Wrote a thousand words,…

Wrote a thousand words, but interestingly, not on TA. An editor at Seal Press wanted me to do a revision of "Seven Cups of Water" for an erotic travel anthology she's putting together. So I added a thousand words of setting to the story -- if she buys it, it's pretty easy money.

It feels a bit odd, putting a different version of the story out there from the version in BiM -- but on the other hand, the version in BiM is already notably different from the version published in AE, since I trimmed about a thousand extraneous words from that one. Take a thousand out, put a thousand back. But a different thousand, a better thousand. :-)

I was skimming an old article this morning about different versions of Shakespeare and the raging debates about whether to integrate the various quarto versions of Hamlet or keep them separate, whether to try to figure out which one was the last revision (and therefore presumably the closest to Shakespeare's final intent). And I can see what the academics are trying to do, and it's true that generally, I like my later drafts better than my earlier ones -- that's why those are the ones I publish. But I'm a little resistant to the idea that there is one final version of the text that supersedes all the others.

I think texts are messier than that -- I suppose what I really believe in is a sort of pan-dimensional version of the story, one in which all the versions co-exist at once, not actually merging, but maintaining their separate beauties. And that in some ideal version of this, the best of each version shines through, while the weaker portions fall away, are over-shadowed, mere traces on the luminous ideal meta-text.

Obviously, this sort of thing would drive readers crazy if they felt they actually had to read and simultaneously hold in their head all the authors' drafts in order to get the full story. We won't do that to our poor readers. They can just read the final [or rather, most recent] version if they like, and think of it as complete. If that makes them feel better, it's fine with me. :-)

4 thoughts on “Wrote a thousand words,…”

  1. Quoting from your jopurnal…

    “Obviously, this sort of thing would drive readers crazy…”

    Isn’t that sort of what the “Choose your own [erotic] adventure books do, deliberately?

  2. I like that concept! It works with how I write things. I usually like the most recent version of something I’ve written, best. Unfortunately many times, even when it is “whole,” it has lost something, or changed, from my original intent.

    Like thinking you see a beautiful blue rock, only to go pick it up and find out it’s a blue feather instead. Still lovely, but an entirely different feel.

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