Thursday, April 30, 2009

Turning Readers Off

“Remember, if your story is sloppy and rushed, your readers will soon notice it! So take your time to perfect everything before you submit your manuscript, from getting your character profiles right to creating the BEST ending you possible can.” -- Alan To in Top Ten Tips for Writing Good Horror Fiction.
Stories submitted to Apollo's Lyre for review need to be as error free as possible for me to accept them. I'm willing to correct minor problems, but I'm not about to go through paragraph by paragraph and point out every error. Unfortunately, it's common practice to receive stories that show a lack of basic proofreading.

But I have another pet peeve with sloppy editing. I participate in a number of writing groups, and I detest reviewing stories that are obviously first drafts. I wonder if I'm spending more time pointing out the problems than the author spent writing the original. Stories don't have to be the finished product, but at least the author could respect my time by making certain basic problems are corrected. Misused commas (too many, or too few), incorrect words (two for too), and mismatched verb tenses are the most common errors. There are a number of other things to look for. I remember one story in which the main character had two different names. No, the author's name wasn't Dostoyevsky.


Loren Christie said...

Thank you Jim.

Koala Bear Writer said...

The things you learn about writing while being an editor are really worthwhile! :) Thanks for sharing this. LOL about Dostoyevsky--I was quite happy my copy had a list of character's names in the back for the reader to refer to.