Life is too short to reread stuff you wrote yourself. Once I’ve completed a novel, I never look at it again.
But the e-book process forces you down this path, if only to check for glitches in the conversion process. So that’s what I’ve been doing for Summit. Of course, my main worry was that I’d find myself thinking: How could I have written this crap? Luckily, this didn’t happen. There were sentences I felt like tweaking, but the novel continued to work for me.
What was most interesting about the experience was how much I had forgotten about the novel. These were characters and events that inhabited my brain for a long time, and now some of what happened seemed totally new to me. Did I really write that?
As a spy thriller, Summit is legally obligated to have a certain number of plot twists. They have to be prepared for in such a way that they are surprising when they happen, but sufficiently plausible that they don’t seem arbitrary, that the reader doesn’t think the author is just messing with him. When I reread the novel, the first plot twist took me completely by surprise. So much so that, when the twist started (somewhat mysteriously, with someone being in a place she wasn’t supposed to be), I thought I had screwed up, so I went back and changed a paragraph a couple of chapters earlier in the novel. Then I continued reading, and I realized the clever author had tricked his credulous future self. I should have trusted the author more — now I had to find the paragraph I’d changed and put it back to the way it was supposed to be.
Personalities persist, but memories decay. I’m the same person that I was back then, but that doesn’t mean I can’t surprise myself.