I released my first story, Once A Hero, Always A Hero, in September 2012, after it’d been done for several months. Don’t ask. At the time, I thought it was pretty good. Not something I’d have given five stars if it was by anyone else, but certainly three or four.
A few days ago, I opened the master file to make a couple of tiny error corrections and discovered that it’s atrocious. Oh, sure, the story is pretty good, but the way it’s told isn’t. I don’t mean there are flagrant grammar abuses or typos. I mean the narrative voice is all over the place, from overly florid to overly dry. I mean there are bizarre inconsistencies in what time units I used.
I mean, in short, the narrative gets in the way of enjoying the story.
I decided to do an experiment. I rewrote the first bit in my current style, especially since I’ve discovered I write much better in first person than third.
Here’s the original first paragraph:
Almost as soon as they’d walked into Scorig’s house, instincts honed by dozens, if not hundreds, of battles each told the two men something was wrong. Scorig was frightened. One didn’t have to know anything about Zeipierans to figure that out. He kept glancing at the windows and door of his simple one room house and jumping at every slight noise. Bobby and Viktor both noticed, but neither said anything; both quite determined to remember that they were retired from, as one of Viktor’s spice put it, “compulsive heroing.” Viktor by his own choice; Bobby because his wife was tired of worrying about him. Besides, business negotiations on this world were highly ritualized and both just wanted to get them over with and get permission (or be denied it) to serve Scorig’s brandy, which no less than Darrien Hawke himself had recommended.
Here’s the one I wrote the other day:
From the piclano I’d walked into Scorig’s house, I knew something was wrong. The little Zeipieran was constantly flitting his eyes to the windows or door of his tiny, one room shack and jumping a bit every time there was a sudden noise. From Vik’s body language, I could tell he’d noticed too. I tried not to worry about it. I was out of the saving people business. Karen and the kids had talked me into retiring from SDFSF about a year and a half before. I was there to complete the insanely intricate ritual required before we could get permission to serve Scorig’s brandy and then go home. Someone else could deal with whatever he was worried about.
I’m sure I don’t need to point out how very, very much better the second is, right?
So, this is the official announcement: Once A Hero, Always A Hero will be revised heavily very soon. If you are interested in purchasing a copy that is not the revised edition, get it now. I intend to be more thorough than George Lucas in making sure the original disappears. (Don’t worry. I won’t change who shoots first anywhere. :))
The narrator will be Bobby Thase, who you can find out more about by clicking the link below that says “Tafinith Robin Thase.”
I’m not sure when exactly the revised edition will be released, as I have some pressing obligations to take care of, as well as all the normal stuff in life, but it shouldn’t be later than the second anniversary of its initial publication.