Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let's Welcome MM Gornell!

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, Barnes &, and Smashwords, in paper and e-book formats. You can visit her online at her website, or her BLOG, or email her directly at

Buy link for Reticence of Ravens:


M.M. Gornell said...

Good morning, Alice, and Ann! Wonderful being here in Roswell. It was fun babbling about rewriting, thanks for indulging me.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Hi, Madeline. Rewriting is my favorite part of the whole process. But you've got to get the whole story out first, something I'm having a hard time with right now--because of this tour and the holidays.


Alice Duncan said...

Thanks for joining me today, Madeline. I'm in the process of editing one of my books right now, and I couldn't agree with you more!

Jacqueline Vick said...

I never thought about it that way, but when I look at rewriting as a way to take back something I've said, it's kind of cathartic!

Rita Wray said...

I would think rewriting would be a hassle

Alice Duncan said...

Well, Ingeborg, it is :-) But it sure gets rids of a lot of the dead word and repetitive phrasing.

Jackie King said...

Madeline, Every word you wrote is true for me, too! I've learned to love rewriting over the years.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Don't know how I missed this great post but wanted you to know I enjoyed it, Madeline!

M.M. Gornell said...

Marilyn, you're so right about get the first draft out. I'm having a hard time right now too, mind on blog tour--but that's all good too!

Thanks, Alice, glad I'm not alone!

Jackie, wonderful you dropped by. Yeah, not only can you take it back, but no ones knows you put your foot in your mouth so to speak!

When I first started to write seriously, Ingeborg, I hated rewriting, and I thought of it as a BIG hassle. Good editors, time, and age have changed my perspective. And like Alice said, makes your work so much better.

Oh, Jackie, united in rewriting! There should be a club... Thank you!

Thanks, Jean, your kind words are greatly appreciated.


WS Gager said...

Madeline: I think part of why I hate rewriting is I'm never sure if I'm making it better or worse.
W.S. Gager on Writing

M.M. Gornell said...

I know what you mean, Wendy! Sometimes I end back up with what I said the first time!


pennyt said...

As a reader, I never thought a whole lot about what those of you who write go through to produce the books we enjoy so much. Thanks for the inside view.

Earl Staggs said...

Madeline, I once read "It's 10% writing and 90% rewriting." That's not far off for me. I'm a chronic rewriter and have to force myself to stop. I've even changed stories after they were published. Beat that if you can.

M.M. Gornell said...

You're welcome, Pennyt. The thing is to keep the process enjoyable! Thanks for stopping by.

After they're published? Way to go, Earl. I seldom do "readings" because I want to rewrite. You're gonna have to reveal how you changed a published work sometime.


M.M. Gornell said...

Alice, what a great visit! I certainly enjoyed all the comments. And all my best to Ann!


Alice Duncan said...

Thanks for joining me today, Madeline!