Smart Girls Read Romance

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

EDITING IS IMPORTANT--AND DIFFICULT!

  

I have completed the manuscript on which I’ve been working, RACHEL, and have heard back from my editor and beta readers. What a relief to complete this book and have it near publication. Life kicked me in the teeth and delayed finishing this book by six weeks.

I had severe vertigo that made sitting at the computer difficult. Actually, vertigo that made life seem like a permanent ride on the tilt-a-whirl made doing anything hard. You can imagine how relieved I am that my doctor and physical therapist have reduced the dizziness to a few minutes when I first get up each morning. 

When I worked for a newspaper years ago, reporters weren’t allowed to proofread their own copy. Because we knew what it was supposed to say, we could miss omissions and errors. Now that I’m writing romance novels, this is certainly true.

Coming this week

I have poured over RACHEL a dozen times, yet each beta reader and my editor found more things to correct. Then, as I’ve made changes, I found more things we missed. That sounds like the book was riddled with errors, but that's not the case. I want each release to be as perfect as possible. 

For instance, with RACHEL I used echo (something I hate) words too often. In case you don’t know what that means, it’s when a descriptive word is used in one sentence and then used again a few sentences later and later and later.

Goofy Example:
I wanted to talk to you at church this morning but there was no chance. That’s why I waited for you outside the church. There were too many people outside the church, so I had to see you later.

I seek new ways to express myself without using the same words/phrases over and over. I also hope to eliminate weak words like felt, just, seem, and other telling instead of showing words. With each book I subconsciously (or unconsciously) overuse a word. In this book, I used “just” and "so" and "all" a gazillion times and had to go back and delete each one. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration. Perhaps not.

Me at work, assisted
by one of my three cats
Editing a book is not as hard as writing. However, it is an important and difficult job. A good editor is worth his/her weight in gold—and often charges that much. Each of us authors wants his/her work to be as good as humanly possible, or we should. That means an editor is a necessary part of the writing process.




That said, producing an error-free work is impossible. No matter how BIG the name, all authors have occasional errors in their published works. When humans are involved, there will always be errors.

In spite of that fact, authors strive to have our writing in a form that lets you read without having to stop and question a word or sentence or reread for clarification. We want you to immerse yourself in the story and be entertained. I recently stopped reading a western historical romance because of the anachronisms and plot errors.

In our family, we call this a wall-banger because the errors are so frustrating we want to throw the book against the wall. Since I usually read from my Kindle, throwing would not be a good thing. However, moving to the next book is easy.

What do you do when you read a book with a lot of errors? Do anachronisms and plot errors bother you? Do you finish reading a book that includes them?

I'll be giving away an e-book of RACHEL, Bride Brigade Book 5 to one person who comments on this post.


Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of contemporary and historical western romances. Sign up for her newsletter here to be informed of new releases, contests, and giveaways.

34 comments:

  1. Implausible premise will put me off more than anything. Deus ex machina also drives me nuts, as it has done to audiences for millennia. Ha! As for other errors, I'm not a stickler--I can forgive a few, but poor research and sloppy writing will eventually make me put the book down.

    Your books are such a joy to read, and yes, it's a lot of work to get them that way--but just know that I have always deeply appreciated your dedication to giving us another quality story to read. I can always count on you!

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    1. Thank you, Jacquie, and right back at you. I just can't forgive sloppy research. We all make mistakes because we're human. Recently, though, a book set in 1880 used facial tissues (not available until 1924) and had a horse and wagon able to keep up with a stagecoach. To me, that was poor plotting/research. I had to quit reading the book.

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  2. Thanks for sharing about all the edit work that goes into a book. I would love to win a copy of Rachael!

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    1. Lori R., you're the winner of the ebook of Rachel. Let me know your email so I can send you your copy.

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  3. I don't like anachronisms, misspellings or poor grammar in a book but unless the writing is also bad, I will finish it. I listen to a lot of books on CD and when I hear a word mispronounced, it makes me crazy -- but I still listen to the book. I just finished "The Constant Princess" by Philippa Gregory and the reader kept saying "grim-aced" instead of grimaced and I couldn't understand why her producer didn't correct her. On "Once Upon A Time" on TV, in a scene supposedly set in Camelot, a modern day boy gives a girl a soda and when she tasted it she says it's like "a carnival in a can". Very descriptive but how would she know what a can is? I could go on and on...but I love to read and so I keep at it. :>)

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    1. Sandy, actually on my audiobooks, I'm the one who approves or asks for corrections. I would think Philippa Gregory has staff to do that for her. I had to ask the narrator for BRAZOS BRIDE to NOT use the proper Spanish pronunciation for brazos. In Texas, we have our own way of pronouncing words. LOL

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  4. I understand your dedication to editing your work. That is what makes them a joy to read. I also understand the vertigo because I have been going through the same thing!

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    1. Karren, so sorry to learn you're having vertigo. My physical therapist is a wonder. I had begun to think I was destined to ride the tilt-a-whirl for life.

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  5. Marjorie.fiola@verizon.netOctober 2, 2016 at 8:58 AM

    If I am enjoying the story I usually don't pay attention to repeated words. Vertigo stinks glad you are able to get it under control

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    1. Thank you, Margorie. You're right, vertigo stinks.

