Old Voice, New Voice

W-DeskLady2 Pat here, hastily stepping in for Anne who has been doing entirely too much playing lately!  She’ll be back next week to interview me while I’m at the RT Book Review convention in L.A., so I suppose I shouldn’t tease her about skipping out.

As many of you know, I’ve been converting some of my older books into digital format. For most authors, this is a basic process if they’re willing to throw a few dollars at it and let someone else do the work. But my inner control freak emerges when confronted with a manuscript I can change after all these years.

The contemporary romances I’ve already put up were relatively recent books and didn’t require a lot of work, but now I’m digging into twenty-year-old historicals created on prehistoric equipment. I have Paperroses been working on just four books for six months now. I like to think I’m closer to publishing them, but I may be kidding myself. Not only were the scans incredibly, horribly bad on these books, but my voice….  Argh! I can’t believe I wrote that way.

And I have to blame it on voice. There is nothing inherently incorrect in writing a paragraph where the hero “is going to” do something and if that doesn’t happen, he’s “going to do” something else. It gets a little iffier when he’s “got to go do” it but these are westerns. The language isn’t precise. But it starts piling up until after a while, the “gots” and “going tos” become an inescapable rhythm that causes modern day Pat to scream bloody murder.

And that’s just the tip of the monstrous iceberg. How about “Her hands felt his chest”?  Want to take that one on?  Their hands and their eyes and their feet did a lot of things that would have been far easier to state had I just said “She rubbed his chest” or “She walked away” instead of “Her feet carried her to the door.”  Double argh!!!!

How can I let these books loose into the wild? One of them was a Rita nominee! But I simply can’t Denim lace release the books in their original format. Sorry. The stories are fine, the characters are strong, I would have done a LOT of things differently today, but I don’t want to monkey with the original stories. But by golly gee, I can at least clarify which “he” or “him” is doing what so I don’t spend half an hour scratching my head wondering who is on the roof and who is setting the barn on fire!

Do any of you go back and read your older “keepers” and wonder what in heck you were thinking when you read and loved them the first time? I can remember comparing Kathleen Woodiwiss’s voice to Shakespeare in my early years. Now I can’t wade through all the extraneous prose. Do you have any romance books that you can still go back to and enjoy without noticing the idiosyncrasies of the period?