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Rewrite (sorry, "Revision") Blues

May 30, 2013
Posted at 5:37 pm

Someone wrote to complain about everything not in the 'revised' Prologue. (Sorry, 'complain' is too strong a word, they were merely commenting on the prologue, observing that it was less a 'rewrite' than simply 'more of the same'. I wrote a lengthy reply, which I'll try to reiterate here without tackling any of his specific comments directly.

Yeah, I tried to be 'smart' (because of the odd way the SOL posts stories), and decided to post the short Prologue separately from the first chapter. Normally I'd have posted them together, but SOL takes any and all posts you make in the same 3 day period as being the same post, and since most of my readers check the 'Updated Series' page, I wanted the first chapter to appear there instead. However, I'm not sure that worked, as the scores on the Prologue have been poor. <sigh>

Actually, since posting it, I'm been reconsidering the whole Prologue. It's like when they advise writers to throw away their entire first two chapters, I'm not sure the Prologue really adds anything to the story. It was intended as a way to 'hook' the reader by giving them more information than the story's characters had, but it was an early 'experimentation' of mine that I'm not sure was really justified. (Plus, even now, it takes up a lot of the 'free read' section of the ebook, which doesn't help either. I think I'd prefer them to just read the entire first chapter.)

But the first chapter will appear first thing Saturday (as close to 12:01 as I can get it, although SOL has been going to bed earlier and earlier, so recently I've had to start posting it in the early evening (around 8 or 9 the previous day). <sigh again> 'D

But no, this wasn't meant as a 'rewrite', that's why I keep referring to it as a 'revision'. I've cleaned up the language, clarified a few confusing points, and added a bit more detail--specifically about people's thoughts and responses--but I haven't changed any essential story details. Cate is still Cate, everything they deal with is still there. What I was trying for was to apply everything I'd learned about writing to what was already there, so there's more 'show' than the previous 'telling' passages, a few additional dialogues where there had been simple summations before.

As far as more substantial changes, what I've always wanted to do was to change it from 1st person to 3rd person. The whole Prologue and Biographer's sections were my attempt to force a 3rd person perspective on a 1st person story after it had already been written. So when I started on Book 2, I converted the entire 1st chapter, essentially reading each paragraph ahead of me and retyping it so all the references were correct, as well as making modifications on the fly as I went. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, that was way too much work for too little payback, so I immediately took it back, but because I like the newer changes, I had to examine the entire thing line by line, changing everything back to 1st person. Talk about a huge waste of time!!!

Book 2 is similar, since I was essentially happy with how the story worked out. The pacing was good, the dialogues and the interactions worked well, and the action was nicely paced. So I've started to cut back on those edits until I see what the reaction to Book 1 is. The books I really want to change are Books 4 and 5 (previously book 3, "Racing the Clock"). Since that was was written on the fly, it had a LOT of stuff I thought would have been better served on the cutting room floor. So I'd like to hack it apart somewhat, but I'd probably not add anything new (aside from a few small things, like removing the initial "Fox" reference in the scene with Clara Thomas (MSNBC would have worked as well), or yanking out the "Let's try this new idea. Hmm, that didn't work, how about this one?" between Cate and Alex. I'd thought that would show how people approach scientific problems, but instead it simply confused the readers.

But... now I'll wait and see how many people read Book 1. If there's enough people to justify making the later changes, I'll continue, continuing at a chapter a week so I have time to revise much of books 4 and 5. But, if no one is really interested, then I'll simply can the whole thing, post 2 or even 3 chapters a week to get through them a bit faster, saving my energy for editing the final book 6, "Building a Legacy", which everyone has been waiting for (P.S. It's written and is with the editors, waiting their edits and my 2nd pass revisions). I've also started a completely new story, and I also want to attack GD 3 before I forget what was happening, so I'm hoping to use the time the story takes to post to finish those.

So, long story short, don't expect any major changes. It should read a little easier, but nothing substantial has changed, I've just 'cleaned it up' a bit. The problem is that I didn't want to just dump "Building a Legacy" on an audience who'd forgotten what had happened before, and since it wasn't ready in time, I really didn't want to simply disappear for another 2 or 3 months like I did between GD 1 and 2. People didn't respond well to that short hiatus.

But beyond all of that, the Prologue had even less of the 'clean up' than the rest of the story has. About the only thing I added to the Prologue was a bit more dialogue, and some more detail to Allison's responses, since I wanted to keep the 'teaser' quality of it. You should notice a bit more 'flavor' of the cleanup effort in Chapter 1 on Saturday.

But most of [his] questions about new material are addressed in the final book, which I should have ready relatively soon. That one addresses many of his issues in an ongoing basis, rather than trying to address them one at a time in the older story. Cate addresses her issues, they try to decide if Cate is 'draining his energy' as well as her trying to determine how she's going to eventually deal with his impending death. Book 6 also becomes more theoretical. But, yes, Alex qualifies as an atheist since he doesn't specifically believe that God can exist (a point the writer made), but he's conflicted in that much of what he's doing seems to point to a world of 'spirit's which counters his own disbelief. But, each time he starts to question his own believes, they learn a little more which reinforces his disbelief in God. So it keeps going on and on as a questioning of faith, and of 'non-faith' as it were.

But, finally, much of this 'revision' was my attempt to broaden my market beyond just SOL and ASSTR. I'm trying to push the books to the broader 'ebook' market, and trying to post them to other internet areas in an attempt to find new readers, both for the older stories and for my future stories.

So, I hope that explains what I'm trying to do by rereleasing my 'older' material. There's actually a method to my madness, but hopefully what I'm doing will be a little plainer when I release the first chapter on Saturday!