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When Writing Ruins Reading / Sarah Ballance
I used to enjoy reading. I mean, REALLY enjoy it. I could sit back with a good book – heck, even a mediocre one – and kill a whole afternoon in utter bliss. With a book in hand, life was a lemonade commercial in the heat of summer, all sunshine and fresh breezes and bare feet beneath a deep blue sky.
Then I became a writer.
The transition was a slow one. In the beginning I experienced some raw sort of kinship with the authors whose books I read, as if they had any inkling or cared that I yearned to join their ranks. Then – because I had to do this writing thing right – I dug into the so-called rules of writing and editing, and a few of those phantom relationships tanked. I noticed things like mid-paragraph point-of-view switches. Repeated words. Grammatical errors. Oh, my. But I’ve talked with other authors who notice the same things. Truth be told, it’s hard NOT to notice the stuff our critique partners and editors have beaten us over the head with.
You’d think there’d be an upside to this. You would think this little genetic deformity of mine would mean I catch all of my own mistakes, but oh, no. I can hear my crit partner laughing from halfway across the country because I am practically immune to seeing the mistakes in my own work. And you know what? I bet most of us won’t catch them all. You read the same manuscript enough and all the words have been written 100 times a piece. Who’s going to notice misplaced, misused number 101?
The occasional typo happens no matter how many times you proofread, and that applies not only to authors but editors. Most readers can forgive such a thing – yes, even me – but when I see a mid-scene or (*gasp*) mid-paragraph point-of-view switch you have to pry me off the ceiling with a crow bar. I have literally woken my poor hubby up in the middle of the night to read him a paragraph out of novel he (a) has no interest in and (b) couldn’t follow if he did because he’s only pretending to be awake. Yeah, that’s what separates me from the normal folks. I not only see these things, but I need a witness!
Sometimes I look back fondly on the good old days, back when I didn’t know only one character could speak in a paragraph and a pronoun referred to the last specific noun mentioned. (I’m afraid I’ve always been a card carrying member of the grammar police – if there were days of nostalgia there, they were before fourth grade or so, LOL). But for the most part I consider this little neurotic part of my soul to be a good thing. Finding errors in a professionally edited, professionally published piece is a fantastic way to hone writing skills. And let’s face it, if you sit up straight from a sleepy state at three in the morning because you notice a no-no, you tend to give it a wide berth when you’re fine-tuning your own manuscript.
Now, some of you are like me and I know what you’re doing. You’re looking with beady eyes over every word I’ve written. You’re finding errors, spotting broken rules, and pointing fingers because I’ve ended sentences with prepositions. And, hey, if you’re really diligent, you’ll buy a copy of Down in Flames and comb through every word. (Ahem.) But the more you pick on me the more I adore you, because if there’s a like-minded soul out there poking an unfriendly elbow into a sleeping spouse to point out my gaffes, well, let’s just say I dig your style. And my condolences to your bedmate.
What about you? Do you notice the typos, broken rules, and grammatical errors when you’re reading for pleasure? Share your thoughts, tell me I’m nuts, or just say hello – just show me SOME kind of love! One lucky commenter will win a $10 e-gift card to Amazon.com (why, yes, you CAN grab a copy of Down in Flames on Amazon, thank you very much!) You must have a valid e-mail address to enter- Make sure you have that in your comment or we can not contact you if you won. A winner will be chosen Monday September 27th, 2010
Buy link: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=136
DOWN IN FLAMES blurb
When Jack Gellar returns to Jefferson Heights after five long years and an unforgettable betrayal, is his appearance the last thing Molly Coleman needs in her tragedy-stricken life . . . or the first?
Molly just lost her entire family, and now her home and business are both on the line. An unexpected encounter with the one man who can put the pieces back together leaves her reeling, for he can just as easily destroy what little she has left. Jack has a lot to prove to win her back, but when a lapse in judgment turns into an ultimatum he can’t refuse, will his choice bring them together or tear them apart for good?