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  6. Caroline, I will continue the book, just to see if the author can redeem themselves in another way. If they can't, well...let's just say I don't read anything else by them.

    As a new author, I strive not only to tell a good story, but to improve with each one I write. Sometimes it's a style change, sometimes the type of story, but always I strive for the best telling I can. And you are correct, editors are writers necessary gift.

    Glad you have the vertigo under control. May it not strike too often. Doris

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    1. Reading other writers is as much craft study as entertainment. As Stephen King said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write." Or, something like that. There are books I reread to study the author's writing.

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  7. Hi, Caroline! I'm so sorry to hear about your health problems. I had vertigo once for about 24 hours and it was completely debilitating. So glad you're on the mend. As a writer it always amazes me how many errors I find even after going over an MS repeatedly and with outside eyes helping me. I reread, put the darn thing away for weeks or months to come back to it with fresh eyes and even read it out loud--and still miss errors. As a reader as long as someone is a good story-teller I'm pretty forgiving of errors and even plot holes. But if a writer is a bad story-teller, I don't care how well edited the book!Like I recently read one book from an author who got a lot of a hype and not only did I find the characters boring but the whole book was based on a non-problem that could have been resolved on the first page--that's the kind of thing which makes me crazy. Best of luck with your new book!I know it will be a good one.

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    1. Patti, your stories would never have that problem. I can't begin to tell you how many times I reread RACHEL and still found an error. I hope I found most of them, but I'm sure there will be some left.

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  8. Vertigo is dreadful. Some years ago, my husband suffered with it for over a year and it made our lives miserable. He was afraid to go out in crowds. Editing hang-ups? I'm a perfectionist since birth, so when I see more than a few mistakes in a novel, I'll put it aside or delete it from my carousel on my Kindle, and move on to another book. If the story is intriguing, I may push through.

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    1. Judy, I can forgive a lot for an intriguing story. Lazy research causes me to stop reading, though. As I told Jacquie, I quit reading one recently because of poor research.

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  9. Hi Caroline,
    I'm sorry you are dealing with vertigo, it must be difficult to just get through a day. I'm glad it's under control for you.
    I do not like missed spelled words, but I usually read the book anyway if I like it. I'm a big fan of your books and eagerly await each new one. Thank you for the hours of enjoyment I receive.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sharon. I appreciate your taking the time to answer.

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  10. HI Caroline!

    Anachronisms annoy me. But if I'm otherwise enjoying the story, and they are not too frequent, I'll finish the book.

    I had vertigo a few years ago. It lasted almost a month. Thankfully, I was referred to an ENT doctor and he had the magic, drug free cure.

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    1. Alisa, my treatment is drug-free as well. I have exercises to do at home between physical therapy treatments. The exercises do seem like magic.

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  11. Plot errors and things like forgetting the name of the character in the middle of a scene and putting another name in... when I stop and scratch my head as I try to figure what just happened�� I can overlook a few things but after a certain point it irritates the.....out of me and I loose my enjoyment of the story.

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    1. I stopped reading a popular author because of plot errors--holes you could drive a truck through. LOL

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  12. Hi Caroline

    Honestly, I try to ignore editorial problems in books simply because I understand how hard it can be to find a fix errors. However there's a tipping point with mistakes and inconsistencies that make me stop reading a book - it really comes down to how distracting the mistakes are vs. how interesting the story is.


    Glenda M (one of the other Glenda's ;-) )

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    1. Glenda, finding a good, dependable editor is not as easy as I had originally believed. Good ones charge so much and have a waiting list for scheduling.

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  13. If it's a good story I ignore the errors unless there are so many it effects the story.

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  14. If it's a good story I ignore the errors unless there are so many it effects the story.

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    1. I agree, Jean. Errors which would change the story are too much to tolerate. I'm glad you're forgiving, though.

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  15. As a reader a well edited book is always appreciated.

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    1. Authors appreciate them as well. Finding the best editor is difficult.

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  16. If it's typos in a print edition, I will go in and correct them. I like to reread sometimes, and that would bother me every time I came across it.

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    1. Cynthia, that's funny and the sort of thing I would do. ☺ Usually I read Kindle versions. If the book is one I want to reread, I get paper.

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  17. People decry indie self-published books if they see 1 single typo, but the truth is that traditionally published books often have errors too. I have yet to read a review that points out badly edited copy in a traditionally pubbed book, but often read it in reviews about indie-published. Last year a publisher sent me a book for review. There were so many factual and grammatical errors that I declined to review it.

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    1. Well said, Joan. Readers are more tolerant of errors in traditionally published books. They have as many errors as indie books unless the author is a newbie who doesn't have an editor.

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  18. Hi Caroline! Sorry about the Vertigo. I thought I heard on the news that there's a treatment/cure for it.. but I can't find anything on the web to validate that. As my grandmother would say... take garlic.. that seems to be the cure for everything!

    When I get my edits back, I always feel like I'm doing the walk-of-shame. I'm not sure that feeling will ever go away. My editor is fabulous and if I could bake her a cake every day I would.

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