A new and improved Time Rep
I’ve got to admit – I’m getting pretty excited about Time Rep and Time Rep: Continuum being re-released, as well as Time Rep: Pandemonium – the conclusion to the trilogy, which is being released for the first time. I’ve just finished working with an artist on new covers for the three books (which I’ll be showing you soon, just as soon as I know the release date for everything ), and I’ve got to say – I think they look pretty awesome. So watch this space for those.
But another opportunity the re-release of the books has given me is to actually go back and make some improvements to the first book. As some of you are probably aware, I started writing Time Rep when I was at University, which was almost twenty years ago, and I’ve learnt a lot about writing since then to know that there are some things I would have liked to have done differently. So I went back and changed it, which felt kind of like going back in time and changing the past, which is quite apt…
Now, for fans of the original Time Rep, and to quote Douglas Adams: don’t panic. I’m not going all George Lucas on this and writing a ‘Time Rep: Special Edition’, adding loads of pointless deleted scenes back in, changing the way characters behave (we all know Han shot first), and deciding to add in an atrocious musical number somewhere for kicks (I’m looking at you, Return of the Jedi ‘Special Edition’).
No, if anything, I’ve taken the opportunity to tighten up the first book a bit – removing a bit of filler that I’ve always felt slowed down the pace, adding / changing some of the jokes (taking out ones that in hindsight just weren’t that funny and hopefully adding in some better ones), and taking another look at some sections that I feel I can write a bit better, now that I’m a bit more experienced. I felt sometimes I was a little lazy and leant on clichés jut to get to the end of the sentence, and I know I can do better than that.
Another thing a light re-write has enabled me to do is add a touch more foreshadowing to events that happen in the later books. You see, whilst I did have something of a plan for Time Rep as a trilogy when I was writing the first book, I didn’t really know the specifics of what was going to happen in books two and three, so couldn’t really reference them. But now, with all three books written, I can drop in that little non-spoiler reference to something that’s yet to come – something subtle enough to pass a first-time reader by, but rewarding when you finally get to the part when you realise what that seemingly innocuous detail was referring to. And for those readers new to Time Rep that won’t know the book was re-written to include foreshadowing, it will also make me look super-clever for being able to think so far ahead, which is a bonus. So don’t tell them.
Another change I’ve made is the removal of a character entirely – Darren Bell, Geoff’s annoying next door neighbour who he meets at the beginning and end of the first book. At the time, I think Darren (although not based on anyone I knew) was supposed to represent the kind of people I don’t get on with, and the scenes were only there to allow a nerd to stick two fingers up at an arrogant narcissist. But looking back, the scene was only really motivated by my own prejudices, didn’t really achieve anything, and we never heard from Darren again, so I decided it was better to remove him from the story altogether. In Darren’s place, we now get to see more interaction between Geoff and Zoë, who has a much more pivotal role in books two and three (particularly in Time Rep: Pandemonium, as you’ll soon find out), which I feel works a lot better.
And one final change I’ve made is to remove all the swearing, just because it’s so unnecessary. Looking back, I don’t really think it added anything to the dialogue, and if that means parents might be more comfortable reading this to their kids as a bedtime story, then that’s good (though they may want to gloss over the part in chapter five where Eric tells Geoff he’s taken a semen sample from him to check for diseases)
So anyway, I think there’s only a few weeks to go now before all three books are out, along with Note to Self, which is also getting a new lease of life. I do hope you enjoy the new and improved Time Rep, and for those close enough to the book to spot the difference between old and new, I hope you agree with the changes I’ve made.
Now, back to writing my treatment for that alternative Star Wars Episode VIII!