Thursday, February 11, 2016


This week, Debbie asks: “Have any of you ever thrown out a manuscript that just didn't work for you?”

For submitting her question, Debbie’s won a copy of Never Look Back by Kathy Herman!   

If you have a question for us, leave it below. You might be our next winner! You could win a book by one of today’s top suspense/mystery writers – or a gift certificate to Amazon! (Questions submitted without contact information won’t be considered.)

Hmmm. Haven't thrown any out...but I have a file stuffed full of manuscripts I never sold! :)

 Dana Mentink

I don't have the repertoire that most of the other authors do, but I have experienced this situation on just my last book (the third of my Grime Fighter series). I'd already set up that story and started putting the pieces in place when I realized that there was no way to make the story work for the series. Irreconcilable issues. So I tabled the idea for another time and started completely over with a blank file. Funny how all of that empty space stirs my imagination! LOL! And I think Grime Spree turned out great! :)

Marji Laine

I’ve been through all the variations of this theme. I still have a couple of complete novels on my computer hard drive that just didn’t work. They were written before Jeff Gerke taught me the
important question for a novelist: “So what?” In other words, what’s at stake for the hero/heroine if they fail. I’ve also let my first reader (my wife—try that one to see if your marriage survives) look at a story on which I’d written ten thousand words. When she pointed out why it didn’t work, I started over—literally, started over. And the result was one of my prize-winning novels. So, absolutely. If a manuscript doesn’t work for you, chances are it won’t work for the reader, either. Good question.

Richard L. Mabry, MD

I had three books published through a vanity press back in 2006. Once I got my rights back, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to rewrite them. Yikes! The first two are so bad, I'd have to start from scratch. The stories are languishing in a cabinet and may never see the light of day again.

 Cynthia Hickey (Melton)

I haven’t actually “thrown out a manuscript,” but I have a few sitting in my computer I’d like to do something with someday. One needs to be edited, and two others need to be finished. One was actually accepted by a U.K. publisher – until his promotions people decided it wouldn’t sell well in Great Britain because my main character prayed in the library. What????  And another was the sequel to a book that was released by a publisher that started courting and selling gay fiction. I didn’t feel we were a good fit at that point, so she gave me back the rights to it. I haven’t looked at it for years.

Although I want to do something with these unpublished or incomplete novels, to be honest, I’m blessed to be too busy to do it right now.

Maybe someday when I’m rich I can slow down and work on them. LOL!

Nancy Mehl


  1. I know an author who spends regular working hours on her writing, MONDAY - FRIDAY from 9am to 5pm. And sometimes for a few hours on Saturday if on a deadline. She churns out 3 to 4 wonderful novels each year.
    My question is: what kind of hours do each of you devote to your writing? Do you work regular hours or sporadic times? This inquiring mind wants to know.

  2. Thanks for answering my question. Loved the answers.