Author’s Intent, Reimagining a Work (Part Two)

In 2006, I set out to write a novel using techniques I developed surfing the Internet in the mid-nineties. There, I posted many humorous articles to a variety of newsgroups, usually composing them off the top of my head and posting them with little revision on the spot. After losing several posts to various glitches, I began typing up my material in text format, using either Notepad, Wordpad, or some other text-based application. A second consideration in composing in text format was the portability, given that I still have a lot of my earliest writing in Wordstar and WordPerfect documents that I can no longer access.

I spent much of 2006 creating scenes involving the characters Charles and Renee Fox, Victoria Wells (nee Seely), Allison Stepney, Dana Eastbrook, and the main antagonist, known simply as Bergeron. These scenes were then assembled into chapters, and broken up into sections East End (the section of London where we first meet Victoria) and West Side (the section of New York where Victoria owns the building where she lives). I recall spending September of 2006 watching the US Open tennis tournament on television and compiling the book, which I entitled Eternal.

My idea to experiment with the writing style paid off when I ended up with a manuscript that exceeded six hundred pages. I had started many novels during high school and throughout college and grad school, and had written a few short stories, but this was the first full-length manuscript I completed. At about the same time I was finishing the manuscript, I discovered a publisher via the Internet called PublishAmerica. They seemed to have a unique approach to how they operated, so I submitted Eternal to them. To my astonishment, they accepted the work and we entered into negotiations on terms.

During the setup phase, it was recommended that I change the title, because they already had a book with the same title. Since I was calling the main characters long-timers, I used that as the title of the book. A few weeks after submitting the work, I read some less than complementary reviews about the publisher and tried to back out of the deal. In the end, however, I went through with publishing through them.

There were many aspects of publishing with this company I didn’t like. First the cover art didn’t match the main character, who by that point was Victoria Wells. The cover art also made the book look more like a romance novel, which didn’t work, since my work was sci-fi/fantasy. Finally, the title was print on demand, and, at six hundred forty pages, it was very expensive to print.

Toward the end of two thousand nine, the publisher gave me the opportunity to buy back the publication rights to The Longtimers. I did and set out to forge a career as an indie author. I made the decision to split the book into three titles, one dealing with Victoria and Allison, one dealing with Charles and Renee, and one dealing with Bergeron. The first novel, A Tale of Two Sisters was reasonably substantive, because most of the original had been about Victoria, so it was a simple matter of reworking stories from the original.

For the second book, Crazy Like the Foxes, I introduced a character who had not been in the original. This meant I eventually had to rewrite a section of the first novel, because the new addition interacted with several of the characters there. Adding the new character helped me to fill out the second novel, but I still had substantial information about the Foxes, including Charles, Renee, and two of their children.

The final volume, entitled Roman Holiday brought the project to a halt, because I had almost no information on Bergeron from the original. I knew many important facts about him, but not enough to fill up a novel. Eventually, I shelved the book and eventually took the other two off the market. I like to tell anyone who purchased copies of any of the books that they own collector’s items.

Leave a Reply