“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” ~ Denis Waitley
This summer I’ve gone back to a project I started last summer. It’s the audiobook for my first novel, The Space Between Time. Over the intervening year I’ve learned a lot about audiobook production. I stopped working on my book to record one for a friend of mine, The Dragon’s Gold, by Debrah Strait.
But now that I’m back to recording my book, I realized I needed to begin again and apply my new knowledge. I’m grateful I did my friend’s book first and I’m still learning. After recording about six chapters, I realized I needed to save recordings of the various voices so I can replicate them in later chapters. Doing the different voices is a challenge for me. As an actor, I was never good at impressions or mimicry. And yet, it’s fun to make up different voices because the quality of a character’s voice can tell the listener something about his or her personality.
Something else has happened as I make the recordings. I find there are mistakes in the manuscript, or the writing is a bit clumsy. Part of me wants to go back and clean up the writing. I mean, my name is on it and I want it to be the best it can be. When I mentioned that I might want to make corrections to the book, Barry said, “We can do a second edition.” Wow! I loved that idea, but now I’m thinking that I should leave that project for another day. Perhaps after I finish the sequel, Time’s Echo. There is such a thing as overworking a piece.
This situation has me thinking about do overs and wondering if they are worth the time and effort. George Lucas did rereleases the first Star Wars movies he produced with upgraded special effects. As I recall, there was a lot of controversy about that. Some critics said the movies were like time capsules, they reflected the technology of the time in which they were made and that he should have left them alone.
I know that first books are, in general, not always the best work of an author. I freely admit I’m learning to be a good writer as I go along. But The Space Between Time has not been read by millions of people. If I improve it now, maybe years down the road after I’ve written many more books, I might have enough fans who will want to go back to read this first one. I want those people to enjoy it. Is that crazy?
I have to remember what I tell my students, you didn’t learn to walk in one day. It takes babies lots of practice to be able to walk without falling down. In terms of writing and producing a book and audiobook, the same principle applies. In a way, I’m a perfectionist, but it might be nice for people to see the progression of my work.
There is another thing that has been nagging at the back of my mind.My characters have been called too perfect by some fellow writers, and maybe they have that point of view because most of my characters reflect the people I was surrounded by as I grew up. Our family social life revolved around our church friends. And though no one is perfect, I saw my parents friends as kind, compassionate, and caring. There were, of course, conflicts but until I was a teenager, I was unaware of them. Those early years of feeling nurtured by my church family had a big affect on my outlook on life.
I’ve mentioned Anne Bogel’s podcast, “What Should I Read Next”, in previous posts. She has a new short podcast called “One Great Book” in which she pulls a book she enjoyed off her own book shelves and tells the listeners about it. I was catching up on this podcast this week and listened to one about Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. Anne quoted Jane Austen from her book Mansfield Park, as an example of Marisa de los Santos’ work. “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery,” and Marisa takes that same view. Anne said, Marisa believes her role is to tell stories with happy endings. That resonated with me. That’s the kind of novels I write.
Since we writers create from our biographies, I can’t do anything but write what I know. But even good people face challenges and tragedies both external and internal. I certainly have. And though my characters experience dark events and feelings, they don’t wallow in them. At the end of each book I want my characters to have learned something about themselves and human nature.
Some people may say I write the kind of books Hallmark could produce. That’s okay with me. Right now, I’m into feel good entertainment. So, I’ll continue to write books with happy or hopeful endings. But my goal is to improve my writing skills, to be less wordy, and to create interesting characters and situations that give insights into what it means to be a human being.
Thanks for putting up with my recent political posts. One of the things I’m attempting to do is to be vulnerable and truthful about my feelings and point of view. That’s always a struggle for a devout introvert like me.
I hope you have a fantastic weekend.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.
4 thoughts on “To Redo or Not to Redo”
Don’t do it, Lucinda! Resist the temptation! *grins*
Seriously, though. Don’t. Of course your first book was imperfect. EVERY book could be made better somehow. The more time you spend going back to polish up old work, the less time you’re spending producing new–and better–works. Keep moving forward. Get Time’s Echo done, then the next book… then the next one… then….
Yes! That’s what I’ve come to think as well. Thanks, Ross.
I am currently enjoying The Space Between Time. This is a wonderful story, I am so happy that you had the courage to create this novel. Thank you for this reflective blog post.
Michelle, Thanks so much for your kind words. I never thought of following my creative urges as courageous. On the other hand there were parts of the story I didn’t want to write. I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and ask you to write a review when you finish reading it. That helps me sell more books. Thanks again for your encouragement.