May 17, 2013

Finishing School for Books

Editing... consider it finishing school. You've taken the time to nurture your idea into a full-blown story. But without an editor, it's a rough draft. No matter how many times you read it through.

I have always appreciated the rules of grammar. My two favorite subjects in school were Math and English. At first glance, these don't go together. One seems ruled by the right brain (creativity) and the other by the left (analytical).

Unless, that is, you crave structure and rules.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think we have to write in completely proper, Shakespearean English. You can be informal, but it's the glaring misuse of the language that will rip me out of a story. And who wants that?

This week, I published an article about apostrophes on Indie Books Gone Wild: Small But Important -- the Apostrophe. Long story short, it pointed out the significance of the small, but mighty, apostrophe. This graphic does the same thing...

If you haven't visited IBGW, please do. I am an editor there, but it is the brainchild of the lovely Jo Michaels (the editor, cover designer, and formatter of my YA novel, Chasing Memories). There are many services provided there outside of editing.

As much as I pride myself on being particular, I still had plenty for my editor to find. Plus, an editor--a good one, anyway--looks for holes in your story, inconsistency, and overall structure. At the very least, hire a proofreader. Trust me, mistakes will be found!

A traditionally published book would never make its way to a bookshelf without a professional editor. If we want people to consider purchasing our indie books, we need to play by the same rules.

How off-putting do you find poor grammar?


Jo Michaels said...

Editing is such an important step. It's so sad that people don't put it ahead of an exciting cover. I hate poor grammar and misuse of words. I struggle to get through a book when it's poorly written. Cover be damned; if I can't read it, what's the point? WRITE ON, sister from another mister! :)

Tia Bach said...

I just read a good book, but it had a couple of hilarious errors that really took me out of the scenes.

Example (one I will be sharing in an upcoming post -- maybe I should put it on IBGW!)...

One character says, "You can't let him destroy your life like that."

Next character, "But..."

First character, "No butts. You shouldn't."

Butts took a serious moment, and made me feel like an elementary school kid giggling over the word butt. ;-)