Monday, August 10, 2020

Re-writing, or more like Reinventing, an old novel

Back in 1981, DAW Science-Fiction was gracious enough to publish a novel of mine called Banners of the Sa'yen. I was ecstatic. Thrilled! I was a published writer! I was on my way to becoming a paperback Sci-Fi/Fantasy publishing machine!

Well, as you know, youthful visions of grandeur rarely come to fruition. 

Mine certainly didn't.

Going back to the original version and looking at it again, I have to admit, it wasn't one of my greatest examples of literary brilliance. What I knew then about how to write, versus what I know now, is an entirely different universe.  I wrote extremely long and complex-compound sentences. I had a tendency to ramble along, fitting too many images into one paragraph and inadvertently disguising what I actually wanted to say from the reader. And on, and on, and on.

In short, Banners of the Sa'yen had its problems.

I bring this up because we writers have no idea how our written words affect others. A kid picks up a paperback novel and reads it. And something magical happens. The story, the characters, the worlds created in that novel, all come together and are somehow burned into their memories. It becomes a living thing in their minds. A living thing which they carry around with them for the rest of their lives. And desperately wished for that writer to hurry and produce more books which carries them to distant stars and imaginary wonderlands never before seen.

I write this because, to my everlasting delight, over the years fans  have  tracked me down on the internet and wrote to me. Wrote to me explaining their delight and love for the novel and how important it was to them. One fan once wrote telling me how he bought the novel back when he was barely a teenager. He kept the book all the way through adulthood. Got married. Had kids. And one day his daughter is with him while they are cleaning the attic and the girl finds Banners of the Sa'yen lying in a box gathering dust. She asks her dad if she can read the book. He says yes . . . and the girl is swept away just like her dad was years ago.

And everyone one of them have asked me if I am going to finish the series. Of all the books, short stories, novellas I have written in the last forty years, this is the one title where people have said they loved the beginning of the series and wanted to live with it all the way to the end.

The answer is "Yes." Yes, I am going to finish the series.

But there will be changes. Some might think, perhaps, drastic changes. But the writing will be tighter. More concise. The imagery will be more visual. There will be surprises. The story itself will be hundred times more interesting.

Stay tuned.