Something to Consider

Posted By on July 31, 2013

The power of the judicious edit.

While I was at RWA’s national meeting, I spoke with someone who was pretty upset by another author who had said she couldn’t read a book without editing. I wasn’t so put off with that because I’ve worked as an editor and writer since about two years after I graduated from college, and I cannot help myself. The measure of a great book for me (Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, I love you!) is forgetting to edit. Sadly, we all need editing, and I doubt I’ve had one published novel without an error.

We’re all human. We all make mistakes. An editor once saved me from a humiliating error when a body part began to act of its own volition. Speaking of “its,” every time I write a book, I have to do a search and replace for it’s and its. It’s my error of choice. 🙂  (In fact, I had to correct the usage in that sentence.)

However… I’m reading a lot of cozy mystery right now because I’m trying to write in the genre. The best research is always reading in the genre you’re writing.

The book I’m currently reading is set in the south. I don’t mind that the author clearly doesn’t live here. I don’t mind that she’s used all the southern cliches she could pack into the pages. I do mind that characters supposedly born in the south do not understand the usage of “Y’all.”

It’s plural, y’all! No one born here would ever address one man or one woman as “y’all.” I have no idea why this is a hot button for me (in books and movies), and I don’t mean to be ugly (southernism, meaning to behave poorly), but if an author is going to use the word “y’all” fourteen times on a page, she needs to know how it’s used. (I inserted that “it’s” on purpose, and I got it wrong first time around. I truly get making unintended mistakes!)

I was so excited to read this series, and it may be really good–but I’m so distracted. I bought the first two books. I still want to believe, and I will keep going…

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