Re: On editing already released chapters. Do or don't?

#1
Ok, so, because the topic sounds kind of esoteric and there can be way too many situations where it's applicable, I'll start with an example.

Imagine that you are writing a novel, a novel with god-awful english, style, dialogue, or whatever. Point is, there's problems.

Now, because you are just starting out, the work is deemed ok-enough to be released to the public.

You gain a small following, of those that have seen the hellscape of MTL, and decided the story is worth sticking with.

The chapters roll out, fueled by the motivation from those very people, the writing slowly but surely improving with their criticism.
This means better chapters, more praise, more motivation, and so on.

Eventually, it gets discovered by others. Through latest releases, trending if your ego is high enough to imagine that, or some other means.

Then the 1* and 0.5* reviews start flooding in, because the grammar in the  first few chapters is so unbearable those people can't even be bothered to finish more than 2 pages before nuking your rating into oblivion. 


Now here comes the question. This could be avoided by simply editing those old chapters to fit your new standard.

BUT that also means the old readers, those who you can thank for the popularity, have the very foundation of the story pulled from under their feet. 
You can imagine the problems there.

So the choice is to either not piss them off, or not to disappoint the people who have followed you all the journey.

What then?

Re: On editing already released chapters. Do or don't?

#2
I'm not sure I understand. Why would it disappoint the people already following you if you went back and edited for grammar? We're on this site to learn, support each other, and be better writers, yes?

I can only speak for myself, but if I was following a writer who wanted to go back and edit their chapters for grammar, that would only make me want to re-read the fiction from the beginning. I wouldn't be disappointed, and I would be happy to know that they'd get more followers / better ratings because they had fixed grammar & typos in the first part of their fiction.  

Re: On editing already released chapters. Do or don't?

#3
Most of these novels are a work in progress, not completed works. Normal books, before being published, see numerous revisions and trips to the editor. The unwillingness or hesitation of authors here to go back and change things is one of the greatest weaknesses of this form of publishing.

Do It

The people who support you, support you. They'll probably accept slower updates until you catch up. For new people, it's the best. Just make sure to make an authors note, because otherwise the comments section may be weird

Re: On editing already released chapters. Do or don't?

#4
If it's grammar, minor tense issues, or errors that weren't caught early, then you SHOULD edit. I don't think anyone will complain that you fixed an error that everyone missed at the time. Heck, I found out I was using two different terms for the same thing pretty much every other chapter for a while. I went back and fixed the inconsistencies.

It's when you're fixing continuity issues or things affecting the story itself that the editing thing might become iffy.

Re: On editing already released chapters. Do or don't?

#5
Something I think is valid: when you receive feedback that something in your story was a complete surprise and not in a good way, go back and write some hints in if you can. Tell the readers who are at the most recent chapter "thank you, I made some improvement based on your feedback". It doesn't change the story, but may improve overall enjoyment for the new reader. Short list in the author's note for the old readers in case they want to check it out and done.

Re: On editing already released chapters. Do or don't?

#6

Vincent Wrote: If it's grammar, minor tense issues, or errors that weren't caught early, then you SHOULD edit. I don't think anyone will complain that you fixed an error that everyone missed at the time. Heck, I found out I was using two different terms for the same thing pretty much every other chapter for a while. I went back and fixed the inconsistencies.

It's when you're fixing continuity issues or things affecting the story itself that the editing thing might become iffy.

My opinion is similar. If there are typos or grammatical errors, you have to correct them, even years later, else it looks like you don't care about your story.

Some people might have noticed that pointing out errors is the majority of the times that I comment on stories. If those errors are not corrected, I will be annoyed, at least when I think that the author saw the comment. If I find errors that other people already pointed out three months ago, then I will not help any more. Because somebody took the time to tell the author and I still have to suffer through seeing the error much later.

Changing a wording or making other small changes because you grew as an author and learned to do it better is tricky. As long as the story stays the same I don't see much of a problem if you edit the old chapter.
But if you plan to write a new storyline where the MC meets different people or completely different things happen, it might be better to do it in a new chapter. You can keep the old version with an author's note of "careful, this is version 1" or you can delete it. Some of your old readers will read the new version as well to see the changes but others won't. A chapter with the summary of the changes would be much appreciated.