Thursday, October 3, 2013

This Is Why Many Pro Authors Don't Re-Read Their Work (plus some news)

The audio edition of A Fistful of Fire is in progress. I'm hearing every awkward sentence, every this-would've-been-clearer-with-a-transition spot. I'm noticing anew all the "problem" areas—some of which were done on purpose to fit the overall story and narrator.

I suspect I'll be one of those authors like Kathy Tyers, who has gone back and revised some of her early novels. Now, she waited a decade before doing so, and one of the reasons she revised was to strengthen the Christian themes. (Original publisher was mainstream; second publisher was Christian.) But still—she's one clear example of someone who has two editions published for more than one book. (I own, er, all the originals, some signed. I used to have all the revisions, too, but I gave one away and haven't yet replaced it.)

I'll probably wait at least a few more years before I attempt such a revision myself, though. (One thing I do want to do is a third person, past tense edition of the series. I started the conversion for fun, and it's interesting how it changes the entire feel.) Even if I do that, though, I'll leave the earlier editions available in some fashion, for those readers who prefer the original over whatever I change. (S.J. Maas? If you read this, when you get your rights back to Queen of Glass, please release an edition of the original that was taken from FictionPress. I know the plot wasn't as tight and there were problems with it, but I actually liked it better.)

So while my fingers are twitching and my inner editor is wailing, "That's wrong!", I'm firmly reminding myself that it's exactly what I wanted it to be. (Well, except for the handful of typos we've found.) And for my first released novel to be precisely what I wanted it to be—that's something that wouldn't have been possible, if not for God's blessing on my writing and friends who critiqued it, and if not for self-publishing getting viable before I finished it, because there are reasons to avoid doing what I did. Good reasons.

And that was part of why I did those things to begin with. I wanted a story with a fairly passive narrator, for instance.

But that doesn't stop me from cringing when I read those things, now, because they aren't what I "should" have done. Or they could've been done better. Or differently, which can seem "better" when you're just looking at what's on the page.

Ah, the joys of being an ever-learning writer. ^_^

I've been working on that Realities of Self-Editing e-book, and I'm torn between the urge to expand it, making each section clearer and more applicable to both fiction and non-fiction, and the urge to just focus on clarity fixes and not worry about the rest. I'm trying to do the former, but I'm almost always tired, these days, and I keep catching myself doing the latter.

(I have an appointment for later this morning with a practicioner of integrative medicine who should at least be able to identify what's causing my myriad of health issues. [She's helped at least two people I know, and she's currently helping my mother.] The list of what could be causing my symptoms is as long as my arm, and there's probably more than one factor involved, but I'm not sick enough for conventional medicine to do anything but start me on the cover-the-symptom funnel of medication. I've started one, which is helping one thing and possibly another, but it seems to be making something else worse, so I'm…hoping I can find an alternative.)

On the bright side, God's been blessing me with a clear mind, regardless of how my body's feeling—and I know from prior experience with some of these symptoms that this should not be the case—so that's good. (Never fear, clients and fans: You're still getting my full quality work. I'm just not working for as long in a day because I'm sleeping more.)

But I'm still getting a nice amount done. My e-mail sign-up form for my fiction releases is all nice and pretty and set up…and still not embeddable due to something in the auto-setup that I've not yet figured out how to hack. (The embedded form is too narrow and cuts off text. So I'm working on that.)

In the meantime, my testing has shown it to work perfectly fine, and I've set it up so you can sign up for updates on everything or on specific names/genres. First e-mail is almost ready to go out. (And I'm probably going to send it out before I feel as if it's "ready", because I probably won't ever feel "ready", since I've never actually run an e-mail list before. Though I've known for years that I should.)

Finding that balance between too much caution and too little of it—it's far easier said than done.

Do you like it or dislike it when an author revises an old work? What do you think of revising your own already-released work?


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