By Kristy McCaffrey
I recently had the opportunity to revisit my first novel. It was with more than a tinge of dread that I approached a re-edit to ready it for a second edition release. Why the reluctance? Printed 11 years ago by a brand-new publisher, it had what I would term a 'soft edit', a predicament that my ignorance at the time didn't allow me to see. As a fledgling writer attempting to juggle numerous balls—plot, pacing, characterizations, research—I'd been excited and overwhelmed and, at times, confused. While I've had wonderful feedback on the book, I've always felt in the ensuing years that it contained weak writing. My overhaul of the project confirmed this.
But, rather than dwell on the negatives, here is what I learned.
—I have a good story, and I still like it.
—I can fix mistakes.
—I've developed a good internal editor in the years that have passed. Always keep going.
—I'm proud of my younger self for finishing a book and taking a chance to get it published. It was a lot of work.
—I was much more romantic in my younger days. I need to find that again.
—A thank you to any and all who read the book, and ferreted out the story despite the passive writing and sometimes confusing inner dialogue (there were parts even I wasn't sure what I was trying to say).
—A book is often a snapshot of a writer at the moment that it's written. Hence, I decided not to do any major rewriting. We do our best, then move on.
—And finally, the spark that drives me to write—as evidenced within the pages of this book—remains.
Reading the story again made me realize how far I've come as a writer, but it also reminded me of the sweetness involved in pursuing your dreams. It's worth it every time. So, don't let anyone keep you from your heart's desire, especially not yourself.
New editions of all of my Wings of the West series (historical western romances) will be available late September. Visit my website for more info.