My most recent effort for a nonfiction science-based book went out on its maiden voyage a few weeks ago to an editor who shoots straight with me and has earned my trust. She didn’t find any magic in it. I promised to go back to it with a critical eye.
Yesterday I finished my revision of the original telling. The only words that remained were David L. Harrison. I didn’t just throw out the whole thing and start over. I nibbled it to death with an ax. The more I revised, the more I saw how the telling might be re-couched. The more I reworked, the more of the old went out to make room for the new. In the end the transition was complete.
My plan was to send this new story back to my editor today (she said it was okay), but in bed last night I kept thinking about the original title, which I threw out with the rest of the first story, and how much I liked it. This morning I put the old title back in, but now, if I keep it, it will mean extensive rephrasing throughout, changing the point of view, going from narrative back to first person.
When kids ask if I ever revise, how shall I explain this process to them?