Erm…a funny thing happened when I stumbled upon a 25-year-old manuscript.

If you follow me on Twitter (@CaitGAuthor), you’d have noticed how I’ve been tweeting with the #25YearOldWIP hashtag this past week. That’s because I was looking through my file manager and came across the first manuscript I’ve ever completed. You know, the kind of work you really shouldn’t show to anyone because it’s so awful?

Except…

It’s not all bad, really. I mean, my writing has improved over the years, but I could recognize my current style hailing from half of my lifetime ago. So, I did the thing many authors have (probably intelligently) decided not to do—I opened the file and pondered if I could retool the thing. Then, the unthinkable happened: I actually began the rewrite!

WE’RE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS NOW, PEOPLE!!!

Holy moly, I’m taking this building down to the studs for a major renovation. I’ve changed the genders of so many characters, and the protagonist’s bot, Norm, has a non-binary pronoun. (I love how author Stephen Graham King’s series, The Maverick Heart Cycle, has non-binary pronouns for AI.)

I even modified the title of the work.

Drawing of Captain Catt Rohan
ID: Captain Catt Rohan, dressed in a puce and black top with black jacket, black trousers, electric purple thigh-high boots. Her hair is amethyst with streaks of white, and her skin is ecru.

Then, I drew the main character (who looks nothing like the original MC), so I could envision her as I work through the whole story.

She’s an interesting soul who carries a lot in her headspace. She’s also really sweary, drinky, and gambly. Probably the only reason she isn’t dead is because of her cunning, and of course Norm, who’s always at the ready with a hangover remedy, or whatever xey feel will contribute to the captain’s well being.

At this point, I’m so at the beginning of the rewrite, I’m loath to say more or tell you the title of the work. When I feel this manuscript is viable enough to be seen by other humans, then I’ll reveal the title and such, like the giddy ol’ thing I can be.

Gee, when I was 25 and wanted to be an author so badly, I had no idea my (nearly) 50-year-old self would be nurturing the manuscript I worked on with such enthusiasm. I also had no clue that it wouldn’t be the first book I ever published.

Life is funny. Let’s see where it takes me this time!

I seem to have a habit of writing books by accident. Huh.


Cait Gordon, in a black and white digital sketch
Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers (Fall of 2019). When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (Fall of 2019.)


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