The benefit of drafts and hindsight

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A page from my current project with some mark-ups.

Have you ever looked back at your older writings and wondered how you could have written that? Maybe the imagery was simplistic, the grammar poor, or the story cliché-ridden.

I have.

One of the things I like about being an indie author is that I can go back an update previously published works. Given that some of my books have been in print nearly 20 years, it shouldn’t be surprising that I find things that I want to update or correct.

I also discover older works that didn’t find a publisher when I initially shopped them around. I read them and think, “I still like this.”

I sometimes think that the piece is better than I can write now. That concerned me at first until I realized when I felt that way it was because I was comparing a finished book with a book in progress. Of course, there’s going to be a lot that needs to be improved in a draft.

When I’m writing a draft, I can get swept up into a conversation between two characters and forget that they are doing something while speaking. I might paint a scene with minimal details because I have fully visualized it yet. I may have pages of exposition with needed information that needs to be spread out through the story.

In my case, I need to be able to get these things written first to see where the flaws are that need to be fixed.

Still, it is nice to see that I have some unpublished manuscripts that I still like. That means I will probably go through them and publish them at some point.

I also like the fact that I can see how my writing has improved over the years. My goal is to make sure that I can still say that in 20 years about the books I’m writing now.

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