Editing, Updating, and Completing a Manuscript


By Kathryn Lane

Technology innovations are accelerating at warp speed. At
least that’s what it seems like in my writing world.

A year-and-a-half ago, I started research about a child math
prodigy interested in rockets and space travel. The story takes place in the present
day. The plot revolves around a family-secret type mystery and a subplot
involving the girl’s dream of space exploration.

Then my commitment to write another novel in my Nikki Garcia
mystery series shelved the girl-genius project.

Recently I took up the prodigy manuscript again and realized that maybe I should re-do my research since space travel has changed – several
ordinary citizens have flown to or near the
Kármán line – an imaginary but practical boundary separating mere air travel from space
travel. Blue Origin flew 62 miles above the earth’s surface and kissed the
Kármán line while Virgin Galactic flew a bit
over 50 miles, the altitude where the Federal Aviation Administration awards
astronaut wings to crew members.

The real clencher is SpaceX’s flight to the International Space
Station. The crew were civilians. These three events impact important details
in my young girl’s story.

All of those events were anticipated in the manuscript. Yet now they’ve actually occurred and it’s possibly a game changer for me. I’m wondering if I should make several substantial edits. Not that those space companies will be mentioned specifically, but the accomplishments do impact the story.

I can leave the novel as it was originally conceived and not
re-do my research or I can spend time rethinking and rewriting it. You, as
writers, might tell me it’s irrelevant to update it since I’d never complete it
if I keep revising for the latest space and scientific discoveries. That’s true,
but these events have been groundbreaking. To ignore them would be the easy way
out. Plus the developments of the past year should make a positive difference
in the young girl’s story.

Regardless of whether I update or not, the novel is about
three-fourths done. If I’m going to make changes, now is the time.

Has anyone else faced this issue? If you have any advice, please
share it!

Kathryn’s latest Nikki Garcia Mystery Thriller: Missing in
(available on Amazon)

About Kathryn

Lane started out painting in oils and quickly became a starving artist. To earn
a living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked on a career in
international finance with a major multinational corporation. After two
decades, she left the corporate world to plunge into writing mystery and
suspense thrillers. In her stories, Kathryn draws deeply from her Mexican background as well as her travels in over ninety

Visit my website at https://www.Kathryn-Lane.com

Photo credits:

All photographs are used
in an editorial and/or educational manner

Earth Math by NASA 

Rocket Launch – Twitter

SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule Docking with the International Space Station by NASA 

19 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Depending on when you set the story, I would feel cheated if it implied the story was current but it didn’t accurately reflect today’s world. Now, if you kept it in the ost like Sue Grafton did….

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      I don't know what "ost" stands for, except that in reading and writing, it means Out of School Time for school kids, which does not make sense in the Sue Grafton context above.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Kathryn, glad to hear someone else is playing around with other genres! I agree with AD (Anonymous Debra) that you need to update the story. I had the same issue with a story about Pluto (when it was still a planet). ~ATK (Anonymous TK)

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Thanks Anonymous TK (not sure why the BlogSpot is doing the "anonymous" thing! That was not on BlogSpot yesterday when I left a comment on your blog). I'm pretty much convinced that I'll have to change it! And every opinion really counts – thanks!

  3. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    Kathryn, what do you want to do? I have a manuscript that I wrote at the turn of the 20th century. To change it would mean so much rewriting and I did considerable research. However, I think you have an outstanding opportunity because space flight is literally happening outside our front doors — at least mine as I live in Las Cruces, and White Sands is just a hop skip and Hwy 70 jump away from me. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  4. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    Donnell, thanks. I did not realize you live in Las Cruces – for sure space flight is in your backyard. I'm leaning toward changing it for the same reason TK mentioned she wrote a story when Pluto was still a planet. In my case, it will make the story a bit crisper and cleaner, I think.

  5. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    I always consider my audience when I make a decision like this. Will your ideal reader enjoy a nostalgia piece, or will she want a more contemporary view? Whatever you decide, I know it will be beautifully written.

  6. debra sennefelder
    debra sennefelder says:

    I haven't experience this so unfortunately I can't give any advice. Though, I see you've gotten some sound advice from others. Good luck!

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Thank you, Lynn. I'm moving forward with updating the story – that's really best for the readers!

  7. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    Kathryn, I feel your pain. I wrote the first book in my mystery series fifteen years before I had a chance to look for a publisher. By then, the opening chapter had to be updated from writing a letter to the FBI to sending an email. In the story's climax, Samantha had to find a phone booth to call the police. Technology moves so fast, I'm considering setting my next book in the Middle Ages.

    • Kathryn Lane
      Kathryn Lane says:

      Gay, using the Middle Ages as the time period sounds good. On a similar point, I was listening to the history of the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales last night and thought technology shouldn't reach fairy tales! Whatever we write will be impacted by new technologies!

Comments are closed.