My quandary was that in order to make the sequel work, I needed to change some of the original manuscript, and The Tipping Point was already published and out there for sale. So I asked knowledgeable friends, other writers and editors. The advice was always the same…”Don’t do it! Invest the time and money into the next novel,” They told me.
“Yeah, I get that, but I want a book with my name on the cover to be the very best writing I can produce, and without a rewrite, this one isn’t going to be the best.” I explained why I considered revising the book and that there were the issue of reviewer’s critique. While The Tipping Point has garnered many four and five star reviews, a few were a bit lower on the star ladder and had some issues, with which I agreed. A rewrite would give me the opportunity to correct those. And that is what I did.
The process is almost complete. The manuscript has been through editing and has gone to the capable hands of the interior designer to be beautifully formatted.
Next to the birth of my five sons and the wedding of their mother and step mothers, the publication of The Tipping Point was one of my most prized moments. The novel took longer than the nine months it required bringing the boys into this world. And unlike those five perfect specimens of manhood who call me “Pops,” the book with my name on it was not the best effort I was capable of making.
On Getting it Wrong the First Time
Allow me the same benefit that most of us give to our current Commander in Chief—blame it on someone else! No, I can’t do that and he should not do it. In my case, the blame is mine for I wrote it, approved of all the editorial suggestions, and approved the proof from the printer. The unfortunate truth is that I am solely responsible for that publication. Due to a lack of experience on my part and the knowledge that comes with the ‘doing of a thing repeatedly’, some of the reviews the book received were not complimentary. No writer likes poor reviews. The fact is that two of the thirty-three positive reviewers said some very nice things, about both the story and the writing. To be honest about it; I had to agree with those observations that detracted from a higher score for the novel.
I have learned much in the twenty months since TTP1 was released, by studying my craft; writing classes, seminars, webinars and by reading the works of some excellent authors. The result was that the publication I was proud to have my name on its cover, was in fact, not the best product I could produce.
As Steven King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I greatly admire King, as a person and successful writer. His advice is on point. And I have improved my craft. About halfway through the first draft the sequel, Inside Moves I realized that to work the way the characters were taking the story and plot lines, I needed to make some changes to the original story. These were minor modifications in scope, but I debated and sought the council of other writers I trust and admire. To a person, the advice was, “Let it be. Spend your resources on getting the next book out. Do not waste time and money on something that is done. It will never be perfect. Fogettaboutit
I of course, thanked my peers for the good advice and immediately began to rewrite. But, you see, my motivations were very different from those I asked for help. I had two important goals to achieve; Make the story work for the sequel and address the comments that several readers and reviewers found confusing. At the risk of boring you to tears, I’d like to identify the major ones.
First was the editing. It’s not that I thought editing was unimportant; it is the most important part of the publishing process. The TTP1 had four different editors, not all at once, but over time I would tweak the manuscript after receiving corrections back from the editorial folks. The novel suffered from a lack of continuity of voice.
I won’t do that anymore.
In the next week, I will have a post reflecting the conversations I maintain with my Muse.
Photo Credit: Tammy Strobel