Everyone is aware the ease of self-publishing has caused an explosion of poorly written fiction being dumped into the marketplace. We’ve all downloaded a digital book to our Kindle, Nook, phone, or tablet that was filled with bad grammar, misspellings, incorrect punctuation, and was horrendously embarrassing and painful to read. And we’ve all hit the “remove from device” link and sent these books to a junkyard in cyberspace far, far away.
But recently, I’ve been amazed with the amount of poorly written copy coming from not only fiction writers, but also writers in newspapers and magazines and (oh, my) writers on the internet. Put aside the fact that they are not checking facts, more and more people are just content to spit out their opinion or construct lazy gibberish on websites and in comment boxes with little regard to how they are shredding the English language.
“So what?” you ask. “Everyone makes mistakes, right?”
Do you want your accountant to make a mistake by a few decimal points or a few hundred dollars? How about if your doctor wrote (heaven forbid) a prescription for the wrong drug—or maybe the right drug, but the wrong dosage? Or what if your lawyer sent out a letter on your behalf filled with spelling errors? Even better yet, your plumber decided the joint he connected and sealed in one of your drain pipes is just good enough. Would you be pleased with any of these behaviors?
I believe writers have the same obligation as any other worker in any other occupation. It’s time we take the time to strive for excellence as we string words together for our readers. It’s time we take the time to find the correct word, use a thesaurus and dictionary, double check punctuation, remove wordy dialogue, rewrite poorly constructed descriptions, remove anything that doesn’t propel the plot forward, and enlist the help of beta readers and good editors. My list could go on and on, but you get the idea.
James Michener said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” And that’s the secret of good writing. So, I am going to sweat the small stuff. I’m going to take the time to do the best job I can even if it I have to write and rewrite, and rewrite again and again—even if it takes longer than I planned or hoped.
Now tell me, what bugs you as a writer reading the written word in print or digital?
A new month- a new contest- and another chance to win a kindle fire