Reboots and now rewrites?

Should authors rewrite their work

Karen Hall is an acclaimed screenwriter and author of Dark Debts, written in 1996. It’s absolutely brilliant as evidenced by the blurb: 

Every few years, a book bursts onto the scene that captures the imagination so powerfully and singularly that it takes on its own life in the minds of millions of readers: The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy; The Secret History by Donna Tartt; The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.

Dark Debts is such a book. Author Karen Hall masterfully combines horror, southern gothic, romantic comedy, and theological mystery in the form of a supernatural thriller. Terrifying, irreverent, and deeply spiritual, Dark Debts grabs the reader from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until the last remarkable page.

A superstar among television writes, the only woman ever to work on the staffs of M*A*S*H and Hill Street Blues, Karen Hall spent five years creating this vividly original story of faith confronting evil in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Her characters include:
*Michael, a sexy Jesuit priest who is having an affair with a beautiful New Yorker editor.
*Cam, a reclusive southern writer who survivied a murderous family only to leap to his death under mysterious circumstances.
*Randa, an obsessive newspaper reporter on the trail of Cam’s family secret.
*Jack, a lost soul who meets the love of his life just as he realizes he’s losing his mind.

Dark Debts will give readers nightmares and fantasies, provoke fear and laughter, inspire doubt and faith. It is the supernatural thriller of the decade.

So, sounds good right? But, as it turns out she’s significantly revised it and it’s been published again.

I mean, I get rebooted, I get using characters and starting a new series. I don’t know about this though. The link describes how the author never felt like she nailed the book the first time around, and on the 20th anniversary approached the publisher about a rewrite. And he said yes because he never felt like she had nailed it the first time around either.

I don’t know how to even begin with this: is it going to be perfect this time around? Doesn’t the good and the bad both make books resonate with readers? Shouldn’t authors learn from their mistakes for their next book and their writing in general?

Sighs. What do you think? Should this rewrite have happened? Doesn’t this make you kind of worry fot publishing?


  • Yeah, this is really strange, I have to admit. I mean, the idea is KIND of fun because it’s been 20 years since it was released. However, you’re right, if it was so popular, she obviously got SOMETHING right because people loved it so much. This re-write could ruin that for some.

    • Verushka says:

      Exactly, and the thing is, I actually do get the idea of refining something for a 20th anniversary release, but that’s very different to a rewrite. In my head that’s minor (refining) versus major (rewriting) changes. And, when does it stop? What if JKR decided to fix HP 20 years after its release?

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