Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch
After the Fall 2016

Monday, April 22, 2013

On a 25-year Reunion with My First Published Book

August will mark the 25th anniversary of my first novel, The Suiting. Published in hardback by Tor, under the name Kelley Wilde, it went on to win a Stoker Award for Best First Novel and was soon after optioned for film. For some I'd been thinking of a special ebook edition...but had been stumped by how exactly I would make it special. A short story at the end? An interview? An essay on the transition from Kelley Wilde to MacRath? 

Still unclear, I approached the book with some trepidation. After all, it had been my biggest trad-pubbing success. And I'd gone through hell in The Desert after my fourth book. My only plan when I began to was to 'tweak' the novel as I proceeded to retype it. (No computer way back then.)

But within two pages, I had my work cut out for me. For over the course of those twenty-five years, I'd learned to write more clearly...developed a good sense of rhythm...come to better balance short and longer sentences, etc. I thought of calling this: The Perfector's Cut. But I make no claim to perfection. Instead, I've set out to transform a better than average first novel into a much smoother read. One true in every way to the original story--but rewritten, using skills that I didn't have at the time.

 Talk's cheap. Example:

 Original text: p. 31: 
 A rare Saturday in April. The last traces of the previous night's snow had vanished from the walks an hour ago. The air was cool and dry; it caught at the top of your throat, each breath a tiny reminder that until tomorrow there were no complaints. 

Revised: 
A rare Saturday morning in April. The last traces of the evening’s snow had already melted. The cool, dry air caught at the top of your throat, each breath a rest from old complaints.

Because this is precision work, I expect to spend the next two months doing far more than retyping. I think you'll like the version I'll tag '25 years Young'.

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