Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ginger's Viewpoint on Editing

How many books have you read that are error free?  I've yet to find one that didn't have at least one or two minor errors, some many more, but I don't judge the creative talent and awesome story plot by nitpicking.

  I've read my books until I was thoroughly sick of them, trying to make sure I'd not overlooked anything.  Spellchecker only works if you actually doesn't pick up on the differences between words like think and thing, words missing 'ed' or a and an.  Add in the fact that most brains read what is supposed to be there, and we're bound to make mistakes.  Does that make us a poor writer?

Of course not, but finding minor mistakes seems to be a bone of contention with some who leave reviews.  Besides editing my own work as best I can, each manuscript goes through an editing process with the publisher.  We all want to be proud of what we produce, and most brains read what is supposed to be there and don't even notice the slight errors.  I wonder what pleasure some folks get from shredding a terrific story to bits because they discovered something misspelled or misused? 

I recently read a review for a fellow author's book which earned one star for the creative talent that went into the writing.  I was stirred to read the book for myself, and I was amazed how cruel and unfair the reviewer had been.  The author wrote such a fascinating story...and remember, we're talking fiction here, so people need to remember that when they criticize the creativity, yet the reviewer focused only on a few misspelled words, or totally missed the point that the author used the broken English of the western era.  In retrospect, and reviewer came across as the real dummy.

Another complaint was too many story lines.  Are you kidding me?  I love authors who add more to their secondary characters than just a name, and introduce you to back story that ultimately plays into the main plot.  I'm thinking some people should just stick to nursery rhymes...short, sweet, and to the point.  :)  I've going to post my own review of the work in question, and in my mind, just as all the other books I've read by this particular author, she's earned five stars from me.  I can't wait to dig into her next book.  I have only one question, and that's why hasn't mainstream snapped her up?

Don't be swayed by bad reviews.  Remember they are only one person's opinion, so read and draw your own conclusions.  You might be totally surprised.  :)


Anita Davison said...

I'm interested to know who she is Ginger, as I know you to be a discerning reader so she must be good. I agree about nit picking reviews - but then that's the price we pay for having anyone who chooses to criticise our work in the public arena. I read a review from someone who said she bought the book because it had the same title as one she loved, but after the first chapter realised it wasn't anything like the other one, so she didn't read it and gave it one star! Totally undeserved and short sighted - but then there's nowt so queer as folks!

Roseanne Dowell said...

Yes, Ginger, are you going to keep this author and book a secret. Share, my friend.

Janine said...

I agree that it is small-minded to damn an otherwise good book because of 'one or two minor errors'. All writers make the odd mistake and there's a particular danger if publishers and self-publishers don't use copy editors or proofreaders, which I gather many no longer do to save time and money.

On the other hand, I've read some books that have been littered with spelling errors, transposed or repeated words and factual inconsistencies. In that case, I think it really detracts from the reading experience. You cannot get lost in the world the author is creating because of the mistakes jarring you back to the mechanics of the writing. This really can ruin what would otherwise have been a good tale and seems to be the result of an author rushing their work out without basic checking.

Sherry Gloag said...

Sometimes, as you say, Ginger, those that give poor reviews simply make a public ass of themselves. I know of a review on Amazon that said they didn't like the book because they hadn't realised it was Sci-Fi. It wasn't, but there you go.
Many readers will do what you did, and buy the book to see if the review was justified!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Ginger,

Having a few errors that slip through the editing net is inevitable, especially given the fast pace of today's publishing. I do, however, get terribly annoyed when I read a book with serious grammar errors, or constant misspellings. That suggests to me that the publisher and possibly the author really don't care at all. Even if the story is fantastic, this can spoil the reading experience, at least for me.

Many of the people who leave these negative reviews, though, are doing so out of motivations that have nothing to do with reading or writing. They are looking for attention; it's their rather twisted idea of social interaction.

I got a one star review recently, but it almost made me feel good. The reviewer said (in paraphrase): I really didn't like this book. I wanted to but the characters didn't gel for me. However, you might have a different opinion.

I definitely appreciate this honesty and openness. Clearly not everyone is going to like every book I write (especially one as dark and violent as Bangkok Noir). I think the reviewer above was a serious reader, and I'm grateful for her taking the time to check out my book - even if she didn't like it.

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