Friday, December 3, 2010


I'll give you organic!

Dec. 1st was a milestone day for me. I sent my finished manuscript to my editor at Berkley Prime Crime. It was finished, coherent, and to deadline! A great feeling in so many ways...and also, an immense feeling of relief.

But, I've worked to deadlines before and have learned that I thrive on them. So, no surprise there. What has wowed me is that writing this book became such an organic process.

I started with the synopsis-according-to-the-publisher's-bible and wrote fairly quickly through the first draft. Then that writing tool, stress, appeared. What gremlin had gotten into my computer and messed up the timeline? Who changed that character's name mid-story? Why was this reading so flat?

The first re-write tackled several of the issues...but not all. Still more work to be done. And many more words required. And, this is when it morphed into an organic experience. A couple of paragraphs of description led into a new thread that added some depth. A remembrance from childhood blossomed into another thread that will carry through the series. Something doesn't read write? A re-write takes that character into a new space and several possibilities for growth.

The comments from the chosen few, the trusted readers, come in and get blended into the process. Several more stages of re-writes and edits, polishing and proofing, and the stress serves up into satisfaction, with a side dish of self-doubt, of course.

And, it's ready to go. This manuscript has grown from a few words on the screen to a 79,000 word tale with a life of its own. To me, that's very organic. And, I know it will all happen again as the birthing of novel number 2 begins...and this one has a gestation period of nine months!

I'm wondering what other writers remember most about that first novel?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase


  1. i remember that my 1st novel took me 5 years to write, and it included pieces of several unpublished short stories i'd written years before

    i'm wondering if that beautiful kitten is Keesha or Mojo?

  2. Neither but a dead ringer for sure.

    Good you were able to use old material...there should always be a un-used parts file.