Absolutely amazing the difference a computer makes! I'm still working on my old books, trying to update them for the digital age. I'm pretty sure I had a computer in the early 90's, but I'd spent ten years prior to that writing in long hand and typing into a typewriter, and old habits die hard. And those old habits included very little editing. Stories pretty much stayed as they were written. (I was also working full time, remodeling a 1929 house, and trying to keep up with two teenagers, so my brains were most likely addled in those moments I stole for writing.)
It isn't just all the adverbs and the insane verbs used to say "said" that raise my "arched auburn eyebrows" (a phrase I've just deleted from the heroine's point of view!). What stuns me is that I had 140,000 words in this book and I STILL told instead of showing what should be fantastic action scenes. Look at how I smoothly reduced an entire scene to a paragraph:
But instinct told Tyler she was big trouble.
His instincts were rewarded in New Orleans when one of the passengers decided Evie would make an excellent addition to his bordello and attempted to carry her off. Tyler arrived in time to watch Evie feign a dramatic faint, trip the cad, and push him off the gangplank into the filthy waters of the river, to the cheers of everyone on the dock. He almost considered cheering himself, if he didn't feel quite so sorry for the idiot who had fallen for Miss Peyton's all too obvious allures.
These days, that would be a wonderful scene filled with dialogue, but back then, it was simply a throwaway to get to the real story. Wow. How many of you have tried to read your old favorites and given up?