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POINT OF VIEW: Reworking/Extending an Old Story

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Today I’m answering a fan question from Joel Arellano… Which of your works would you extend or rewrite?

I’ll start with the rewrite one. In general, I don’t like to go back and mess with my finished work too much. But I often do a light-to-heavy rewrite for most of my shorter work when it goes out of print and I re-release it.

For instance, Homecoming, one of my earliest published works, got a “smoothing” rewrite, incorporating some of the things I’ve learned since, like not taging every utterance with “he said” and “she said,” and I also added a couple scenes to round out the story.

Wonderland got a similar rework. Sometimes with time, you come up with a few ideas that enhance the world-building, and time also gives you the chance to get a little distance from the story to see what it really needs.

The most extensive reworking I did was for a short story called “Autumn Rain.” It was a sweet, gay coming of age story between a cowboy and a Native American. I wrote it long before I’d ever heard of cultural appropriation, and did zero research on either culture before writing it. I realized later this might be… let’s just say problematic.

So I recast this tale in one of my sci-fi worlds – Tharassas – and added a symbiote – the “emp.” The story was just published earlier this month as The Emp Test, and provided a lot of the basis for the new trilogy I’m working on. The backbones of the old and new versions are the same, but the details and storytelling differ dramatically.

As far as which stories I’d consider extending? Well, I’ve already done so (in a way) with The Last Run – the other tale I’ve written that’s set on Tharassas. Although my WIP is not a direct continuation of that novella, it picks up on the events of The Last Run in a number of ways, and without it there wouldn’t be a Tharassan Cycle trilogy.

But the one that I’d love to come back to at some point is Cailleadhama. It’s the story of a trans man and an elf in post-climate-change San Francisco, and really just tells the start of Tris and Colin’s tale. It’s on my list of long-term projects to consider for a re-write and extension.

What happens when Colton and Tris reach the other side of the veil? Who is the Pharmacist, really, and why does she help them? This was a fun world to play in, and I’d love to go back.

Oh, BTW, Cailleadama is coming out on audiobook on Audible in less than a month! Preorder it here.

That’s it for now. I’m sure there will be more opportunites for reworking and extension as I have more to work with and up my writing skills.

For an author, it’s often a warm and fuzzy feeling to return to a world you wrote and then left behind, so who knows which ones I might go back to next? *grin*

For my writing friends – what works of yours would you love to rewrite or extend, and why?

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