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Friday, 10 April 2015

Marking Time - Revised Edition

So, there's this thing that happens when you do something a lot. Something like writing.

You get better at it.

It helps to hire an editor who knows more than you do. And it helps to have written two books with her, because then you create a style guide together. A guide for when to capitalize things that don't have hard and fast rules, when to add commas, and whether semi-colons have a place in the universe or can they just be replaced with em-dashes (seriously, I did NOT know there was a name for that kind of dash). It also helps that she knows when I'm using Saira's voice for someone else's dialogue, or when I'm rolling her eyes too much, and it REALLY helps that she calls me on it.

And because Tempting Fate and Changing Nature were so much cleaner (in a grammarly way - get your mind out of the gutter), with tighter storytelling (again, mind/gutter) than Marking Time, it was clear that had to be dealt with.

So, I worked with my fabulous, knows-way-more-than-I-do-about-these-things editor to clean up the first book in my series. We cut about ten thousand words, fixed about ten thousand commas (okay, not really, but kind of), and even found the last hold-out typos that had eluded my eyeballs the other hundred times I saw them. I added dates to a couple of chapters to make time jumps easier to keep track of, and even axed a chapter entirely that slowed things down too much.

THE STORY HAS NOT CHANGED (note the big, shouty caps). I couldn't change it even if I wanted to - which I didn't - because there are things in the rest of the series that rely on those plot points. But now Marking Time feels like it moves better, with less lag time, and fewer words to get hung up on. I believe I've become a better writer since I wrote Marking Time, and it was important to me that new readers of the series get the benefit of my education.

You guys had to suffer through the comma-weirdness and sludgy bits, for which I wholeheartedly apologize, and thank you for doing so graciously and with such kindness.

So now, while Amazon decides whether or not there have been enough changes to push an automatic update (I've assured them most emphatically that there are), you have a choice. Ignore this blog post if you're a one-time-through reader, or you're one of those rare, fantastic people who retain books so well you never have to re-read for details. I am not one of those people, and it is my deepest pleasure to re-read my favorite books every time a new one in the series comes out - just to remember why I loved the series in the first place. If you, like me, have any inclination to ever re-read Marking Time, or if you think you might want to loan someone your e-book copy (because, you know, free isn't free enough), consider deleting your current copy of Marking Time and re-downloading it from Amazon. You can tell it's the new version if your table of contents shows 1888 on two chapters, and 1861 on two. Then, just put it away until another day when you might feel like going free running with Saira and Ringo for a bit.

The e-book of Marking Time is still free, and I have no plans to charge for it, so please recommend it to anyone you think might like a little dash of magic with their history. Here's the link to it on Amazon.

If you download the edited version - thank you. If you read it again sometime - thank you with all my heart.

And mostly, thank you for just being readers.