Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time Passages

As authors, we have existing, immutable items that mark the passage of time. Our books sit out there, unchanging even though we continue to evolve.

Two things recently occurred to make me think about this.

This week, Ellora’s Cave is re-releasing Kissing Stone. I wrote this story back in 2003 with the intention that it would be one of three in an anthology. On Monday, it’s being released as a standalone story. Without the opportunity to edit or re-write any bits of the story, I made the choice to have the story reissued. Bracing myself, I picked up Kissing Stone and re-read it, hoping I didn't cringe at what I'd put on paper six years ago.

I didn't cringe. I did learn my style’s changed a lot in six years. Kissing Stone is still a good read. I enjoyed reading it, liked the characters, liked the story. But I think about how I would write it today. The dialogue would be a little different and I’d probably throw in a second hero (since most of my stuff these days involves two guys and a girl). I discovered several places where I used words or phrases that I liked, that I don’t think about using today. Parts of the story seem almost “sweet”…though I have to say I think the whole thing is pretty dang hot.

Having re-read Kissing Stone, I can see my early style and how it’s developed into the voice I have today.

This past week, I had another book release—Dragon’s Prey came out in print. This book is two or more years old and it was one of the most difficult stories for me to write. I struggled with plot and characters and my memories of the book are frustration and dread. So, with it being released onto a whole new group of unsuspecting readers, I went back and looked it over again.

Time has smoothed the memories. A few years’ distance and I can enjoy it again. The characters, the adventures, the hot scenes between the hero and heroine are new again. So new in fact, I had to go back and re-read parts because I couldn’t remember what I’d done. That might not be so much the effects of time but aging.

There are still those stories that I go back and read and cringe, wondering how I could have written it. But I think time is kinder with writing than in much of life. At least for me.


Lynn LaFleur said...

Tielle, I doubt there is an author who doesn't want to go back and change things once the book is published. I can look at my older books and think, "This would be so much better if I had..."

Overall, like you, I'm happy with my books. I've had great critique partners and editors who've helped make my books better.

I'm looking forward to a re-read of Kissing Stone!


Cait Miller said...

I've recently gone back and re-read my first book too. I'm working on the 3rd and needed to for continuity's sake. It was an interesting experience, I can agree with everything you've said. There are lots of things I'd change but there are also a lot of things I that made me proud of myself :)