I’ve heard that often and have even said it.
I was wrong!
I recently took a manuscript I had planned to update and load to create print books. The story was dear to my heart and filled with love and emotion. After both of my parents passed away and my marriage ended within one year, I needed to vent my grief, hurt, and anger. I did. I cried over my laptop keyboard.
That was all I needed to write a good book everyone would love, right? WRONG!
Some reviews said nasty things. “It was riddled with errors.” Say what? I skimmed for errors and only found some Southern spellings, like goin’ for going or doin’ instead of doing. I used Southern expressions. Surely they were the reason someone said there were so many errors she couldn’t read it. Maybe the reviewer was just being nasty. One reviewer even gave the book a 1. A 1? She liked the story, but it needed an editor and a proof reader. The nerve of that reviewer!
During this reading I found lots of things I missed. Some were about proofing, while others were mistakes caused by gremlins and my reading too quickly. If I can make mistakes and miss them with my knowledge and experience, maybe you could, too. We all have habits we need to break.
Hw meny tymes have you seen meems that misspelled wrds and omitt wurds and asked if you cud read and unnerstan them? Could you understand this question? I’m guessing you could. Now for the big question. WOULD YOU WANT TO READ A BOOK WITH LOTS OF ERRORS AND HAVE TO INNTERPRET THEM?
I taught school and read answers to essay questions by students of all levels, so I can figure out answers. I tutor and edit for students and writers at different levels, so I still figure out what they mean and use their errors to teach them. I would not read a book that had many errors or required straining my brain to read them.
Are you often tempted to skim books until you find the good parts? There are ways to save your readers from that temptation.
- Clean up grammatical errors.
- YES, you do need to use the correct punctuation, and, YES, there are rules. Learn them before you break them intentionally.
- Read for weak verbs that don’t evoke images for your reader.
- Watch ing verbs and how often you use was when other verbs would make your writing stronger.
- Use dialogue that moves your story and involves readers.
- Consider when using passive voice carries more impact or using active voice packs a stronger punch.
- Never make your reader guess what you meant. Be clear.
- If you tend to be verbose, learn when you need an economy of words. We Southerners know about verbosity and using five words when one or two would make our points.