I broke a vow to myself. After spending many hours (and dollars) re-editing the original Noble manuscript in 2011, I promised that I was done tinkering. I promised that I’d put it back on the shelf and never touch it again. I promised that I’d be “happy” with it.
And I was… for a while.
As the years rolled on, I wrote two more books in the series and completed the Noble trilogy. With more experience under my belt, these books contained crisper writing all around, and showcased my storytelling strengths in a much better light.
Knowing that some readers prefer not to enter a series still in progress, I’ll soon introduce new readers to the trilogy through a collection containing all three books. The idea was to give the original novel a spit-shine so it would feel closer in quality to the other two.
My brilliant editor, Jessica Guzman, tackled the project with enthusiasm. However, when I received the edited manuscript back, I realized that the novel needed more than a fresh coat of paint. Although Jessica had worked wonders to clean up my mess, at the end of the day, it was still the product of a first-time novelist—something no amount of editing was ever going to erase.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so very proud of the book, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I found the time to write it. That said, the pages scream “inexperience,” and because I love the Noble universe so much, and am so invested in its future, it weighed heavy on my mind. Was this really the first impression of my work I wanted to give readers?
While discussing this topic with my wife, she said something that resonated with me (as usual): “Don’t beat yourself up about it. It was your first book. Noble would be a completely different book if you’d written it today.”
The light bulb went off over my head. What would the book look like if I’d written it today? That’s all the convincing I needed. I put all other projects aside and scheduled Noble for a long overdue, full-scale rewrite.
So, I rolled up my sleeves and dove in, rediscovering my first book and looking back on it through the eyes of a proud father. Overhauling the original manuscript provided more than just a chance to fix grammatical errors and passive voice, however. It also presented an opportunity to make adjustments to the story that have always bothered me, as well as address feedback I’d received from readers.
Here’s just a few examples:
- A new prologue begins the story, starting things off with a bit more intensity and action.
- Jane Emmett’s voice recording now unfolds over the course of the book instead of all at once at the beginning.
- Miller’s character now has a bit more teeth. He’s still a softie with best intentions at heart, but he’s no longer playing the role of bumbling detective… although he still loves his apple pie (sorry, angry reviewer).
- The Carroll’s Cross chapter has been reimagined from the ground up. No more confusing, nonsensical shadow play.
- The ties to the other books in the series are now more prominent. Where did Gibbard come from? What did the lost civilization’s cathedral look like? Where did Puckett’s special task force originate?
All of that is merely scratching the surface. However, I didn’t fix everything. In effort to preserve some of the original first-time novelist charm, I knowingly left in some of the mistakes, too. There’s still a bit of information dumping, flashbacks within a flashback, clichéd phrases, and deus ex machina.
Why did I leave it? I guess in a strange way, it connects me to that inexperienced version of myself from 2010 without fully erasing his efforts, or the memories he created writing the manuscript. No book is ever perfect, and I wanted it retain some of its character.
So, here I am in 2015, making the same vow I made in 2011: This is it. The End. This Noble redux represents my ultimate vision of the original concept, and with its release, I now put it back on the shelf, happy. Content. Proud.
Noble Redux and Noble Trilogy Collection release this Summer for Kindle.