Thursday, June 03, 2010

Revision Conundrum

I said I wouldn't, but I just have to.

Yesterday, I e-mailed my Type M colleagues to ask their respective (and respected) opinions regarding an idea I have for my current project. In the e-mail, I said I didn't know if my question was worthy of a blog, but after a sleepless night, I think it might be. I'm still mulling things over and welcome your two cents.

My dilemma revolves around the decision to revise CUT SHOT, the first book in the Jack Austin PGA Tour mystery series. I began this process with an eye toward e-publication. As I stated last week, I’m struggling to effectively straddle the challenge of making the novel the best it can be while honoring the version of the book that launched the series.

The deeper I get into the rewrite, the more potential I see. Thus, I’m tempted to make some significant changes. I’m even considering renaming a character so I can kill her off while still having her in subsequent books. I have added a new character and am thinking of giving the book a fresh title.

What began as a straightforward decision to use the goal of e-publication as a vehicle to look at my first novel with experienced eyes, to simply knock the dust off a ten-year-old novel, has turned into a full-blown conundrum: Will I damage the integrity of the series if I make substantial changes to the first novel in it? Is the point of this revision to introduce new readers to the series (and its recurring characters)? Or should my revisionist’s goal be to simply put my best foot forward and give readers the most compelling (if somewhat different) version of CUT SHOT I can? If that is the case, it could mean wholesale changes.

I'm leaning toward playing it safe. My Type M colleagues have weighed in. I'll keep their opinions to myself (for now) and wait to hear what readers think.


ajcap said...

No. No no no. We devoted readers who continue to read a series because we love the characters, do not like change. We don't want anyone suddenly dead. Or new characters,where there wasn't new characters before. It confuses us.

If the original book was good enough to warrant more books, leave it alone.

With all due respect. Didn't mean to come across as a fanatic...

Maribeth said...

If all these changes are made then it is no longer the same novel. It stands to reason that your writing has improved over the series. If it hadn't you have bigger problems than these changes.
What you're suggesting is almost a whole new novel and what you're thinking of doing would mean redoing others in the series for e publication.
Leave it alone and admit you've gotten better over the years.

Giggles and Guns

Vicki Delany said...

John, What is your purpose for doing this? It requires time and effort, which are probably in short supply with your family and job. If you want to do this - go for it. But... are you perhaps delaying starting something new? Just a question.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

John, you're getting some good feedback here. Maribeth may have hit the nail on the head with the fact that you're starting a whole new novel--maybe a new series, in fact.

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