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A GOOD EDITOR CAN MAKE OR BREAK A BOOK

October 7, 2015

As often happens, a book I just read provided a perfect inspiration for my weekly article.

A killer story can be less than great if the author’s writing quibbles get in the way of things. This is where a good editor can make that author shine. Even if an author can whip other manuscripts into top shape, as I’ve said many times before, they (we) can’t always see the forest through the trees. On the other hand, some authors are not technically proficient writers. They need all the help they can get.

This is where a good editor comes into play.

A GOOD STORY IS A GOOD STORY

Yeah, yeah, bla bla bla. We’ve heard that tired old excuse over and over again. We’ve also seen it over and over again with million sellers that, as far as writing quality is concerned, are total crap. There, I’ve said it. As for writing, they’re total crap, yet the average reader not only doesn’t care, they probably don’t even notice except maybe they detect that something isn’t quite right. Do they care? Hardly.

The problem is that there are others that do care. I’m talking about those of us that know better, those of us that want to leave a legacy. Also readers that are more sensitive to good writing, good grammar and good syntax will have their bull detectors go off. They’re going to remember that writer/author and a rep will build. It probably won’t hurt those author’s pocketbooks in the short term, but it will ultimately mar their legacy.

Do you care? Maybe, maybe not.

If not, you probably don’t need to read any further. I happen to care. I want a quality product to come out and don’t want my legacy tarnished by crap writing. I don’t want to be known as one of those writers.

I want to be able to tell a good story with good writing!

GOOD STORY, GOOD STRUCTURE, BAD WRITING

This latest thriller I read was a good story with good structure. However, the editing had a lot to be desired. The author liked to repeat words, and repeat words… and repeat words. Geez! Even though he wrote it in solid third-person, and it was NOT omniscient, he blatantly head-hopped enough to give me pause. The author is also known for the overuse of exclamation marks. I’ve mentioned them before and how they scream melodrama. Well, ‘nuff said about that! He also did a little bit of foretelling, which bugs the crap out of me.

Every one of these annoying things could’ve been fixed with a good editor. Unlike another thriller author which I’ve railed about before, at least this guy’s editor did a little more than run it through spell check. However, the editor let slip so many other issues that I still have to wonder if it wasn’t self-edited, or just helped, rather than actually hard-edited by his publishing house.

DIFFERENT EDITORS, DIFFERENT STYLES

Of course, each editor has their own style. However, I don’t see where they should be so off the rails. Then again, these books sell, and lots of readers don’t notice.

I don’t want my stories to end up that way.

How about you?

Happy writing.

 

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