How To Ruin A Reading Experience

ağaç altında kitap okumakThe Knight raises his arm into the air, flashing his shimmering steel sword as it soars arcing towards the beast and sices the dragon’s hair off …

Sices? What is sices? Oh you mean slices! Hair? That doesn’t make sense. Perhaps head was what the author meant.

Many of us can understand the frustration at witnessing grammatical errors and poor transitions that can flood our reading journeys with distracting annoyances. As a rapid reader, I find that poor editing is a growing epidemic in storybooks, and grammatical errors and typos aren’t getting fixed any time soon.

While tromping through a wild forest, suddenly the mystery has vanished as you become focused on the poor use of language or misspellings. From my personal experience,  I will admit that this tends to be more prevalent with self-published authors, which are an increasing population. I hesitate to pick a self-published story up, afraid of the grammatical horrors that often lay in wait for me. However, I am also seeing an increase coming from small and large publishing houses. It is almost as though the need for speed to get books on the market has become more important than the actual quality of what it being printed and provided to the public.

Speaking as a reader who loves the stories that authors create, I ask humbly that you take editing seriously. A story can be ruined by the lack of refinement. Stop rushing. Your book will be more successful and enjoyable if you give it a proofread or three proofreads. A well edited book shows the reader that you take your craft seriously and that you want only the best of you to be presented to your eager audience.

There are many fee-based editing resources out there. Even the most amazing and famous author needs to be edited. No matter how awesome you are at proofreading, you cannot be the only eyes on your own work. When we are too close to the content, we make mistakes. Take the time to research for editors and invest in quality rather than quantity.

Of course, editing resources can be found right here at Turn The Page Editing. Here are a few others to check out:

https://www.elance.com

https://www.fiverr.com

https://www.odesk.com

http://www.upgradeyourstory.com

-Sheilah Randall

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Editing and writing and book trailers, oh my!

If you visit this site, you might notice it’s had a face lift. Since I host my author site over at KMRandallAuthor.com, this one had become a bit redundant. So I’ve revamped this site as my professional editing and proofing site. I offer a number of services to those interested, including general editing and proofing, article writing, copywriting, copyediting, resume building, blog writing, and manuscript editing/proofing. Sheilah Randall, creator of Indigo-Ashe Book Trailers, has also found a home on this site and is currently offering book trailer services for only $40.00.

I’ll still be writing about editing and writing here, and Sheilah may also post content that’s art and book trailer-related. Thanks for stopping by!

Killing your darlings: on why cutting words doesn’t hurt (that much)

Photo: The bible-length book I wrote that will be much shorter when I'm done with my red pen.Don’t mind the random fruit loop sitting on the booster seat chair. I have a two-year-old. Enough said. The focus is the manuscript sitting in print form on my kitchen table. Epic proportions it may be, seeing it like that filled me with a sense of accomplishment. No more computer screen. This is real. And then I quietly freaked out inside realizing how much editing still needed to be done before I could get where I’ve been heading all this time.

Stephen King has a quote: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric scribbler’s little heart, kill your darlings.” I’d say in terms of words, I’ve been doing pretty well at cutting since I laid this out on the table. A friend’s words recently reassured me: “None of that matters though, when you can throw your book down on the kitchen table like that and it makes the floor shake, you did good enough.”

I did good enough. But now I need to do better. So gone are the first 25 pages, the first words I ever wrote when the story first came alive. Gone are pages in the middle, chopping away at 200k words as if it were someone else’s words going into the trash. Although there have been twinges, passages I delicately caressed before hitting control X– delete would be too harsh so I keep those words in another file–I have found that it hasn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Hours, days, weeks and years toiled away on the keyboard, and with one stroke those words are gone.

I guess, in the end, making it the best story it can be outweighs the pang of loss. And when the day comes I see it in published form, those years of words that will never see the light of day won’t bother me in the least. Because they were stepping stones and bridges to a story that moved beyond them. They served a purpose, and I can be content knowing that.

Editing versus writing and why I like both

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“While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.”
― Tiffany Madison

I follow a lot of writers on Twitter, which makes sense since I am a writer myself. And I’ve noticed at various times when I’m perusing my feed the number of writers who, finished writing a book, bemoan the editing they now have to do. While I’m sure every writer would like to write the last sentence and declare a manuscript complete, I can’t relate. Editing is the part where I get to make it pretty — to change a sentence from drab to fab, and bring color to quickly-written passages. But I do agree with the quote above on writing; it is a release to let the story breathe and the characters clawing their way out of you go free.

Having written my own book over a period of years, I’m finding the editing is more than arduous, as full chapters need to be rewritten, and new ideas still come and force me to tweak a character here or a side plot line here. It doesn’t help that the book itself has reached epic proportions in length, so that my next job once I’ve went all the way through is to use my literary scissors and cut.

But I do love editing, having only realized this when I became the editor of an online publication. And now my path has led me to Booktrope, where I have begun to work with authors by editing and proofing their stories. Most of the time, it doesn’t even feel like work, it feels like I should be editing books and writing books full-time — oh the dream!

Since I’m a realist, I’ll be plugging the hell out of my own manuscript and editing books into the wee hours of the night while working the day job that pays. It’s hard to rein in inspiration when it hits, so I’ll also be fighting off the overwhelming urge to write a YA story that came to me one day recently and has since festooned itself around my soul with images, plot lines and character colors. One book at a time, Katrina, or so I lie to myself…

“You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can’t sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live.” ― Ray Bradbury