An interesting thing about radically reworking something this old and broken is that I get to see how far I have come. I think, on some level, it's impossible to rework an older book to a higher standard than what one is writing currently--by which I mean, one doesn't learn much revising an existing book, because the framework of the book is still there in your head. (First-person you here, of course, the second-person you's process may be different.)
But once one has radically improved, one can at least bring the old stuff up to snuff.
This is one of the reasons why I find it useless to save books up until one is better.
One gets better by writing books.
Still. I can't believe how lousy some of this old writing is. Full of scaffolding, "He saw"s and "She felt"s and I swear unto you, I just eradicated (with extreme prejudice) the words "merry brown eyes." And substituted an actual character description.
Apparently I know how to write those now.
(He wound up looking something like a young Jeremy Brett. I have, alas, run out of people in my head, and had to start substituting other people so that I get a variety of physical descriptions. But I can probably get years of mileage out of dead Shakespearean actors, so it'll be okay.)
The sad part is, I know in another six years, this will look just as awful. Okay, maybe not just as awful. At least it will be entirely devoid of merry brown eyes.
But the point is, there's no winning. It is an endless holding battle.
Or possibly stories start to decay after you've written them, and slowly become worse and worse and worse...
At least I still