Turning 5 books into 1

In case you don’t follow me on Facebook and Google+, one of the projects I’ve been considering (in the midst of my existential crisis) is a Revised, Omnibus release synthesized from the full text of all five books in the Lost and Not Found universe (Lost and Not Found, Forget What You Can’t Remember, More Lost Memories, Cheating, Death, and the Lost and Not Found – Director’s Cut) … a project I’ve apparently started working on, already. In fact, I’ve been tinkering with it, off and on, for a few days now.

I’m (nearly) done putting all the scenes from all five books of the Lost and Not Found universe into (mostly) chronological order. Looking at how things are coming together, a new concern is that readers won’t be able to follow all the jumping around; it was relatively limited within each book, but for a 86k-word section in the middle, there are jumps across all the books and stories, mixed together. Some of the scenes are just a couple hundred words.

In a premium hardback edition, I could use different fonts & styles and even extra info in the margins to communicate setting and character changes. In an eBook, which is really just one long stream of text, any clarifying information would fall in between paragraphs/scenes, potentially interrupting what little flow the story retains in this configuration. I mean, what we’re talking about is things like:

* * * Meanwhile, in Denver… * * *

And then the next scene. Or “Later” instead of “Meanwhile” when it’s a time break instead of just a location break. Except then if the following scene is with a different set of characters in the same setting (i.e.: a scene break from the original book, rather than a break between what had been separate books), it would be something like:

* * * Elsewhere in Denver… * * *

And I think that very quickly it would give the whole thing a campy feel. Worse, it introduces another set of problems, where a lot of things are taking place in non-specific locations.

Gha. I’ll try just using a simple break marker (* * * or such) and hope my readers are smart enough to figure out what’s going on. Next problem to tackle: Editing/revising the text, not just to make it coherent in synthesized form, but to improve on it, generally, as almost half of the text was written a over a decade ago, and I’ve certainly improved as a writer/author/storyteller since then. I’ll also double-check for continuity problems, but I’m extremely confident that I won’t find any.

Also, it occurred to me as I was writing this that, if I put this book out there, it will technically be my 20th book. In the Scrivener file I’ve created to put it all together, I’ve tentatively titled it More Than Lost: An Omnibus Revised version of the first five books in the Lost and Not Found universe.

I suppose coming up with a way to summarize a ~257k-word amalgam of 5+ stories in 400 characters or less is going to be pretty challenging, too…

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.