Help Me Revise My Books

I’m trying something new. There’s a new widget in the sidebar of this blog entitled Suggest a Revision. Pretty self explanatory. If you find yourself thinking something amiss or notice an error in any of my work, please let me know and be part of making these books as good as they can be.

It’s tempting to think that works of fiction are, once published, sacrosanct; that the story is the story, that’s the end of it, errors be damned. Works of art have that way about them, as though they were plucked from the ether by the artist, fully formed, and appear on public display in their true and inviolable forms.

I’m not going to argue with that. Writing certainly feels that way; an act of excavation, rather than creation; just as Michaelangelo used to see faces in the stone, it appears that stories lie out there in the great void somewhere, and all I have to do is transcribe them.

But one can go to far with that kind of thing. Many writers have revised their work, writers that many would seldom have expected: Dickens, of course, published in serial form, and so seveal revisions of his works were required to shape them into the novels we read today. John Fowles revised The Magus. Stephen King dove into his great tome, The Stand, to update cultural references.

There’s no sense in turning down the opportunity to hone one’s earlier work in favour of a better reader experience. Writers learn things with each publication—I’ve been published under a year and have put out three titles in that time, and already I’ve learned more than I could have imagined. Naturally, I look back on my debut now, and resist the urge to cringe at some things. Maybe it’s just back matter, or chapter structure, or a few typos that crept through into the final manuscript. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that, as the artist, I reserve the right to go back and smooth down any rough edges.

I’m not sure how it’ll work, or how it’ll go down with my readers. I hope they’ll be on board with it. (If you’re one yourself, and have something to say, please do.)

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