Thursday, July 18, 2013
I have been in full edit mode on my novel. I recently learned something, accidentally, that has been very valuable in assisting me with my editing.
Everyone kept telling me to read writers I liked, good writers and learn from them. I recently read a book that was not well written or edited and it was the most helpful thing I could have done. This was as surprising to me as it is to you.
Throughout the book the author changed points of view (POV) within paragraphs in each chapter, had dialogue in the middle of paragraphs and had dialogue that was not tagged so it was difficult to discern the speaker.
After completing my rough draft of my wonderful novel on my first edit I noticed that, as this author did, I loved to change POV. I picked this up as an issue and fixed it, I will admit, grudgingly because when I read my novel, the one that I lovingly created and lived with I, of course, had no issues at all following along and knowing who was thinking what and who was talking.
That was the revelation of reading this book, which had a good story line and interesting characters, but all the mistakes in editing pulled me out of the story, made me re-read passages to figure out who was speaking or thinking and that took away from the story immensely.
Now I understand how important it is to clearly keep POV to one character and to be sure all dialogue is tagged properly. When I read it in a story that I did not know by heart it was very difficult to follow and it can actually cause someone to stop reading my novel.
I am advocating that you go out and read a poorly edited book. It helped me so much to take a step back from my story, see how a reader would see it and learn what does not work in telling a great story. For example this book introduced a lot of characters who never re-appeared or if they did there was never any closure to their part of the story- I was left wondering why they were there at all or upset that I didn't find out what happened to that character who had been laced through out the book.
When I read a good author and a well edited book I get so caught up in the story that I do not notice the way the book is written- and that is how it should be.
I am sure you know that problem with self-publishing is that there are poorly edited and poorly written books mixed in with the good ones. I took a stab at a free book to test out a genre that I have never read before and it turned out to be a blessing that I got a poorly edited and not so well written book.
If you want assistance editing your book I recommend finding a free book out there and with luck it will help you break through some writing and editing issues.