Friday, January 21, 2011

What I have seen

This may sound like a rant, but this is not my meaning.

As of late, I have been doing some editing and manuscript evaluations.
I must say that I am appalled at some of the stuff that authors deem fit for publication.

Where to begin, I am not going to tell you that I am a grammarian, and am perfect. No one is perfect all of the time. I do however, know that grammar and punctuation are important when it comes to writing and not turn the reader off but things a blind person could find.

Recently having read two different manuscripts, the overuse of ellipses incorrectly, which only shows the author as being either lazy, ignorant, or an amateur; perhaps a combination of all three. As someone who considers themselves a professional, this is unacceptable and the manuscript is doomed to the round file for posterity.
Over the years of reading, there have been wrong word choice, typos, spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in books that are the responsibility of the authors to correct as much as possible. It is not the task of the publisher to correct manuscript errors in today’s publishing environment.

Now we come to another phase of publishing, that is self-published, or creating a manuscript for the Kindle and other E-readers.

Authors need to edit their work, hire an editor, or at least have someone they trust to read the work and see if there are the basic concepts of consistency, cohesion, believability, POV, flow, and a good hook that makes the reader want to read on.

Any author that wants to sell more books should work hard not to bore their reader.

As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Also quoting Mark Twain, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

These are two principles of writing that I feel writers need to adhere to; just my opinion for what it is worth.

Ok, off the soapbox now.

Robert Medak

Freelance writer, editor, proofreader, book reviewer, marketer




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