"I'm in a quandary. Got the rights back to my very first published book, CINDERELLA GIRL, (12/90) quite awhile ago. Finally working on getting it ready for the digital market and have discovered that I relentlessly head hopped in the book. Now I don't know what to do. As a writing teacher, I counsel my students not to head hop. I stress again and again that they should discipline themselves and learn to write in one point of view per scene. Period. So how can I put a book out there with non-stop head hopping? Problem is, I love the book and the story, and to rewrite it without head hopping would take me longer than to actually write something new. In fact, just thinking of doing so gives me a gigantic headache. So I'm leaning toward publishing the book as is -- with only minor changes -- and let the criticism fall where it may. The other choice would be to never let the book see light of day again. Any opinions?"Pat got opinions. Lots of opinions, mine included. She needs to publish it as is, she needs to re-work it according to what standards have evolved to, she needs to do what feels right to her, she needs...oh, yeah, lots of opinions.
The conversation made me look closer at the book of my own that I'm working on preparing for digital release. Always Annie was published in 1999. In it no one had cell phones, I had me some unrealistic (albeit adorable) teenagers going on, and my use of POV was...well, shall we say soft? My voice has changed since then. It's matured--too much in some ways--but it's also become both stronger and more fluid. I'm much more sure of myself not only personally but professionally as well--life teaches us much if we let it.
But I liked my old voice. And, as Pat says about hers, "I really like the story and there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the book since it's my very first sale..." Yeah. Me, too.
So I'm thinking, and so is Pat. I would imagine some other trad-going-hybrid authors are, too. What do you think, authors and readers alike? Do you want a re-release to be spiffied up or would you rather read the author as she was then?
I was done with this post. Really. But then I thought of something that answered the question for me.
I go back often and read books from my keeper shelf. Old series romances by Muriel Jensen, Betty Neels, Nora Roberts, Cheryl Reavis, Patricia Kay, Kathleen Gilles Seidel, and Jennifer Crusie, to name but a few. I'm pretty sure I've read some of them often enough to recite some of the dialogue verbatim. And I love those books and am comforted and satisfied by them in ways most new stories don't offer. I'm still bitten hard by envy of Kathy Seidel's voice, Jenny Crusie's humor, and Nora Roberts'...well being Nora Roberts. But, while there is envy, there is more admiration than anything else. And there is gratitude to them for sharing their--this may not be a word but it should--splendidity.
Most of these writers' voices have gotten better with experience, I suppose. I read and love the new stories written by my auto-read authors just as I did the old ones. But in truth, the old ones are my favorites. If they re-release those books that are that shelf, I don't want them "fixed." (Except for the ones that are held together with scotch tape, but that's a different story altogether.) I want them just as they were then.
Question answered for me. How about you?