Marchbooks' Blog

March 10, 2009

The Arduous but Necessary Task of Editing

Filed under: On Writing and Publishing — marchbooks @ 7:11 pm

 

 

 

Every time I try to read Strunk or ‘The Chicago Manual of Style’, my head starts to hurt. I don’t think that attention to grammar comes easily to most people, especially in today’s ‘hurry up and go’ society. In my own case, I find myself using punctuation the way a blind musician plays music – by ear. For good or bad, my acid test is how a sentence sounds when I read it. That does not mean that it is right. I am sure there are those who would argue with my comma placement or my use of a dash rather than a colon. To a degree, some of these choices are open to the author’s interpretation.

What is not up to interpretation is the myriad of careless spelling errors that seems to be so prevalent in self-published works. Whether it is online or a hard copy publication, this is an infraction that hurts everyone who ventures into the seas of self-publication. I would venture to say that this is the main reason that self-published authors do not get the respect they deserve. Publishing a work that you have labored over is a complex endeavor. It should be taken seriously. Editing your own work is tedious, exhausting and difficult, but it has to be done.

It is a given that, even after the most strenuous editing efforts, there will still be small things that may be missed. Big publishing houses put out books that are less than perfect and that is with the resources of an arsenal of editors and proofreaders. But, we can all tell the difference between one errant typo and a story that is replete with errors. 

In some instances, it is hard to believe that the author has made even a cursory effort to proof their writing. It is almost as if, once the words are written, the author wants nothing more to do with them. How tragic? If an author doesn’t even enjoy reading his/her own words, how can they expect someone else to?

We all realize that editing ones own writing is a difficult and arduous task. We can commiserate with those who have words popping into their heads so quickly that they just have to write them down, but please, have some compassion for the reader. Mistakes are made. We’re not perfect. That’s why God made erasers and that’s why Bill Gates gave us spell check (is he the one who was responsible for that…hmmm?).

 

This kind of careless effort brings us all down. The advances in printing technology are a huge boon to those who want to see their lovely words in book form. Let’s not take advantage of it and let’s not take advantage of the poor reader who spends their hard-earned money, only to get a sub-standard piece of literature. We can’t all be Keats or Tolkien, but we can all make our publications the best and most polished works they can be.

 

After all, your name is on this story that you have labored over for months and months. Have some respect for your art. Put your best work out there and make sure that it is a reflection of you. If you like going out to dinner in a dirty, tattered t-shirt, okay then. Hopefully you don’t, but even if you do, don’t make your book suffer by sending it out into the world looking like a filthy street urchin. Dress it up in its Sunday best. Give it the respect it deserves and make your writing something you can be proud of.

 

 

 

Read on.  Visit our website http://www.marchbooks.com

 

 

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Kelly's escape from the Black Institute

 

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Hi this is a really useful blog. I’ll be back soon to read some more.

    Comment by Sophie — March 10, 2009 @ 8:31 pm | Reply


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