The many stages of updating a story

As I finished up Escape and sent it off to beta readers it was time for me to pick another tale to work on. In the reorganization of my files i did last week I realized that I had an almost completed novel sitting and waiting for me to notice it. Or I should say what I thought was an almost finished novel.

The first problem is that this story had first been put up on the net fifteen years ago. Yup, one of my older pieces. Jasla and Sterin is a novel that was written as a shared story with a close friend of mine. I have been given the okay to update it for sale so I thought, okay I will just combine all the separate chapters and it should just need a tweak here or there.  No so!

The first problem was that the text files were just direct copy and pastes from the html files. Yes, I said HTML. so once I got all seventeen files into one word document I needed to spend a day removing all the html tags that were buried in the text. Once I finished that I had to go through and remove the hard carriage returns that had been put on every single line. EVERY ONE. That was a joy. As I was removing those carriage returns I I noticed that for some other reason every single line had a space put in at the beginning. Not natural spaces, but extra ones. So had to remove them all too. So far two days just spent on fixing formatting issues just so I could actually work on the file.

The next step was to run spell and grammar check from inside word to catch the worst of the typos and mistakes and let me tell you there were a ton! Another half a day spent just doing that. Okay now the file should be all clean right? After all I wrote this and put it up for reading, it should be good right? NOPE!

As I have shown before, a writer evolves as they continue in the field. This particular story, tentatively titled Jasla and Sterin, till I get a better on that is, was written by two of us. There are tense switches and style switches that I obviously did not catch back when. And to be honest, while my friend is an amazing artist, he needs work as an author.

So now I have to dive in and do revisions. Like a lot of authors this means going line by line and fixing errors. Removing things that don’t work (or in this case are icky!) and fleshing out parts that are rushed. This novel is a very erotic paranormal/fantasy romance with werewolves, werecheetahs, fairies, vampires and a Unicorn (no the unicorn is not in the erotic parts!)

I have more practice at writing good erotic scenes now and I find myself shaking my head over some of the very clumsy bits that we had put into this novel. In all this file is currently over 63K words and will probably top out as one of my longer works once I have reworked the whole thing.

All in all it is a very different thing from Escape, which is a space opera with a couple of (I hope) tastefully done erotic romance type scenes and lots of space ship battles. Yes this is more in my traditional wheelhouse of fantasy creatures on a quest of sorts, but it is the mixing of the sex and the fantasy that is a twist. While Angels was a paranormal romance, I only had a couple of elements from fantasy and it was more a paranormal.  This is an erotic fantasy romance.

Later today I plan on putting together a teaser cover for the little bits of this book that can be put up to tease an audience over on WattPad. No, I will not post anything erotic, that I can promise, but the first chapter has a nice build up to it.

So with all the rambling I have gotten off topic here. Experienced writers are always telling new authors that you need to write, edit, revise, edit, review, edit, send to beta readers, edit and revise and then edit again. In most cases I don’t need some of this because i do the edit/revise/edit as I am writing. I think I understand a bit better what they are talking about now.

As for the formatting issues, may you never have to do so but if you do, remember this. Don’t toss out old files because you have switched systems. You can always find a program that will let you copy them out to a doc file. Once there, with a little diligence you can go back to working on what might end up being your best seller. (or so I am telling myself) Every story you write is worth working on. They may not make it far in the publishing world but there are readers willing to read anything. You just have to complete your work and look for them.


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