Versione in italiano qui
Sometime ago, I decided I will rewrite my first book. Remember the I translated my book post, where I said that, for at least some time but more probably forever, I wouldn’t even look at my first book? Yeah, apparently I was joking.
I wrote that book in a very busy moment of my life, in which I was doing a hundred other things together and I was forced to take breaks from working at it, from time to time. This made me sort of lose the thread in certain points. And it’s my first book, which is the main problem. You can clearly see I’m a beginner from the way it’s written, the prose clumsy in certain passages, a plot as fragile as a house of cards, things unnecessarily repeated and other things which it’d have been better to say. In the complex, I don’t think it’s a complete disaster but… no, okay, in the bad moments I do believe it is.
So sometime ago I was thinking about all this once again, and about all the courage I’d need to gather to pick my ass up from the chair and bring it to some publisher’s office to propose my book. I also thought about how much I love the idea though, and how well the characters are shaped in my head, and about how I probably could make it much better – all right, still not a masterpiece, but maybe a decent book yes – and how fond I am of it all. Such a shame it came out this way.
And there was the idea of rewriting it. I really hoped this idea didn’t came to my mind; I knew that there was the risk, but I thought that with some self-convincing exercise I could avoid it. Boy, was I wrong. And you know how ideas are: once one finds you, it just sticks in there and there’s no way to get rid of it unless you find something which can make you think that idea is a bad one. Unfortunately, this really doesn’t look like a bad idea, I can only see good things possibly coming from it, so it’s just glued there. I also consulted my literature-loving friend, who’s fond of writing as well – the one who told me my first book cover was a masterpiece of kitsch – and instead than discouraging me he told me lots of novels have been rewritten, and it’s highly likely my book could only benefit from it.
I was almost hoping he told me it was a bad idea. It’s a lot of work to write a novel in the first place, let alone rewrite it and re-translate it again (yes, I’ve also translated it to English). Writing is a lot of work generally, like anything by the way if you want to do it well, but I was really hoping I could leave that book behind me. I was telling myself all the possible reasons to do that, and here it’s were Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos come into play, and also E. L. James for that matter. In case you haven’t got it yet, the title was click-baitish. It was just to make you come here and read my blog post, and if you’ve arrived at this point I guess it’s worked. Or you’re really interested in knowing what happens in the mind of a MEDIOCRE writer, which I doubt of.
Anyhow, back to Yannopoulos, Trump and James. Starry Stardust, I told myself, don’t fret too much. If Yannopoulos, with all his assholery and smugness and mediocrity and an ego so monstrously bloated, can be so popular and admired, also you, with all your assholery and smugness and mediocrity and an ego so monstrously bloated it’s going to devour you like it happened to Ziggy Stardust, can. If an incompetent and an idiot like Donald Trump could make it to the White House, you can publish your shitty book. And if a soup of banality, cliches, bad prose and silly dialogues can become an international success like Fifty Shades of Grey, then also your poor shitty book can have its group of hardcore fans somewhere, you just have to find it. Side note: if you like Fifty Shades of Grey, good for you. I like Marilyn Manson if that can console you.
Problem: all those justifications weren’t enough for me. They’re more than enough to reach the conclusion that even something very bad can become very popular and appreciated, but this doesn’t mean that thing is any less bad. Even if my book climbed the charts – not that it’s going to – it wouldn’t magically become a good book. I write for myself first, for my own pleasure, so what’s the point in producing something I’m not satisfied with? I might as well try to make it better.
And thus I will. I still have to decide if I will take it down from Lulu, where I published it; it doesn’t make much sense to leave a book for sale when I know I’m going to rewrite it, does it? Plus, why should somebody buy the newer and better version of it if they’ve read it already once and thought it was awful? Many books came out in different versions in the past though. I don’t know, I guess for now I’ll just sink the price – that thing it’s not worth the price of your coffee trust me – and then I’ll see.
Also, it will take some time for the endeavour to start. I’m currently writing my third book – the second is still sleeping and brewing in its caterpillar’s cocoon in that little corner of my mind for now – and I’m having a lot of fun doing it, I really like it. When my third book will be finished and corrected and modified and double-checked and triple-checked, when I will start its translation, then I will also start rewriting my first born. So some months are definitely going to pass before that moment.
I’m quite displeased that the translation to English is going to be useless and I’ll have to redo it all over again, but to be honest that was quite shitty too. My English has improved in the meantime, and again like all things the first time you do something it’s probably not going to come out too well. I’ll just consider it training. Like the entirety of my first book.