Don’t most writers want to preserve our published words forever? But now and then I would like to substitute a “mo better” word for certain weaker ones that “slipped” through.
Publishers usually won’t go for that. They’ll just reprint the whole book as is, good or bad.
Lois Duncan, however, is one author who has the good fortune of being able to “update” her text in several novels. Since her publisher has started its own trade book line and is setting these books into print from scratch, “updating” some texts won’t create extra financial problems.
One book she “updated” was Daughters of Eve, originally published in 1979 at the beginning of the Women’s movement. Here a group of girls takes revenge upon males who’ve mistreated them.
“My editor told me that today’s readers are so conditioned to violence that the acts of revenge in my original book were nothing more than slaps on the wrists,” Lois says. “I had to make the vengeful acts more vicious.”
In another book (she didn’t say which) her characters were in trouble, but Lois realized that in today’s YA mystery novels the characters just pull out their cell phones or lap tops, send ‘SOS’ text messages, or go to Facebook or Twitter to get help. She’s had to figure out other ways for her characters to get out of danger. Of course, she does.
Yesterday’s names like Melvin and Gladys in one book were changed to today’s Cody and Madison.
“I had to change hair styles, clothing and slang, too – no more ‘Golly gee’ or ‘Oh, heck!’ I’m old fashioned enough to shy away from a lot of the words that kids today throw into almost every sentence,” she says. “Keeping the language comparatively clean while still making the dialogue between kids outside the hearing of adults sound natural was a major challenge.”
She overcame those obstacles, of course. Watch for her “new” older books!
Do other authors’ recent book makeovers come to mind?