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Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Convocation of Kings - Second Edition

Why a rewrite, you might ask? Many would argue that a professional writer - and I consider myself a professional - would never do such a thing, that you should never release a book that isn't finished.
Well, I didn't - insofar as the perfectionist in me would allow. I was happy with A Convocation of Kings, it was a good book . It accomplished the things I wanted to accomplish, said the things I wanted to say - that love can conquer all and  the hatreds war engenders are never over when the fighting is over, among others.
I remember reading a quote from a famous artist that said that even when the painting is on the wall of a museum he could spot  little things he might have done differently.
Another quote says that a work of art is never truly finished, it's just abandoned - a quote possibly attributed to DaVinci.
I understand both quotations. (and yes, writing is an art.)
But a point has to be reached where you simply have to say - It's done.
Go to any one of thousands of writer's groups and you'll find dozens of people who have been working on the same manuscript for years, endlessly polishing, questioning each word or phrase, critiquing each other's work, but never submitting a single manuscript. And they probably never will.
I understand that, too, but there is a point where you can actually tweak a story to death, render every sentence sterile and remove any semblance of soul.
You want it to be the best it can be, but sooner or later, you have to let it go.
So I made A Convocation of Kings as good as I could make it, and then let it go.
So again, why the rewrite?
Because, as any artist or writer can tell you, sometimes your mind is wandering and then suddenly this idea pops up out of nowhere. I was working on this completely different project when I had this brainstorm about A Convocation of Kings. Was it anything specific? I don't really remember. I was just driven to take another look at it. (Ask my husband, I disappeared into my writing room for the better part of three weeks.) I just knew it could be better and how to get it there. So I sat down, started on page one and did an extensive edit, tightening some scenes, making others clearer, expanding on others, deleting one or two that didn't move the story forward while adding others. New characters popped up and a small character got bigger, to reflect the part of the story that revolved around the main characters.
I'm hardly the first one to have done it. Stephen King released a Complete and Uncut version of The Stand because he wanted to put back in some scenes that had been edited out.
In the past, that wasn't possible. That may be one of the blessings of being an indie writer, especially of e-books. It's a new world, a new way of doing things, and we may now have the freedom to make changes on the fly - whether just minor grammar changes or something as extensive as with A Convocation of Kings.
All I know for certain is that when I finished, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. A Convocation of Kings was a good book. I really believe that now it's a better book.