worf facepalmOver the last few days I’ve been re-editing my first Kestral book, My Life, After Berserker.  And as I did, I had to revisit two things I’d done in the book that honestly left me wondering:

What was I thinking?

The first, and this is an easy one, is the fact that I created a universe where my characters use warp drive to get around (I didn’t call it that, but that’s essentially what it is).  Basically, I took the old faster-than-light-travel-throughout-the-galaxy trope to create my story and setting.  Sure, I gave it a few personal twists, and just turned a blind eye to the fact that even I believe FTL travel in powered ships is bogus… impossible.  Pure fantasy.

So why’d I do it?  Because people like FTL travel, the way fantasy lovers like dragons, detective story lovers like brainless molls, and comedy lovers like pratfalls.  Who cares if FTL is impossible, like dragons, brainless molls and pratfalls that don’t break your pelvis?  I wrote it because it’s popular, and it sells.

The other thing I did was about sex.  Yes, the first Kestral story always had sex in it; but in itrs original draft, the sex was what I like to call “kiss-kiss-cut-to-morning” sex, like we used to get in 60s movies and television.

Then, after publishing, I thought: We’re in the 21st century now, and we’re not as prudish as that anymore.  So I rewrote the story, and this time, I turned the very G-rated sex scenes to the kind of hard-R scenes that are becoming the norm today.

But today (well, yesterday) I looked over those scenes… and realized how crappy they were.  Sloppy.  Needlessly detailed.  Just plain bad.

Why did I do it?  Because times have changed, sex doesn’t scare people like it used to, and I believed it would improve sales.  But when I looked at the scenes now, I was embarrassed… because I went too far.  I had to seriously dial a few scenes back, not quite all the way to kiss-kiss-cut-to-morning, but a lot less salacious anatomical detail.

This is one of the dangers of being an artisan author with too small of a support base: You don’t always have people who can review something you’ve done and tell you what’s wrong with it, before you’ve already put it out there for people to buy.  And this was early enough in my writing days that I was not nearly as knowledgeable at my craft as I am now.  I blundered, and it’s probably cost me.  Now I have to go back and fix it.

It’s a good thing that I’m planning to revisit each novel, with the main intention of giving them improved covers, and to go over the text before they are reissued.  I have a nasty feeling that I have a lot of cleaning up to do.