I’ve set aside a few days to reread Founder, the one and only western I’ve ever written.
I use that term somewhat loosely because I know so much more about the genre now than I did back when I wrote it. I’m also just a better technical writer than I was then, too. To be perfectly frank, It started off a little rough, but it’s getting smoother as I go on.
The bits I researched about raising horses and horse farming are pretty good – accurate details, lots of nice visuals, proficient use of horse lingo, and realistic dilemmas. The writing in those chapters is solid. Sucked me right in. There are other scene’s too, where the characters are so focused and emotional that it becomes a page-turner. But Aubrey’s voice is a little inconsistent at times, sliding between Texan, the not-so-deep south, and suburban Yankee. OOPS. Not great considering he is the only narrator.
This story is so personal to me that I was reluctant even to read it again. I remember being in Aubrey’s head when I was writing it and thinking, “no one’s gonna like this guy”, which is not a great thing for a romance. Usually. Personally, I think truthful and human are always likable qualities, and Aubrey has those things in spades. And since my characters are usually likable, so it was a struggle for me to walk that line.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to look at something you wrote years ago and think, “Oh, I could do this better now.” In some cases, like the Deviations Series, the book is better left alone. I call that “honoring the work.” It’s not perfect, but it’s so good just like it is, even with those imperfections. Those pieces you leave alone, with no apology for anything. And in other cases, like this one, the bones are really good, but you get a vision of what it could be and it’s hard to let that go.
So, I’m planning a revision – one that may actually amount to a rewrite.
This is the first time in my life that I am reading reviews and listening to them. The reviews that are still out there on Amazon and Goodreads (still attributed to a publisher that cheated me out of a year’s worth of royalties, thank you) are good actually, but some of them had some constructive suggestions that could bring their 4 stars up to a 5, and since I’m bringing this one up to date, I’m going to take some of those suggestions. I’m going to add maybe 15-20K, which will include a couple of chapters from Kelly’s POV so he gets some screen time (and we’ll understand better WHY he cares about the angsty cowboy, even when Aubrey isn’t that likable), and expand the story a bit. Reluctantly, I’ve also put the possibility of a new title and a new cover on the table, as well (though I do so love the artwork). In any case, it might seem like a whole new (hopefully even better!) book when I’m done.
Assuming I can make it through this first reread without having a breakdown. 😉