I have a non-fiction co-author. They have a different tone than I do: less stilted and formal, somewhat irreverent. Their books sell well, suggesting I need to learn to drop the stilted, dry formality and lighten up.

I still can’t begin a paragraph with “So,”. But I can follow their style of “This could get complicated, and you won’t like it!” instead of my habit of larding on details “Complexity arises from a number of sources including the problem domain, the language, and the data structures.”

The original plan was to leave large parts of the previous edition untouched. In some cases, this hasn’t worked out well. The editor has been calling out the chapter introductions as incomplete, inconsistent, and, a bit too chatty. They’re from the previous edition, lightly changed where we added (or removed) a section.

While I agree that the chapter intros needed work, I also saw the original versions with their chatty irreverence sold really well. Of course, I’m willing to rewrite into my stilted style, but, the other style sold well. Are we over-thinking it?

On the fiction front, I’m studying the new Perry Mason season one. It’s grim. I like it. As a child, I liked the TV series that ran from 1957 to 1966. My recollections of stories centered on elder Mason creates a ready-made foreshadowing for younger Mason. I’ve never read a word of Earl Stanley Gardner’s 80-or so Perry Mason novels, but I assume the TV shows culled everything useful from the books.