Updating 'old' clues in Published Books for new electronic formats.


Has anyone else had to update clues, technologically for a later edition of a mystery?


Due to likely e-book adaptation, I've revisited a print published, junior mystery I wrote six computers ago. Twenty years on, rights had reverted,I couldn't find the back up disk and scanning was not viable for this kind of conversion, so it meant re-typing. I cursed.


But it's been an enlightening experience.

Although some references need updating, the actual mystery has survived with immediacy of details I’d forgotten. Art is a 10 year old sleuth, a poor reader but a resourceful  problem-solver , with asthma who enters competitions under various names, and wins a  giraffe.Inbetween is a greyhound scam.  ‘Winning a Giraffe Called Geoffrey’ now is like reading someone else’s  clues.


But certain details need updating:


  • Technology- related  clues . E.g. polaroid photo.. Common then, archaic now. Today most kids use digital or their mobile. GPS exist.
  • Audio recorder became  mini micro
  • Peanut butter snack.  Out today for the kids with allergies. Used cheese.
  • My ‘sleuths’ wander around the streets and down the creek on their own finding clues like lost greyhounds     'Helicopter' parents restrict this today ( But I let my characters continue to roam.)
  • Walk home from school alone and detour,.(Left this)
  • Mario (Mars Bar) is the fat kid and a bully.  This would be considered product placement.
  • Blackboards have become whiteboards.
  • My Australian migrant kids are Italian. If I were writing today, they’d be Somali.
  • But the major change is the greater degree of freedom, children had after school. Now everything is parent- organised with chauffeuring.Now that’s a problem for a kids’ mystery.


There are three more books in the series which I’ve renamed ‘Project Spy’ Only two more books to retype as I’ve found the file of the fourth book. What a relief.


My new year’s resolutions  include  BETTER FILING!


Has anyone else had to update clues in adult crime or mystery  stories?

Views: 73

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Interesting experience. Fortunately, I won't have to worry about this. My books are forever up-to-date. :)

There used to be an outfit that would scan/convert text for you. Have you checked such services?
Thanks for the scanning suggestion. But these junior chapter mysteries have many small illustrations which have separate rights issues which affect the scanning. It was just the issue of having technological clues which are up to date for a new generation of readers, which isn't always the case with adult books, which I thought might interest adult crime writers. Child readers expect the character not to age.

Scans of that sort separate the images from the text.  It's not just a scanning service.  They do OCR. 


However, retyping a short work can be useful.  With a long work (or especially a series of long works) the cost of a OCR service is probably more than the cost of Abbyy software and a decent scanner to do it yourself.

I just found an old short story I want to send out or publish electronically.  The protagonist has fallen down the stairs into the basement, and a friend finds her.  In the original story he had to run up the stairs to get the phone.  Of course, now he would have a cell.  It was an easy fix.


Some stories would leave in their original time frame. (Hey, black boards and polaroids could be a history lesson to kids today.)  That one I changed.


CrimeSpace Google Search

© 2024   Created by Daniel Hatadi.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service