The Importance of Editing

Book Reviews, Editing Advice

There is nothing that makes me crazier than reading a really good novel, the author has a great premise and I’m seriously invested in the characters… BUT the author makes some dumb mistake that takes me right out of the story.

I’m reading this decent novel about mind readers. I really enjoy the premise and I even bought the second book in the series because the first one wrapped me up so well in the story. I noticed in the first one that the author used some lame cliches, but I forgave him because the story intrigued me.

Then I started reading the second book. Now I’m pissed because I spent money on this book and the same cliches are being used on almost every page. This is the importance of editing folks. Have someone, besides yourself and apart from a family member or best friend, read your work before you publish it.

Here’s why:

This author’s main character has a heart issue. Or at least I think she should see a cardiologist because “her heart beats wildly against her chest” every time there is a slightest bit of suspense in her life. After I noticed this phenomenon the first time, I noticed frequently throughout the book. I even pointed it out to my husband when the author had used this exact phrase in two paragraphs in a row. Then the author even realizes that he is using it so much that his character says “I was seriously beginning to think I was going to have a heart attack from the way my heart kept beating wildly about my chest” – DUH! Then write it a different way! Maybe her breathing becomes shallow. Or her hand flutters to her throat. Or she has to remember to breathe.

Another example:

All the men in these novels “rake their hands through their hair” every time they are frustrated. Seriously this men should be bald by now. There is a lot of raking going on in these books. And not in the yard. In the first book I thought “Oh well, this is this guys quirk.” Then in the second novel two other male characters do it. Constantly.

There are so many words in the English language and so many ways to convey feelings, thoughts and emotions. Don’t get stuck on one and use it throughout your work. This creates a dull book.

Oh, and in these novels all the men (and most of the women) are stunning. Gorgeous specimens of the species. All of them. The main character hasn’t met a single person that wasn’t absolutely perfect. This is not real life. People are ugly. People have scars and nail biting habits and don’t go to the gym. If you want people to read your work then it has to be plausible. Having a book full of perfect, slightly obsessive compulsive about their hair, people who just happen to be mind readers – does not a good novel make. What are their other quirks? What was their home life like? Did they have surgery to look this good or were they born this way? Where are all the ugly people? Did the mind readers kill them?

Yes, I’m still reading this book. I’m kind of compulsive that way myself – I like to finish what I start no matter how horrible it is. And, no, I’m not going to slam the author by calling them out here. But, yes, I am going to write an Amazon review. And not to be mean, but because I think this book could be AWESOME if the author would have spent just a bit more time tightening these minor issues. I want him to aspire to make it better. He could have a best seller on his hands if only he’d take the time to polish. And edit.

And before anyone calls me out on this blog and all the typing and grammatical errors I’ll say this: I write from the cuff. I don’t edit a lot of my blog, but I try to use correct punctuation and grammar so my reader doesn’t get sidetracked. BUT blogs, to me, are basically journals. A personal insight to me. I’m not always error free and I don’t make money on my blog. My point is when you want to sell your work and become rich and famous… take the time to edit.

What novels have you read lately that could have benefited from a good edit?

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