A couple of days ago I noted I’d be revising Mechanic, the first book in my Corrosive Knights series…
The last time I did any sort of revision on the book, I found, was way back in 2011, so its been roughly seven years since I’ve re-read the book.
I wanted to revise it because it has been so long since I worked on it and figured if I was going to revise the covers to the series (already done), I might as well make sure the first book of the series is as good as I can possibly make it, given that for many this will be their jumping in point in this series. If the first book doesn’t work for a potential new reader, chances are they won’t bother with the other books.
Added to that is the fact that I feel as a writer I’ve improved. Hell, if I haven’t improved my skills in the seven plus years and six new novels made since Mechanic, then I don’t deserve to continue in this field.
But I’d be lying if there wasn’t a hesitancy to doing this.
In my previous post I noted I didn’t want to pull a “George Lucas” with Mechanic. I wanted to “revise” the book and make sure there are no grammatical/spelling errors and ensure the reading experience is a smooth one. What I absolutely DID NOT want to do is “re-do” the book and make it something all new and very different. After all, there are many people out there who read the novel as it originally was (and, for the time being, is) and may react negatively to the author “meddling” with what they liked to begin with.
With that in mind, I began in earnest yesterday to re-read and do the revisions on Mechanic and, in that first full day, nearly made it to the book’s half-way point.
What fascinates me about reading the book after all these years, and after finishing the series, is that there were a few things right off the bat I needed to add/change. Small details, mind you, and not BIG things. As I worked deeper and deeper into the series, for example, I came up with certain names for things that I didn’t bother with back then. But apart from those minor changes meant to make the book fit more snug into this series, for the most part I’ve kept to my word and cleaned up grammatical/clarity issues. The dialogue remains the same, the story absolutely remains the same.
And you know what? Despite the fact that I feel I’m a better author today than I was back then, the story and the way I originally wrote remains, IMHO, very strong.
Mechanic is the shortest, length-wise, of the Corrosive Knights novels. When I presented it to a friend of mine, I told him the book was like a “shark” in water, a novel that doesn’t waste the reader’s time and moves along from scene to scene with minimal “fat”.
Curiously, most of the revisions I’ve done to date tend to involve eliminating lines or words here and there and making the novel even more like that shark in water. I suppose I’m doing the exact opposite of what Mr. Lucas did with his original Star Wars trilogy*.
In the next couple of days I should finish the read-through and, following that, I’ll put the revisions into the document. I’ll let you know when the new -and hopefully improved!- version is ready and released.
*Regarding the Star Wars trilogy and Mr. Lucas’ revisions of it: I have ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with Mr. Lucas going back into those films and adding things he wanted to add but wasn’t able to way back when or decided, afterwards, was worth revising. Hell, I have no problem at all with him making the films something far different than what they originally were. They’re his films and he has every right to do what he wants with them.
My problem with Mr. Lucas is his stubborn insistence on not releasing the original theatrical cuts. Do with your films what you want, but give audiences the ability to see the versions they originally saw way back when as well. Hell, its a win/win situation for him, as far as I can see, to release his “new” version along with the original.
Yet he steadfastly refuses to release the original films in their original form and that, to me, is a crying shame.