I was once asked, “If you could go back and rewrite The Hidden Sun, what would you change?” My initial response was any technical issues like formatting and typos. (Which I ended up doing for the third edition of the book.)
My second thought was about the story itself. Would I change anything knowing what I know now?
The answer is a resounding, “NO!”
I am nearly done with my Master’s Degree in creative writing. I have learned so much which has improved my writing and understanding of the process. My current work-in-progress incorporates what I’ve learned. So far, it’s coming along nicely.
And yet, there is something innocent about The Hidden Sun. In writing it, I tried to emulate the story techniques I preferred as well as adding a few twists of my own. I wrote the book without knowing exactly how I was going to resolve the mess I made for my characters, but that was part of the fun: figuring it out alongside them.
When I write now, I often think of some of the rules and elements I’ve learned while not only working on my Master’s, but also from having completed five novels. For some reason, I feel like I’ve lost a little of the wonder of the creative process.
Is it because I’m aware of more “rules?” Possibly. Is it because I’ve done this enough now that I’m desensitized to the feeling of wonder? Perhaps.
It’s not unlike how my youngest child can play with Legos for hours using only her imagination to create an entire world. I use to be able to do that. I can still play with Legos if I wanted to—but it’s not quite the same.
Can I make better Lego creations using my life experience? Certainly. Just as I’m sure my books will continue to improve in quality—at least from how “experts” judge books.
Still, I can’t help but feel a bit sad if I’ve now grown enough as a writer that I’ve lost that sense of innocence…