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The perils of preparing web-downloads

I am attempting, for the third time in my life, to have slightly more useful information and stuff available on my very under-utilized web-space.

Some of this involves putting up first chapters of various published novels on-line for download or .html perusal. But...the only file formats I have for these chapters are the ones they were submitted in. So I'm opening up what was a working file, and I'm reading it and trying to make sure that it more or less matches the later line-edited, copy-edited published version.

And because I'm doing this, I'm looking at sentences that I wrote fifteen years ago...and I'm trying, desperately, not to revise those sentences now. Or some of the paragraphs. Normally, when looking at a book, I don't have this impulse (I may, on the other hand, have the usual despairing but I could do this so much better now ones, but those are natural, I think, for anyone who is looking at work that is fifteen years old). But since I'm looking at a file...

An intervention may be required.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
msss
May. 11th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
Could you farm it out to someone who doesn't have any writing talent whatsoever?
msss
May. 11th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
Or at least, so much respect for your writing that they wouldn't DARE to touch a word.
msagara
May. 11th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Part of the problem is that I didn't actually input the line-edits or post submission changes, so I'm also reading for errors =/.
msss
May. 11th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
The task is to compare with the published version and change the file to match it, right? Y'know, you could probably find some adoring fans who would take snippets of your current work as payment. In fact, if you didn't need it done yesterday, I'd volunteer myself. It'd also be pretty interesting to compare the two versions.
sartorias
May. 11th, 2009 01:02 am (UTC)
Boy I hear ya.
manga_crow
May. 11th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Ow, that would be seriously difficult. An intervention may be required indeed^^

Seriously though, I think it might be better handed off to someone else. The temptation for perfection is too strong. I think the movie industry aid it best "movies aren't ever finished; they just run out of time" - deadlines serve a very healthy purpose. Give someone the file and a copy of the book and have them match them up.

The last thing you need is to try to start writing another project; especially if it's one you've already finished :p
msagara
May. 11th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
The last thing you need is to try to start writing another project; especially if it's one you've already finished :p

LOL! Yes, this is what I've been telling myself. Or, more pertinent, I've been telling myself "self, this is not an alternate-universe first chapter of the book. It is the first chapter of a book that exists in this universe."

... but then I think... I could just take out this one sentence, and this stupid word, and maybe just add one thing right here, and it wouldn't really change very much, and no one would notice...

Rob Sawyer, even for his first novel, tracked all changes and kept an up-to-date electronic copy of all changes made at any stage prior to publication. So, line-edits, copy-edits he agreed with, etc.

Which is proof that Rob Sawyer is much, much Smarter Than Me...
sksperry
May. 11th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Hey, if Stephen King can do it... :-)
ovirginsaint
May. 11th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
Man, if you come up with a way to deter yourself, share with me so I can keep my husband from doing that to stories that he's written and are good and all of a sudden *hates*. I wouldn't mind it so much, except that the parts I like the most are the parts he hates the most XD

But hey, more of an excuse to visit your website during work hours <3
msagara
May. 11th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
Man, if you come up with a way to deter yourself, share with me so I can keep my husband from doing that to stories that he's written and are good and all of a sudden *hates*

Sadly, I'm failing my willpower roll. Luckily, I can cruise LJ until it goes away. But I do think a lot of writers do that; it's not that there is no love for the story itself, but you sometimes feel that the words have failed it. My husband, were he awake, would be entirely sympathetic to you, though :)
ovirginsaint
May. 11th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
At least the willpower roll wasn't a 1 ;)
estara
May. 11th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
I assume you still have author copies of the books in question: how about scanning the first few pages in? And then just checking with the analysing OCR software whether they messed up some spelling. Abby Fine Reader is pretty good, I recall.

Then you have exactly the published version.
msagara
May. 11th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
I have them all, but I don't have a scanner *rueful g*. Any covers I've scanned in so far I've sent with my husband to work, and he's emailed me the .pdfs.

We will get a scanner (I'd like an industrial laser printer that does scanning and photocopying as well as printing), but probably not in the immediate future -- although it occurs to me that what I want is a hand-held scanner, not a flatbed one, because cracked spines make me weep.
estara
May. 11th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
Ah well... maybe you could borrow one from DAW in the name of website pr for the books ^^.
mizkit
May. 11th, 2009 09:27 am (UTC)
I have a Highlander tie-in novel I wrote about ten years ago that's up online (because hey, it's not like I can sell it) and every time I look at it I have exactly the impulse you're suffering from. :) I love the story, but the words could be so much better! :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )