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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so here is an interesting topic I think will be fun to get other people's take on it.

Especially for those who have several books out there already, it's quite normal as you pump out your work, that you naturally improve upon your skills and become better writers. Like I said, I'm only assuming here.

Have you ever finished up with book 4, 5, or 6 and then gone back and read your debut novel and wonder who in the hell wrote it? Even our perspectives change whether sentence structures are grammatically correct or not. So I can see where it is tempting to go back and make changes, improve on areas you felt were weak, and so forth.

So, how do you deal with this? Do you dive in and make edits and improve your earlier works, or do you leave it be and spend time pumping out the next novel?

For someone who just published their 2nd novel, I can see an overall improvement in writing from the beginning of book one up through book two. Not that I would go as far to say book one is bad, but you catch my drift. I assume this is all very normal and natural for authors of many works?

So how do you personally deal with this. Is it a blessing to know you are improving all the time and getting better with each novel or a curse, always feeling you "could have done better"?

Thoughts?  ;D
 

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I don't go back and read my debut novel. :) That said, I plan to rewrite the final third of that novel once I get the rights back...in 2019, I think? And I'll probably find plenty to clean up in the prose when I do. I have no plans to go back and fix subsequent books-I've been more careful to do what's right for the story with those. With the first book, I tried to make it fit in a certain genre at the expense of what was really right for the story...and wound up making no one happy: the people who read it for the genre were disappointed, and the people who saw what it should have been were equally disappointed. Lesson learned! Other than that, I try to put out the best book I can given the level of skill and craft I have at that point in time. Yeah, I'm going to improve (I hope!) over time, but knowing I did my best at the time is enough to keep me from fiddling with those books. Whatever valid points people bring up in reviews, I take that info and try to apply it to future books. Always moving forward...
 

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I am actually doing this right now. I wrote my debut novel over a period of about 10 years. I wrote it before I got my English degree and I wrote it before I got my Master in English. I have literally written about a million words since then. (school and pleasure) I had it edited and published as it was, but when I recently went back and re-read some of it, I realized it wasn't up to my current standard. It isn't bad, just not the way I want it and not how I remembered it, so I have spent the last week going over it and smoothing out the prose,adding some words for clarity etc. I am not changing the story at all, just improving the prose and making sure everything fits for books 2 and 3. I will send it back to editing too. However, after this overhaul, I am vowing never to return to it. I will improve it to the best of my ability and then it's just going to have to stand on its own. I have other stuff to write!
 

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Once my first book is out no way am I going back to read it. No time, gotta keep moving forward. I would never re-write a book that I've published. It's out there. It exists. Its a physical record of my achievement at the time.
 

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I don't tend to look at a project once it's completed.

I wrote in the "How do you switch off" thread that my method of working is to basically go and go until I suffer burn out. As such, I never really want to ever see something I've worked on ever again, let alone go and read it to gauge how good I am currently.
 

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Yeah, I don't read it, as there's nothing that I can do about it now, unfortunately. I have an audiobook that's whisper-synced with it, so I can't make substantial changes to it. Which is unfortunate, because it's definitely not my best book, as shown by it's ratings and reviews. Although some people love it - 60% consistently give it 4 stars or above. But the ones that hate it REALLY hate it.

And the sad irony is that my first book is the only book that BB will take thus far. Ah, well, I guess I should be happy that BB takes any of my books at all.
 

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I cringed when I reread my debut novel, but it's still one of my highest rated books, so there's no way I'm going back to ruin it for all those people who loved it. It was the only book I wrote without worrying about what people would think and without following any of the rules, and I'll never get that innocence back, so I'm glad I published it.  ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
katherinef said:
I cringed when I reread my debut novel, but it's still one of my highest rated books, so there's no way I'm going back to ruin it for all those people who loved it. It was the only book I wrote without worrying about what people would think and without following any of the rules, and I'll never get that innocence back, so I'm glad I published it. ;D
Amen!!!! I didn't think I was going to turn my story into a book with my debut novel until I was well past the halfway mark. I never paid any attention to what others would think or if I should delete a cliche' etc. People read it and love it but I think, knowing what i know now, wouldn't have written it the exact same way. I am just eager to write new novels and not be caught up in my past.
 
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katherinef said:
I cringed when I reread my debut novel, but it's still one of my highest rated books, so there's no way I'm going back to ruin it for all those people who loved it. It was the only book I wrote without worrying about what people would think and without following any of the rules, and I'll never get that innocence back, so I'm glad I published it. ;D
Yes!

My personal opinion is to make sure that what you are publishing is publishable...not perfect. Too many writers suffer from Beta Syndrome, rushing a book out to publish when it is still in practically a draft phase and then constantly going back and tweaking it over and over based on reviews. I published my first book in 2004. I did everything wrong, but I was working with what I knew at the time and how the industry was at the time. I made lots of mistakes with it, but also learned what not to do the following time. But I'm not going to go back in time and rework it because I am moving forward with new projects. When I die, nobody will accuse me of pulling a George Lucas and spending my entire life rewriting the same thing over and over. :D :-*

I also think there is something sad about the impermanence of digital books. With the constant ability to edit and re-edit and edit again, future generations will never get to follow an author's progression. Maybe it is the English Major in me talking, but I used to enjoy those courses in college where you studied the body of an author's work and analyzed different periods and progression. The future generation is going to think we were all perfect butterflies right out the gate and never evolved in our style. And I think that is sad, because we lose a little bit of the meaning of our work that way.
 

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Yes, which is why my first book will never see the light of day.  It's like it was written by a half-baked clone on a drunken binge.
 

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When I finished my trilogy, I went back and gave my first book another pass.  There were a lot of little details that crept into the series by the end that just were not addressed or did not exist when I wrote the first book.  I'm also on my third cover in four years for the first book too.  One of the advantages we have over traditional publishing is our ability to quickly modify our work until we do get it right.  Our careers are not beholden to the old 30-90 days on the bookshelf and you either make it or you are done in this business.  I honestly don't plan on revisiting the series again, but who knows.
 
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