Yesterday’s Book

Frog# Jennifer posted this … about reading the ARCs## of her soon to be published stories and asking herself,

‘What is odd, is every once in a while I stopped and said “Is that what he said?” or “Did I write that?” or “Wait.  That makes absolutely no sense.”

  … to which I commented that I also had that feeling when I read the ARC of Mortal Instinct’. (hereafter known as M.I.)

We aren’t the same writers we were a year ago, or sometimes, even a few months ago. We evolve, learn new skills, hone the one’s we’ve so painfully learned, change styles and/or genres. Our belief systems shift, life herself whacks us upside the head, we fall in/out of love, people die, time passes.

We are not the same.

The writer that I’d been while I wrote and edited (and edited, and edited) M.I. wasn’t who I was by the time I read the ARC. (and not who I am now)

I chose not to read M.I. (after it was published) until an unspecified passage of time had passed. Otherwise, all I’d see would be the imperfections my twisted and over-exposed editorial eye refused to ignore.

This weekend I was ready to read it as a story about a handful of slightly-more-than-ordinary women who embark on a series of extraordinary adventures to save the mortal realms from extinction.

Every now and then the Evil Editor rears her revisionist head, but that’s what big sticks are for!

I’m enjoying my story. It’s not the book I would’ve written today, but I’m very proud of the book I wrote yesterday.

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“The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked” Tillie Olsen, 1912-2007 – feminist, writer, activist.

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 # Frog – Friends on Blogs

## ARC – Author Reader/Reviewer Copy – The final version of your book before it’s published. (this is the version that is sent back to the author to torture them, and out to reviewers the world over!)

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24 comments on “Yesterday’s Book

  1. Kana Tyler says:

    Funny thing—my hubby just unearthed a manuscript I’d thought was long lost to time & multiple moves: the unfinished “novel” I was writing at age eleven… (Talk about YESTERDAY’s book!) Clearly I’d had no idea about Story Structure (or a lot of things, frankly) but there’s some decent writing there, and some funny character moments… Mostly I got a grin out of the trip-back-in-time, remembering (as you say) the writer I WAS. Evolving and growing is a GOOD thing! 🙂

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  2. jannatwrites says:

    I like that you’re able to enjoy your book even though it wasn’t what you would write now. We are constantly changing and growing, so it makes sense that our writing would change as well.

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  3. Erin says:

    Hooray for being able to read and enjoy the book!

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    • Widdershins says:

      I’m about to hit the pivotal scene that defines the whole story – not just for this book, but the whole series – might have to take it down to the lake with a pot of tea and read it in this glorious Fall sunshine. It’ll remind my Self to enjoy the moment!

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  4. So true! But that’s cool that you can still enjoy the book form that other you. 🙂

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  5. Very,very true! I’ve had this reaction to each of my books to date. I recently read an interview with Patricia McKillip in which she confesses to much the same sentiment: http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/interview_mckillip_2008.html

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  6. Dear Widdershins,
    That is a very true statement that we are constantly evolving and changing. We are not the writer we were yesterday. Our beliefs change. Our goals change. Our expectations of ourselves and others change. Thanks for reminding us and helping us to accept ourselves as we are right now.

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  7. I’d like to come back to my stuff a year later and read just for the fun of reading it. I think I’d be able to turn off my “editor” if I was completely set back and apart from it– if that makes sense.

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    • Widdershins says:

      A year seems to be the right time frame too – ‘specially if you’re like me, and forget the finer points of a story arc in a few months. (except fro my own stories … that takes a lot longer!)

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      • Yeah, if I was writing a sequel I’d have to go and re-read everything.

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        • Widdershins says:

          Tell me about it! Book 2 in my series is looming high (part of the reason that prompted me to do a re-read of M.I.) and I need to become familiar with the nuances of my ‘voice’. Not so that I can duplicate it so much, but so I can seamlessly transition from one book to the next – at least that’s the plan!

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  8. londonmabel says:

    Reading old writing is certainly strange at times. Like a biography.

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  9. Wayne E. says:

    Not too long ago, I re-read my first novel and said to myself, “I can’t believe a literary agent actually asked to read this crap!”

    Either I’ve truly advanced as a writer, or I’m just not able to turn off my inner critic. 🙂

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  10. I think it’s awesome to have a first book to go back and re-read. So much inspiration and talent never makes it to a finished manuscript, never mind a published book. The first pat on the back is that you made it! Then you can shush that inner critic and appreciate the final work as if it was someone else who wrote it.

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