* Hint: If you want to be considered a professional, you have to put in the effort.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
It’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida, on Monday, March 13, 2023, and three days after I began working on revising Reunion: A Story, I’m still not finished finessing the text and fixing tiny errors that jump out at me every time I re-read the manuscript on the Kindle Create app that I downloaded on Friday afternoon.
I usually don’t re-read my own work once it’s published. Maybe it’s because I always think that after a certain point, whatever it is I’ve written – whether it’s a blog post, a haiku, or a screenplay – it’s better to “let it go and let it be” once I hit the Publish button or send it to a colleague via email. Otherwise, my instincts as a former copy editor kick in and I’ll feel compelled to go over it again and fix things until they are “perfect.”
Reunion (working title: Love Unspoken, Love Unbroken) is one of the few things that I’ve written since my days as a college journalist that readers seem to enjoy; the 10 reviews currently posted on the short book’s Amazon product page are all five-star raves, so I’m not making an inaccurate supposition here.
And even though I have not earned enough money from the royalties to be self-supporting, much less be called a “best-selling author,” Reunion is the more successful of the two self-published books I’ve written over the past decade. Every time I check my Bookshelf on Kindle Direct Publishing I see that whenever someone orders one of my books – usually the Kindle e-book edition – it’s Reunion rather than Save Me the Aisle Seat: The Good, the Bad and the Really Bad Movies: Selected Reviews by an Online Film Reviewer.
“By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.” ― Roald Dahl
Because I have been writing this story – I don’t know if it’s a short novella or a long short story (How about that for an oxymoron?) – since 1987 (on and off), I tend to convince myself that it’s done, it doesn’t need to be revised further, and to leave it alone once it’s published either as a digital e-book or a paperback.
And yet, ever since Friday afternoon, I’ve gone through the process of making tiny but important edits, adding the “legal bits” on the front matters section, making sure that the ISBN number of the revised version matches up with the original CreateSpace Independent Publishing edition’s number (cos otherwise Amazon’s metadata on its product page will go haywire), and getting rid of typos, misspellings, and unfortunate turns of phrase that looked okay on the rough draft but don’t look so good in the finished product.
“A good story is a dream shared by the author and the reader. Anything that wakes the reader from the dream is a mortal sin.” ― Victor J. Banis
Reunion: A Story is a sweet, sometimes bittersweet story of days gone by. It takes the reader back to the last day of high school and tells the tale of teen love and missed opportunities. Several years pass and success and time don’t always dull those feelings you had as a teen. Mr. Diaz-Granados captures the awkwardness of young love and how it can influence the rest of your life.Betsy M. (Amazon Customer Review)
You may be wondering, why do I bother with these revisions and updates? After all, Reunion has 10 glowing five-star reviews on Amazon, and not many people will notice (or care) if I italicized the name of my high school’s student newspaper, or if my protagonist lives on the 33rd floor of a New York City apartment building or the third?
Well, for one thing, it’s because I care about the quality of the writing and editing; I may not have many skills or talents, but I’m damn proud of the ones I have. I used to copy-edit my college campus student newspaper because my journalism professor at the time saw I had a good eye for catching typos and grammar errors – I didn’t earn the nickname “The Blue Slasher” for my good looks, you know! – and gave me the job (and the responsibility) of copy editor during my first semester on the staff nearly 40 years ago. For me, it’s a matter of professional pride.
Second, as a writer, I want to give readers the best experience while enjoying a story. It pleases me to no end when a reader tells me that something I wrote evoked an emotional response, or that the story was so good that they couldn’t put it down – literally. I know from my own reading experience that typos, grammatical errors, or details that are in some way “off” – like being able to see parts of downtown Manhattan from a third-floor window, which I’m told is physically impossible – take me out of the story, sometimes jarringly.
So, yeah. I’m willing to devote time and effort (mostly mental, but some physical effort as well; non-writers underestimate the unpleasant side effects of sitting at a desk and staring at a glowing computer monitor for hours on end) into improving Reunion until I’m satisfied that I’ve done everything possible to make it as close to “perfect” as possible.
 Apparently, I should have revised Reunion a hundred times – or more – before I published it in 2018!
3 thoughts on “On Writing & Storytelling: Revising ‘Reunion’ – Why I Bother*”
I will write a new blog post on your updated book. A cover reveal to make it different?
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That would be so cool! Thanks, Thomas!
I must say…working with the Kindle Create app is both easy and annoying,
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