Okay, in a couple of weeks I won't be a student any more and won't have the excuse of a PhD to hide away from pursuing my writing career. It's time to resurrect my plan to publish hardcopy collections of The Second Realm (my mother will buy one if no-one else ;D).
Anyway, that brings me back to the question that stymied me when I was initially trying to get this organised a year and a half ago; how much additional editing should I do for the hardcopy version?
There are two problems with writing a serial like The Second Realm. First, there's the simple fact that over the run, I've improved quite a lot as a writer. Some of the early episodes seem a little bit ropey and short on characterisation as I go back over them now. The second is that, inevitably, continuity mistakes creep in here and there. Sometimes I put something in an early episode that I forgot or couldn't stick to later on (at least one minor character's gender has changed at least once).
I think all of this stuff is still eminently fixable - there are no major changes needed. The question is whether or not I should make such changes. On the one hand, I want to put out the best book I can. I want to do right by these characters who've been with me for two and a half years now (and probably more by the time I get the damn books made up - also, Christ, that's nearly a tenth of my life 0.0). On the other, it feels a bit like cheating or rewriting history.
When I was in webcomics, I actually went back to the rather ropey first few chapters of my main comic and completely redid them; a full re-write in a much more recent version of my art style. I was very glad to have done it - the results, I felt, were worth it - but lots of the webcomic people I talked to thought it was a bad idea. The general viewpoint seemed to be that it was nice to see an artist's development over the course of a project (and I must admit, this is something I've liked about the print volumes of Gunnerkrigg Court that I've got).
However, that could be because most of the people I talked to about my webcomic were also webcomic artists, with a professional interest in the art. If I'm putting together hardcopy of The Second Realm, I want to sell mainly to non-writers (because there are a lot more non-writers than writers), and also, to a certain extent, to people who haven't necessarily been following the serialisation.
Either way, I'm not sure what to do, so I'm throwing open the question. Which would you rather see? A more polished book that's a little bit of historical revision, or a warts-and-all honest transfer (which may take a bit less time to produce, too). I should probably add that I have 'bonus materials' planned for the collections as well - extra stories, maybe some deleted scenes, that sort of thing.
Let me know what you think in the comments, or anywhere else you can get in touch with me for that matter. Thanks for reading.