Dear Writer

//begin non-herb-related rant

I read … a lot. During the day if I’m not massaging numbers while wearing my accountant hat, I’m either researching or writing. That’s serious stuff so in the evenings, I prefer lighter reading. I enjoy many genres and love YA (young adult) fiction. It’s generally entertaining; usually a quick read; contains no erotica (which bores me); and doesn’t scare the crap out of me, influencing my dreams.

Technology has made getting a novel published as an e-book almost a no-brainer. Write your book, upload it to Amazon and/or Smashwords and voilà! You’re a published author. If you want to be taken seriously (and perhaps make a buck or two off your writing), let me give you a few pieces of advice:

Pay attention to your English. This funny but correct poster shows many of the most common errors.

Don’t rely solely on your word processor’s spellcheck function – it doesn’t catch everything. My latest peeve: the verb chock means to immobilize a wheel with a block of something. (Picture the yellow blocks to the front & back of an airplane’s wheels to prevent it from moving when it’s parked at the gate. Those yellow things are chocks and the plane has been chocked.) Choke is what I’d like to do to you when you make this egregious error by placing my hands around your throat and squeezing. (Three of the last ten novels I’ve read have had characters “chocking” on their drink or “chocking” another character’s throat. Grrrr.) If you’re unsure of word usage, look it up!

Finally, proof your work! Then, if you don’t want to pay a professional editor, have at least one someone who has a critical eye and a good grasp of the English language read and proof it again. I read a book last night (no, I won’t tell you which one) in which the protagonist’s last name was spelled three different ways.

I’ll admit to being a stereotypical Virgo and blatant errors drive me nuts. More importantly from the authors’ perspective, I won’t spend my hard-earned money on anything else written by them, despite the enjoyable stories. I want to be entertained, not spend my evenings mentally correcting someone’s writing.

Especially if you’re writing YA fiction, remember that kids learn, in part, from reading. Don’t perpetuate bad English.

//end rant

1 Comment

  • Alex Posted April 28, 2012 2:58 am

    I agree wholeheartedly!! These things drive me nuts too and I wonder how these mistakes get through even with “big” authors!

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