Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ask any Author

Ask any author.

I’ve just finished writing STRAW IN THE WIND. It was one of those books that was difficult to write. Despite the straightforward plot I lost my way somewhere in the middle and lost track of seasons - one moment it was winter, the next moment the heroine was plucking a bouquet of spring flowers from the meadow.

It took me three fairly detailed edits before I got this book right. I dislike editing, especially when it’s my own work. On the first edit I usually get a little tired of the story line. On the second edit I’m appalled by the amount of mistakes still left in my work. They are usually the sort of grammar mistakes you should learn in kindergarten. Was instead of were, their instead of there, or visa versa. I’m hot on putting questions marks in the wrong place too, or not putting them in when I should...ask one of the members of my critique group. Anyway, I gave the manuscript a good rest, then decided to give it a third edit, just in case. Yeah Gods! By the time I’d finished doing it every word felt flat, I hated the characters and was ready to throw the beast into the wheelie bin. Needless to say this book is now so thoroughly edited it’s practically wearing a straight jacket!.

Am I confident it has no mistakes in it? No, of course not. All can only do is try to send a manuscript out as well-written and edited as I can make it. It will now go through a copy editor who will cast an independent and critical eye over it. Then it will have to be proof edited. I’ve never done a proof edit that has been totally mistake free! And even after all that, one or two mistakes have sneaked through into a book and has been read by the reader, who, if they happen to be an ultra pedantic type, will then write to me in righteous indignation: ‘Why don’t you learn to spell moron?’
Huh? I know how to spell that. It’s M O R O N isn’t it? Okay, okay, don’t get your knickers in a twist. What about the 99.99 percent of spellings that were correct...what about them, eh?

I have to say that editing another’s writing is much easier than editing my own. Authors can always find mistakes in another author’s work and rewrite it for the better! Ask any author!

1 comment:

Eric said...

I’m discovering lots about Janet Woods. I’d assumed she didn’t make mistakes. I once thought she was so upper crust she wore a tuxedo to breakfast and employed thirty-eight gardeners, sixteen kitchen staff and her top pocket had a permanent bulge creased into it where she kept wads of money. --- Hero’s aren’t what they once were; I blame the Internet. --- If it weren’t for your wonderful stories I’d have little to worship these days. ---- I’ll checkout this ‘Straw in the Wind’ offering and use the experience to form more opinions. ---- Thank you, Eric