To Ret-con, or not ret-con… That is, indeed, the question!
I’ve learned a great deal over the course of my five novels, two novelettes, and omnibus edition. Among the larger points: the structure of long-term and short-term story arcs, the importance of small chapters, the use of page-turner cliff hangers, keep the core character count down, avoiding episodic tv like story blocking when writing a novel, etc.
With respect to the content itself, being more descriptive, and presenting names people can consistently pronounce are ongoing opportunities for improvement.
My latest novel, Weun Academy, is actually the first spin-off from the D’mok Revival main series. Its timeline picks up at the end of book 4. Many established alien races, and characters appear as expected. The Nasadric, who were introduced in book 4, become more prevalent as one of the main characters in Weun Academy is one! I was never fond of the way they were presented in book 4. the description sounded gangly and odd. It was fine for a background race at the time. But, as a main race it just didn’t work. I guess I try to picture people cosplaying the characters, and no one was going to cosplay looking like what I described in book 4.
So… I’m changing it. Hey, I’m the author, I can do that. Trust me, the new look is far cooler. I could completely see people cosplaying this race now. Of course, this means I must go back to book 4 and update that. There’s no updating the printed copies. But, those will become instant collector’s editions, right? Well, someday someone may be intrigued by the original text.
There’s one other major thing that has bothered me since the beginning. This one is so much bigger, and impacts every book released to date. It makes me nervous to consider, but at the same time it bugs me so much!
Seigie Weun. No one pronounces it correctly… Most said “Seg-gee” or “SEA-gee.” Again with the cosplay thing, I think it would literally kill me if I heard someone cheer “I just looooooove Seg-gie!” I mean, I’d be thrilled someone did, don’t get me wrong. But “Seg-gie?” I would feel like I betrayed her. I imagine it would be like someone running up to me and yelling “I love you Meek!” You know?
Anyway, the original manuscript had “Segie.” To be honest, that probably should be been pronounced “S-eh-g-eye.” The desired pronunciation was (and still is) “C-G” as in the hard pronunciation of the letters “C” and “G”. I tried to mutate it Sea-G, then, incorrectly, to Segie. I believe it was my sister that suggest I try to use the spelling approach for “siege” to correct how people would say it.
In my utter brilliance, I did a mass correct with “Seigie.” Then pushed the first book out the door. Hey, my launch at Chicago ComicCon 2013 was coming fast and I had thousands of copies being printed. I needed to get it done! So, of course, I take something SO important–and blow it.
So, here we are 8 printed works and 4 years later. I STILL have to check the spelling every time I write it to make sure I’m keeping it consistent. Why? Because my brain will not let this go.
Again, I say, “To ret-con, or not to ret-con!”
Of course, there could be another option… Given Weun Academy is a spin-off… Who’s to say it can’t be presented there in a different way? Say, perhaps “Seegee” or “C’Gee” the “way her D’mar spelling would look.” Hey, you don’t know that’s *not* how her native tongue spells it. It *could* be the case.
While thousands of people have owned and read the D’mok Revival core novels, I’m hoping to bring Weun Academy to an even larger audience. So, NOW is the time to address this.
I feel like I’m almost talking myself into this concept as I write this. It’s not a “bad” idea. The D’mar native language, hum? Food for thought. I guess you’ll have to wait and see what I end up doing!