and our blog tour is providing me a lot of opportunities to “talk” about my writing. So here goes!
When I use the word rewriting, I’m talking about:
- In-process rewriting of scenes, chapters, etc.,
- Going back through and editing my completed first draft without editorial input,
- Rewriting based on my first editor’s input,
- Rewriting based on my second editor’s input,
- Rewriting based on my third editor’s input,
- And then, final polishing before going to my publisher.
Only recently have I realized how important rewriting is to my total writing experience and process. The truth I think, is I no longer see rewriting as an activity separate from writing, but an essential ingredient. For me, it is that part of my work where all the bits and pieces actually come together. Where I tighten and refine my prose and story. And, I’ve come to eagerly anticipate thoughts and suggestions from my editors. Rewriting is now one of the good parts of writing. But it’s been a journey getting to this point.
How could it be that my first written thoughts are not perfect? How could I misspell a word, use incorrect grammar, put a comma where a period should be? The first time around, others pointing out these problems were blows to my ego. Ha, has that ever changed! Now it’s more like a lament, “Please, please, find all my screw-ups!” Not to forget those other-dimension gremlins that attack between drafts…
Then there’s what I call my find-the right-word-syndrome. I keep looking for the perfect word—the one with just the right connotation—even if it feels like it’s taking forever. And if I can’t find the right word, or phrase? DELETE! At first, deleting was so, so hard—easy now. And thinking back, what I’ve left out has always been for the better—sometimes that’s been pages, even a whole scene.
And on a philosophical level, rewriting is one of the few times in life I can “take back” what I’ve said. Indeed, in the real-world, so many times I’ve wished for that “erase” capability!
Alice, thanks so much for allowing me the time and space on your blog to go and on… It sure has been fun!
Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008), Death of a Perfect Man (2009), and her latest release, Reticence of Ravens (2010)—her first Route 66 mystery. Reticence of Ravens is a 2011 Eric Hoffer Fiction finalist and Honorary Mention winner, the da Vinci Eye finalist, and a Montaigne Medalist finalist.
She continues to be inspired by historic Route 66, and has recently completed Lies of Convenience, which hopefully will have a 2011 winter release date. It is a tale that fictionally connects murder, truths untold, and Chicago’s Lake Michigan with California’s high desert on the opposite end of The Mother Road. Madeline is also a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing. She lives with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave in a town on internationally revered Route 66.
Madeline’s books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Smashwords, in paper and e-book formats. You can visit her online at her website http://www.mmgornell.com, or her BLOG http://www.mmgornell.wordpress.com, or email her directly at email@example.com
Buy link for Reticence of Ravens: