Good Writing is in the Rewriting…. by Nancy Brophy

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. ~Mark Twain

In December my computer crashed. I lost the second story in the Team Daniels series which was almost finished. Feel free to tell me that I should have backed it up, but in truth I know this. Amazing enough it may turn out to be the best thing that could have happened.WTBWS - cane

I have spent about six weeks lamenting the loss of this story and seriously debating where I am in my writing career. Maybe it was time for me to “pull up stakes and move on”. If this was a western that analogy would work slightly better. But you get the gist.

But one doesn’t write for fame (or unfortunately for money). One writes because they have no choice.

Two days ago I sat upright in bed and realized how I could rewrite What the Silent Woman Screamed and make it stronger. Part of the reason the story was taking so long to write was because it wasn’t good enough despite a good premise – how  does an abused wife escape from a rich and powerful husband? Particularly if a child is being held hostage.

One of the most difficult things about a story arch is not giving away the ending even if the reader expects happily ever after.

I’ve gotten some interesting reviews lately. Most are excellent, but occasionally one will be a zinger. When someone reviews me I now go back and read other reviews they’ve written. Does the reviewer like everything?

Or in one case, distain dripped from the reviewer’s pen on every book she read. As won’t surprise you she didn’t like my book either. Called it – are you ready for it? – BORING. My feelings might have been hurt under different circumstances, but boring is not an adjective that describes my writing or my story lines. I do completely understand it might not be your cup of tea.

A few years ago I attended a writing conference where Debbie Macomber read several reviews she’d received. One reader said she hated Debbie’s writing and had reason to know because she’d read everything the author had written. She ended by saying she truly hoped Macomber’s next book would be better.

Every writer laughed. Please hate my books as long as you keep buying them.

What does it take to sell your books?


Posted on January 19, 2013, in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I love Debbie Macomber’s bad reviews reaction. I’ve always felt if someone really hates my book with a passion it means it was an emotional read and their impassioned review will get people to buy it just to see what all the fuss is about. 🙂

    Because I have a background in college teaching, I am very familiar with anonymous reviews. When I began I would be devastated that one or two students in my class of 50+ hated me, the content, my style, my “unfairness,” or any number of other problems. A tenured faculty member sat me down and asked, “Why do you focus on the 2 bad reviews instead of the 48 good ones?” She was right. My desire/need to please everyone was at play instead of any grasp of reality.

    The way I look at reviews is that they are completely a reflection of that individuals taste and needs, not a reflection of whether the book is good or bad. I’ve been reviewing a lot of books lately. Most of them had something I didn’t like–narrative structure, lack of tension, characters didn’t speak to me, etc. However, every time there was a good premise and there were always good or great moments in the story. Thankfully, I have not read a book yet that I felt was a completely failure. If it was, I simply wouldn’t review it.

    Bottom line, no book speaks to all readers or even to the majority. As long as my books get an emotional response I’m happy. Love, hate, tears, laughter, or all of them–any emotion is fine with me. For the few reviewers who say something like “This is the worst crap I’ve ever read…” (it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will) I’ll have to take it as a statistical outlier until I get lots of those types of reviews. 🙂


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