This week I started my double edit, the re-edit of Johnson Farm and the initial edit of The Calm Inside the Storm (the sequel to Unintended Consequences) in particular I spent a good chunk of time on the first chapters of Johnson Farm.
It should have been easy. The book already passed through the fire, right? So, it’s just update a few things, catch a few things the old editor missed, and we’re there!
Well… no… Johnson Farm was my first published novel. When I initially wrote it, it wasn’t supposed to have sequels, much less a parallel trilogy. There are lots of things to be fixed.
There are updates I knew I’d make.
There are goofs I knew I had to fix.
And then there are things I’ve learned since the book came out, style choices that need to be modified for the series, new formatting for the new publisher, and just a few “What the _ _ _ _ was I thinking?” moments.
I’m not sorry about the first edition. I needed to do what I did, and to learn what I did. But, the second edition will be better.
My whole editing style/technique has changed.
I have a better team to work with.
I almost feel like I know what I’m doing…
The book will be better. That’s a fact.
Regretting the first edition won’t get me anywhere. That’s also a fact. I goofed. I didn’t know enough to do it all. But, by taking that leap I put myself into a better position, a position where I can and will do better, write better.
There’s always a danger in reopening old wounds. It can be a real challenge to deal with past mistakes. But, time and distance can help.
We learn things as time goes on (unless we’re dead or idiots).
We gain perspective.
We (hopefully) get away from immediate threats and the emotions of the moment.
These can help us deal with things constructively and deal with things better.
But, we also risk creating a mythology around our mistakes, justifying our errors. That’s why we need to be honest with ourselves and others; the ‘natural man’ wants to create stories and barriers to protect our mistakes. If we want to fix our errors, we have to dig down those barriers and have the courage to face the truth inside.
Re-editing Johnson Farm is frustrating, embarrassing, and hard work. But, the new version will be better. And, I will really see where the editing is next week, when I’m comparing side by side with a raw first draft (which was written right after the first draft of Unintended Consequences (and before I edited and learned from that book)).
Yeah, next week will be interesting…
We all make mistakes dear reader. We all have pasts (you know… unless you were born while reading this post…). Dealing with them constructively will get us farther than sitting around with regret.
That’s it for this one dear reader. See you next post.