December 4, 2011

Mystery We Write Winter 2011Blog Tour Presents Wendy Gager

I Hate Final Edits!

In writing a book I love the beginning, tolerate the middle and hate the end. I’m not talking about the plots of my Mitch Malone Mystery Series but am talking about the writing process. For me I could write first drafts non-stop. This is when I am most creative and try to get the story down in as few sittings as I can. I’ve referred to these as the “throwing up” of the story. It is in
horrible shape but that is where the best twists and turns come from, when my characters take their own path instead of the one I’ve planned. Next comes the rewriting. I know this is needed because when I am most creative I kill off my best villain halfway through the book and need to find another murderer. The new clues need to be layered in from the beginning and consistent throughout. I don’t mind doing this. What I hate is going through the book to fix all the typos, bad grammar, taking out unnecessary words and fixing passive voice.

These are usually the last readings I do and I am horrible at it. By this time I am really sick of the story, think it is terrible and want to chuck the whole thing. Do you ever feel like that?

To get beyond that, my publisher gave me a great idea of how to do these final edits. Start at the end of the book and read it backwards. Look only at one sentence at a time. Look at every word. If you take it out of the sequence, you can’t get sucked back into the story and whether it is any
good or not. It is easier to just look for grammar, word choices and making it the best and tightest sentence. The bonus is when you are concentrating on the sentence, alarm bells will sound if the details don’t match up like the color of a jacket or the location of an important place.

I’m still not very good at the final edits but I am getting better.


In A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES crime beat reporter Mitch Malone returns to the town where he was raised to teach a seminar at the local paper. He walks in on his class reunion
mortified to be facing his schoolmates but excited when the homecoming queen expresses interest in him. She is found dead the next morning and Mitch is the prime suspect. As he wades through trying to separate his childish reactions from the adult counterparts he finds surprising allies and murderers. Can he figure out who wants to plant him next to his dead parents in the sleepy town where nothing bad ever happens?

A Case of Hometown Blues” Synopsis

When Pulitzer-winning reporter Mitch Malone’s editor presses him for a favor, Malone breaks his vow to never return to his hometown. It seemed simple enough–lead a seminar for Flatville, MI’s newspaper, keep a low profile and get back to the city post haste. But memories of his parents’ death swarm him, and, to avoid solitude, he stops for a beer. In the crowded bar, Mitch is dismayed to see many of his former classmates–including the still-lovely Homecoming Queen, Trudy. Once the object of his teenage crush, Trudy joins Mitch. He quickly realizes she is
upset and inebriated. Always the gentleman, Mitch sees her safely home, and returns to his B&B, still trying to shake memories of his parents’ sad demise. The next day, he is stunned to learn Trudy was murdered and he is the prime suspect. The locals treat the murder charge as a slam dunk, and Mitch realizes he must track down the real killer to keep his butt out of jail. As he
investigates, facts he thought he knew about his family unravel, and danger ratchets up. Can Mitch discover the truth that will allow his parents to rest in peace, or will he be resting with them?

W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman’s golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn’t adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer and won’t let anyone stop him, supposedly.

Wendy, thank you!  Come back tomorrow, folks, for another great author’s blog, and don’t forget to comment here for a chance to win one of Wendy’s books!

Cheers, All,  Beth



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14 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Beth: Thanks so much for allowing me to guest today.
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  2. Hi, Wendy, I like the editing/rewriting part the best. Haven’t tried Billie’s trick of going through the manuscript backwards yet. Good post.

  3. Great hearing about your process, Wendy. Enhances the enjoyment of your books!

    I do read from back to front at the very end–you don’t get into the story that way. Funny what you’ll find! But I still miss a lot of stupid stuff.

  4. Great tip, Wendy. My last read is out loud, to my wife, and after that I find I can cut up to 10% of the book. But I’m going to try doing your final read next time, in addition to reading it aloud.

  5. Great post, Wendy, and a very good tip for editing. I guess I’m lucky that I enjoy editing and polishing the final draft, more than struggling through the first draft, although I enjoy spooning in research and writing dialogue.

  6. Wendy, For a long time, I’ve done a final edit by reading backwards. It’s tedious drudgery, but you can’t beat it for finding typos, punctuation errors, missing words and such.

  7. I’ve heard of that method, never tried it, but I probably will next time I get to that point, which I’d better get going on, wouldn’t you say? I never really thought it would work, but if y’all say so, it must. Okay, count me in next time!

  8. I’m with you, Wendy. I love re-writing and editing, but not the final edit. It’s tedious because you are no longer making the story better – you’re really just looking for errors. And then there’s that fear that you’ll miss one and it will show up in print.

  9. Wendy, I tried that but after I few pages going backward, I want to keep reading. Oh, well. The middle is my nemesis, but I understand the fun of the first draft. It seems to lose a little more luster with each revision and re-reading. Very nice post.
    I like your premise. I’ll check out your book.

  10. Marilyn and Madeline: Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.

    Jean: I think I hate you for liking that final edit. Just kidding. Can you send some of that my way??

    Tim and Beth: Let me know how it works for you or if you come up with a better idea.

    Earl: It does take forever and you have to keep focused and not sink into the plot.

    Mike: I know the fear! Thanks for stopping by.

    Ellis: I would be honored if you would check out my Mitch Malone books. I have to work very hard not to get sucked back into the story.

    W.S. Gager on Writing

  11. I’m becoming very fond of Mitch Malone, Wendy! And thanks for the editing tip, too.

  12. I have not yet tried a Mitch Malone mystery, but since I love reporter stories, I’m sure I will give him a try as soon as I locate a copy. It seems like a very natural way for an amateur sleuth to encounter a murder and to get involved in finding the solution.

  13. Good tip, Wendy, thanks. I get so bogged down in trying to second-guess myself on the final edit that I miss things. I’ll have to try this method.

  14. Alice: Thank you. Mitch is an acquired taste!

    Karen: I hope you will give Mitch a try! Maybe you will win a copy. You are entered in the drawing for a copy that will be drawn on Friday.

    Tess: You too are entered. Thanks for stopping by!

    W.S. Gager on Writing







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