August 23rd, 2007


The Urge to Change

I've been transcribing one of my earliest published stories -- something I wrote six or seven years ago, when I was still married and had no idea who al Qaeda were -- in order to e-sub it to a reprint anthology. The original Word file was lost in the Great Computer Cock-Up of 2005, so I have to type the story into a new file from the hardcopy.

The problem is that this story was written so long ago, I want to change everything! While it's heartening to see how far I've come since then, I'm strongly tempted to rewrite this sucker line by line instead of just transcribing it. Mostly to ward off the embarrassment of showing it to the reprint anthology's editor. How did this thing get published in the state it's in?

I can't make changes, of course. That would be cheating, especially for a reprint anthology. But the urge is strong as I type each line into the computer. Better word choices pop unbidden into my head. There are numerous places where I wrote "said" but should have written "asked." There is unattributed dialogue that could be confusing to the reader. Every sentence feels clunky to me -- and worse, so easily remedied. I want to change everything!

No, scratch that. I want to fix everything. But as we all know, writers are the worst judges of their own work. There are many people out there who've told me they love this story. I'm probably being too hard on myself. But still, it's driving me batty!