Get it? “Condensed” versions had ‘extra scenes’. EXTRA.
I have read many a tedious book or parts that I skimmed through, (Elaine mentioned “War and Peace” earlier in the week; I could not have cared less from which direction Napoleon decided to attack, etc.), but to actually add scenes is too much.
I can tell you that it happened with a Stephen King book and a section of a James Michener saga in Reader’s Digest. They published a SECTION of “Centennial” and not only left out a great deal, they added to it.
They decided that they wanted to ‘improve’ upon King and Michener. They rewrote part of Michener’s work, even though they published only a small section.
These were not for clarification; the scenes added no information nor did they make any of the reading easier as far as I could see. Granted, the ‘mini-series’ of Centennial did a lot more editing and rewriting, but we are talking Reader’s Digest here. (I have implored all writers to read “Writing Movies For
Fun and Profit” by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon to see why and how written works are changed when translated to the screen.)
I have to say that knowing this, I would probably not be happy if Reader’s Digest’s people got their scissors and pens on my stories.
Oh, it would be an honor, I suppose and it could lead to big sales, but would I rather someone else’s book club,(Oprah, Kelly, etc.), picked one up? You bet, but that would be in entirety, and is not this week’s question.
I have worked hard, so hard that I can’t seem to get my act in gear to put a whole book out there yet, but I know that I must. The idea of then allowing someone else delete passages, edit out my carefully constructed scenes and carefully chosen words is unbearable to me, (I mean after my own editors and I have worked out what need to go or be re-worked, which can be hard enough, thank you very much), then to have someone else also add passages?
It’s painful to think of.
The pride coming from a Reader’s Digest printing would be enormous. The ‘exposure’ would be otherwise impossible to purchase.
But, I don’t know.
What good is the fame if I have a nervous breakdown?
I guess that I could live with it,
but a younger me would not have ‘sold out’.