The Dragoncharm ebook is one step closer to reality. The scruffy OCR scan has now been cleaned and matched to the original hard copy. The resulting electronic manuscript – the first I’ve ever had for the novel, which was written longhand – still needs a final proofread before I take it into production, but essentially this is it. Which leads me to an interesting question: IS this it?
Here’s the thing. Dragoncharm was my first novel. That means it’s a little … how can I put this? … rough around the edges. For a start, I reckon it’s 20-30 pages too long. Some of the prose is so far up the purple scale it’s practically ultraviolet. Occasionally the narrative stumbles, though I don’t believe it ever falls flat on its face. Looking at it now, with twenty years of writing experience under my belt, and a cooler – if not necessarily wiser – head on my shoulders, I can see a thousand tiny ways it could be improved.
But wait a second. That’s madness, right? If I try to change it, don’t I run the risk of ripping out its heart? So what if the book was written by my younger, more naive self? So what if it isn’t what I’d write today? Rough edges? Aren’t they what first novels are all about? Do I really want to be like George Lucas, constantly tinkering with past projects until they’re practically unrecognisable? Then there’s the time it would take. I already have roughly a zillion writing tasks on my desk, all working very much towards the future. Why add more pressure by turning my attention back to the past?
Conflicted as I am, I’ve decided to throw the question open. Which would you rather read? The true blue original, or a new and improved edition? I’m interested to know, so vote now!