NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Monday, October 21, 2013

Growing Pains -- Editing Old Work

Recently I have undergone the most painful experience a writer can have. It isn't rejection. It isn't a bad review. It isn't losing a day's work (back-up your work, people, this is a sign! :)).

What's so painful? Editing something I wrote eight years ago.

It's humbling to realise that all those rejection letters, all those slicing contest comments were actually...spot on. The book wasn't ready and I thank God it was never published even though I sold it to a company who (thankfully) went bust. Ironically I am also editing a connected book, HER SANCTUARY, and although it is much better, it has definitely benefited from a quick edit using my new improved authorial eye.

My old bad habits? Using too many words, so many words that the meaning of the sentence is lost in some dim and distant memory. Using dialogue tags that can be cut. Too many analogies (OMG). And my characters thoughts jumping around too much. Jeez.

I'm re-releasing HER SANCTUARY and the follow up, HER LAST CHANCE (Marsh and Josie's story, which had the wip title BLADE HUNTER) in the run-up to Christmas (assuming my freelance editor approves). I hope both books now meet reader expectation. I would have left HLC to languish on my hard drive, but I get so many reader letters asking me what happened to Marsh & Josie, I finally broke down and edited the manuscript. See me weep.

So what is this experience teaching me beside the usual dose of writer humility? (because we can never have enough of that, right?). Strangely it made me feel really proud of my more recent releases, including THE KILLING GAME, which you can buy for $0.99 (limited time only) as part of a Romantic Suspense Box Set promotion. I know, crazy price, huh?

I believe I am a better writer than I was eight years ago, but I still want to improve. The key to being a good writer, I think, is the drive to always want to write a better book.

Have you ever tried this? Have you ever had a clear sign about how much you've grown as a writer?





22 comments:

J Wachowski said...

Wow, that boxed set looks gorgeous!
Someone asked me once if I felt horror looking back at old work. I said, no, more like gentle-chagrin. The way you remember embarrassing stuff you did at age 16. Mistakes are only road out of there!

Toni Anderson said...

Thanks, Jules! I think I worry about this stuff too much. Gentle chagrin is a nice way of looking at it :)

Lori Ryan said...

Ugh! I know what you mean. I've only been writing for ten months but even I can see improvements with each book. I did go back and rewrite parts of Legal Ease (also in the boxed set with Toni!) because I just couldn't leave it the way it was. My most recent book is my pride and joy! I hope I feel that way with each successive publication!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Is this supposed to be a scary post for Halloween, because going back over my early works strikes terror into my heart. LOL

Okay, it's not as bad as that, but my first published book was my fifth completed manuscript. I have the feeling my first manuscript was very soap-opera-esque. I don't know if I'll ever have the courage to go back and see, though. Maybe, since I think it was a good story, I will brave that road one of these days. ;)

Love the boxed set!!

Rita said...

Clear sign? Oh! Yeah! I thought the first thing I wrote was soooo wonderful. It is soooo bad. When I finished crying I laughed and closed the file. Don't think I'll open it again.

Rebecca York said...

The good news is that you recognize what's wrong with it and can fix it.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Oh yes, the wince test. Been there, done that. :-) A few of my manuscripts are now lost to the mists of time, I'm happy to say. Great boxed set, Toni!

Toni Anderson said...

Lori, I really enjoyed LEGAL EASE! And OMG on 10 months. That's amazing.

Toni Anderson said...

Anne Marie--LOL, I know, right? Very scary.
But it's enlightening to look back.

Toni Anderson said...

LOL Rita. I would love to see it :)

Toni Anderson said...

Rebecca--that is the plan!! Wish me luck :)

Toni Anderson said...

Marcelle, the wince test indeed :) I figure some of the things on my computer are blackmail worthy :)

Maureen A. Miller said...

"Have you ever had a clear sign about how much you've grown as a writer?"

Why yes. There are pictures of me when I wrote my first book at 5'5 and pictures of me now at 5'4.

That can't be a good sign, can it? :)

Shelley Munro said...

I was nodding as I read this. The first manuscripts I wrote (that are thankfully under the bed) are not good. I'm so glad I've managed to grow as a writer.

Wendy Soliman said...

Yep. I've just self-published two of my early books published by a London house. I gave them a complete rewrite, cringing at all the unnecessary words, telling not showing - how the heck were they ever published? I hope no one remembers them. Needless to say, I changed the titles.

Elise Warner said...

The best part is that we can rewrite and grow and reinvent.

Vanessa Morgan said...

That is so true. When I look at my writing from ten years ago, I wonder how I even got the courage to pursue a career in this. I'm still improving every single day.
By the way, I'm a new follower of your blog through Bloglovin.

Toni Anderson said...

Thanks for following the blog, Vanessa. I think the courage to put ourselves 'out there' says a lot about our commitment to and love of what we do. Kudos :)

Toni Anderson said...

Maureen-- Ha ha :) You always look tall to me :)

Toni Anderson said...

Shelley--I definitely have stuff that will never see the light of day!

Toni Anderson said...

Wendy--I totally understand :)

Toni Anderson said...

Elise--yes! But I'd rather write fresh :)

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