Monday, May 9, 2016

There's Always Something More

This is Alycia. Please help me welcome Dr. Richard Mabry as our guest poster this month. Dr. Mabry's tenth novel releases May 17th. You can check out Medical Judgment by clicking on this sentence. Thanks for joining us today! If you'd like the opportunity to win a copy of Medical Judgment, leave a comment below. We'll announce the winner next week!

by Dr. Richard Mabry

When I arrived at my first writer’s conference, I fully expected to show my writing to an editor or The Muppet Movie, refers to as the “standard rich and famous contract.” Those expectations began to fade as I realized how much I needed to learn about the craft. And you know what? After more than a decade of writing, I’m discovering that there’s still a lot to learn.

Part of what we learn is about the craft of writing. For instance, if you look at the midpoint of a novel, you’ll often find a scene or situation that makes the reader sit up and take notice. It's a device to avoid the “sagging middle.” For instance, in my forthcoming novel, Medical Judgment, if I open the book to the middle I find a scene where the heroine goes back to her late husband’s father for advice and a bit more. It changes the direction of the book just a bit. Learning that was one of the things I learned by continuing to study the craft.

When I got my first editorial letter, I expected something like, “This is wonderful. Don’t change a thing.” After all, the editor had liked it well enough to give me a contract. What more did I have to do? You can imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when, after saying how great the book was, the editor proceeded to give me several pages of suggestions to improve it. And, after I’d had some chocolate and stopped pouting, I discovered that she was right. Matter of fact, I still remember one comment of hers—“Are you aware of just how much in love with the word ‘just’ you are?” Believe me, I’ve done a search for that word in all subsequent novels.

Since you’re reading this blog, I trust that you are interested in the writing craft. Let me tell you that editors are important to every writer. Oh, there may be some whose work can be published without change, but they’re few, far between, and—in my opinion—exist only in stories told over coffee at writers’ conferences. For the rest of us, taking editorial advice is a necessary part of writing.

So what about you? What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about writing a novel? Have you changed from plotter to pantser or vice-versa as things went along? Has a writing application made you a better writer? Do you think editorial advice is overrated, or very necessary? I’d love to know. Please share your answers in the comments below.


After a decade of #writing, @RichardMabry is still learning... He joins us today at The Write Editing. {Click to Tweet}

Why is it important for #writers to keep learning? @RichardMabry shares his wisdom. {Click to Tweet}

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” His previous novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. He is a proud member of the ACFW, the International Thriller Writers, and the FHL chapter of the RWA. Medical Judgment is his tenth published novel.


  1. Alycia, thanks for having me here today. I look forward to responding to any comments your blog readers may leave, and hope they enjoy Medical Judgment.

    1. We're honored to have you with us, Dr. Mabry!

  2. Hi, Doc! I'm painfully aware of an editor who thinks "Just" just isn't a good word to use. I'm glad you've persisted. I am trying, sometimes very trying. My two chief editors pass me back and forth, but they are persisting, too! Looking forward to seeing you on the road.

  3. Congrats on your 10th novel, Doc. Medical thrillers are my faves!

  4. Thanks, Warren and Vonda. Appreciate your dropping by and leaving a comment.

  5. You're right, Dr. Mabry. I know I have much to learn about writing. In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize what I don't know. Congratulations on #10.


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