Generally, much as I wince when I see bits and pieces of errors and mistakes in my previously published work, I don’t consider revising and republishing it, for several reasons. First of all, the story I sold was the story the editor wanted to buy. Changing the story would mean changing the collaborative work which is the combined effort of my vision and the editor’s vision and, so far, I’ve had the great good fortune not to have editors who’ve mangled my work. So far. For better or worse, if I’ve sold a story or a novel to someone else to publish, I’m inclined to let it stand (I will probably feel different when I finally encounter the circumstance of having my work butchered. Like I said, I’ve been fortunate. So far).
But self-publication allows the fatal fallacy of re-editing one’s own work. Again, I don’t generally support revising previously published work because it is, after all, the product of its time. Additionally, since I’ve sold this work to buyers, really, in good faith it would require a significant change in the world I’ve created to justify a revision of previously published work.
So why did I just spend several days revising and preparing the copy for what is going to be the revised Netwalk, otherwise known as Netwalk: The Expanded Edition?
Or, rather, the creation of the object known as Gizmo, which hadn’t happened when I wrote Netwalk. I created the Gizmo about halfway through my editorial rewrite of Netwalker Uprising, when my editor told me “something more is needed.” I thought on it, and, ergo. Gizmo was born, and with it, a missing major driver for the Netwalk Sequence came into being.
Except–oops. There was an entire novel in the Sequence which did not take Gizmo into account, and Melanie being Melanie, if she hadn’t run into Gizmo before then, she would have done so during the events of Netwalk.
Oops. Big oops.
At first I hadn’t planned to rewrite Netwalk as a result of Gizmo’s creation. Yes, there were glitches in the ebook version. Small formatting pieces that I wanted to fix. But I thought about the tweaks I’d have to make in Netwalk to bring in Gizmo, and my head started hurting with a side dish of minor panic attacks as I contemplated what could be a huge effort. My editor recommended that I didn’t sweat it because the nature of the conflict in Netwalk was such that the absence of Gizmo wasn’t that big a deal.
And then the son and I talked about putting out a hard copy Createspace edition of Netwalk. He recommended (based on his experience in the gaming world) that if I were to go with a second edition, I should not only include Gizmo references in the revised Netwalk but add new material to make it worth the changes and add value. I thought about it, but quailed at the thought of the Gizmo rewrites.
Well. It’s pretty much done. Surprisingly, the work wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. When I went back and looked at the Netwalk MS, there were holes where I spent more time flailing around trying to up the ante and didn’t quite make it work. It seems like my subconscious writing brain was already devising a Gizmo-like device, only my prefrontal cortex hadn’t gotten the message yet. When all was said and done, the additions were maybe about 1000-1500 words. 2000 max. And, in the process, I fixed the formatting glitches that had been bugging me, smoothed out some rough spots in the language, and introduced a bit more nuance in the characters of Sarah and Andrew, nuances which arose in Uprising.
I don’t anticipate doing the same for Uprising. For one thing, Uprising is post-Gizmo. I don’t necessarily foresee the need to create another significant canon change which would require such a drastic rewrite. Nor do I want to create the habit of doing such a thing when working independently. However, Gizmo was such a major change in the game that I finally decided that Netwalk: The Expanded Edition needed to happen. Additionally, I’ve put some effort into creating a series bible which, while not perfect, will hopefully keep me going with a certain degree of consistency from now on out. Though the Netwalk: Foundations pieces blur the edges as I explore my characters even further. That said, another wise writer and editor reminded me that Marion Zimmer Bradley always held that consistency glitches in her Darkover series were things that needed to happen for the integrity of the story.
I already have several notations where the Foundations stories deviate from the main canon of the Netwalk Sequence. At some point in the future (probably when I’ve completed the next three novels which will make up the main body of the Sequence), I’ll publish those notes for completeists but I’m not going to knock myself out trying to reconcile Foundations worldbuilding noodling with published work. Netwalk: The Expanded Edition will be the most significant and only full revision of previously published work in the Sequence. Period.
So what additional material will be in the EE besides the Gizmo updates?
First of all, I plan to republish two previously published stories in the Sequence, exactly as they were originally published. For the record, those two stories are “The Ties That Bind” (Random Realities # 3, Summer 1993) and “Cold Dish,” (M-BRANE SF 9, October 1, 2009). In addition there will be two new short snippets to go with these two stories, “Some Words,” and “To Walk Toward Your Doom.” All four of these pieces happen either just before or simultaneously with the early part of Netwalk. “Ties” and “Cold Dish” are pre-Gizmo and to some extent pre-date a lot of my later thinking about Netwalk processes. Nonetheless, both stories will be reprinted exactly as they were originally published, with no revisions.
I also plan to insert a foreword talking about the changes in vision that happened between the publication of Netwalk and Netwalker Uprising.
Projected publication date is late August. Stay tuned for more information.
And once I’m done with this (and a few more Foundations pieces, to carry me through the first months of Ye Olde Day Jobbe resumption in September as well as help me create some more pieces of crucial backstory), it’s off to write Netwalk’s Children. I’ve not done the formal plotting for Children yet, but I’ve been thinking hard about both it and the book to follow, Netwalking Space.
Are we having fun yet? I sure am.