Isabel Long Mystery Series, Killing the Story

Back and Forth with My Editor

Another important step for my next book, Killing the Story: My editor has emailed the final draft to the publisher.

Miriam Drori edited the first three books in the Isabel Long Mystery Series. So, I was glad when Laurence Patterson, from Darkstroke Books, said she would be handling the fourth, since she is so familiar with the characters, setting, and my style of writing.

Let me tell you a little bit about Miriam. She’s originally from the UK, but has lived in Israel for many years and does a lot of traveling. Besides being an editor, Miriam is also an author. (See the links to her books below.)

Laurence sent Miriam the draft I submitted to him and she got to work. She read the ms carefully twice, tracking questions, comments, and suggestions in the document. I responded. She did another round. So did I. That went on for a few weeks.

What I especially like about working with Miriam: she keeps my writer’s voice, but she finds the loose ends and knots I left behind.

Some of her suggested edits involve the misuse of a word, a missing article, a weird use of a preposition, plot problems … oh the list goes on. Several times her questions led me to discover an error I made in the story line or a character — like mixing up in one scene the Old Farts, a group of gossipy old men who station themselves in the back of the town’s general store.

I also enjoy her humor and comments about who she thinks “dunnit.”

Frankly, I am amazed at what she found because I read this manuscript oh so many times before I handed it off and thought I caught it all. Shows you how wrong I was.

Here are some of her comments tracked in the first round of edits.

After the first chapter called Farewell to the Chief:

Miriam: You’re so good at recapping while beginning again.

Me: Thanks. I try to reward those who read the others without giving it way for those who haven’t.

From the chapter where Isabel and her mother go to an open house at the Pit Stop gas station/convenience store: Bobby Collins forks slices of pork onto Ma’s plate. I wave him off mine and stick with the potato salad, coleslaw, and a roll. Then, with the plates raised high, I make my way through the crowd.

Miriam: I’m trying to imagine Isabel holding a plate in each hand and waving him off! Maybe you didn’t mean it literally?

Me: Ha good point! Yeah, that would make a mess.

Here’s a scene between Jack, owner of the Rooster Bar, and Isabel: “Oh, that. Well, get yourself ready. The Truck Stoppers are taking a request. I suggested ‘Honky Tonk Man.’ I recall how much you like Dwight Yoakam.”

“And you think he’s singing about you?”

Miriam: What does that mean when it refers to a person?

Me: A fun-loving guy who hangs around bars typically low-end having a good ol’ time. Besides Isabel likes to tease Jack. You gotta hear the song:

Of course, sometimes an Americanism catches her eye like this one: Fred makes that shave-and-a-haircut knock and then he’s working the handle. “Hey, Billy, how you doin’?” he asks the man sitting on a recliner.

Miriam: Wow! Never heard the term, although the tune/rhythm is familiar.

My response: American I suppose.

We went several rounds on the book. Just before the last, I reread it, and made my last suggested changes. I also found two troublesome scenes that needed more work. A couple of errors. Miriam patiently accommodated me.

Monday she sent the final draft to the publisher and me. Killing the Story will be available Aug. 26 in paperback and Kindle: I honestly feel it’s the best one so far, and I thank Miriam for her part in it.

Here are links to Miriam Drori’s books: and

ABOUT THE PHOTO: My neighbor’s hydrangea bush. Acid pellets helped to turn the flowers blue.


One thought on “Back and Forth with My Editor

  1. Aw, thank you, Joan. I do think we get on well together, and I love your books. I have a lot of things to say in response. In fact, I feel a blog post of my own coming on…

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