I don't think a writer ever stops writing a book. That's why I don't look at my recent releases. It's absolutely maddening to see, in an already-published work, everything from typos that were missed to whole sections that could stand some refurbishment.
A few days ago, as I went over the final proofs for Carny's Magic, I became curious about the preceding Jackson-and-Adin stories, none of which I've read since they were released. So I quickly reread them. It proved an interesting exercise.
And, yup, a maddening one.
I would love to rewrite the first 25-30% of InDescent. LOVE to. There's a lot I'd change. I'd also go over the whole manuscript with a fine-tooth editorial and proofreading comb, because I see the novel was seriously shortchanged in those departments. The formatting, at least for Kindle, is also sloppy. All this stuff makes me crazy.
So why didn't I catch the problems before InDescent was released? Because I'd worked on the book so long, I'd developed "text blindness." This happens to many writers. If you go over the same manuscript multiple times, you have it virtually memorized and therefore skim more than scrutinize it. All kinds of things escape your notice. That's why sharp editors and proofreaders are so essential to the publishing process. They're supposed to pick up what text-blind authors have missed.
To Be Where You Are, the next book in Jackson's and Adin's saga, fared much better. Although relatively minor, the errors still bug me because they weren't caught and should have been. (Um, yeah -- same publisher as InDescent.) I'd written this story over a shorter period and so was able to keep a clearer perspective on it.
By the way, I developed a new appreciation for To Be Where You Are. It's a good story; I believe it deserves more attention. (Gee, what a surprise! :))
Fugly -- same scenario as above. I wouldn't do much to change it except for correcting the typos that weren't caught and cleaning up the formatting.
So how will Carny's Magic stack up against its predecessors? The answer lies in two words: Loose Id. They have one of the best (which translates into knowledgeable and thorough) editorial staffs in the business. I know this novel has been in good hands. Oh . . . and it's coming out in just over three weeks. ;-)