Revising Leah

April 30, 2008

The Story of Leah

Filed under: Uncategorized — J.M. Reep @ 6:25 pm
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In 1996 I self-published a novel titled Leah. The story was about an extremely shy teenage girl trying to deal with the social pressures of her first year in high school. I liked the story and I liked the character; in fact, she remains one of my favorite characters that I have ever created.

As with most self-published books, Leah didn’t sell very well, but that was all right. I’ve never considered creative writing to be a path towards fame and fortune. I write, first and foremost, for myself. What did leave me disappointed, though, was that I felt like I rushed the novel to publication. Looking back on the text now, I’m not at all satisfied with it. The story is awkwardly written in places, so much so that I sometimes cringe when I read from it. The 1996 version of the story doesn’t do me justice as a writer, and — more importantly — it doesn’t do the character of Leah Nells justice. She deserves a better written story than the one that I placed her in.

In the wake of that disappointment, I swore that someday I would return to the story, revise it, and publish it again. The nice thing about self-publishing is that I hold all of the rights to the book, so if I want to self-publish it again, I can. What is somewhat more unusual is the notion of drastically revising a book that has already been published. The idea isn’t completely unheard of, especially in nonfiction writing, but it is uncommon in fiction (although Leon Forrest is one author who comes to mind).

Last year, I spent my free time during the summer and fall finishing up another novel, The Spring, which I published last January through I’m very proud of The Spring, in part because I really took the time to write it the way I wanted it. Having finished The Spring, I’ve decided that now is the time to return to Leah, revise the story, and publish it again.

So that’s my project for this summer, and I’ve decided to create this blog to document Leah’s revision. I’ve never laid bare my writing process in this way before, so I find it rather exciting. You, of course, are welcome to join me.


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