A few days ago I received a friend request on Facebook. I didn’t know the guy, but I saw he was connected via another FB friend, who I didn’t particularly know either, but she was a writer, so I clicked Confirm.
Damn, that was really convoluted, wasn’t it?!
Anyway, I had noticed that this guy was always posting some new link to his book or books. And then this post came up on my feed from him today:
Ok I will write this and most likely get flamed for it but who really cares. Right? I was contacted by a “ free-lance” Editor today whom had some “ Tips “ for me as such as spelling and grammar, all in an attempt of course for me to soloist his services. While I do welcome open criticism of some ones work, even my own. To sit there and to attempt to degrade some ones writing style or even a couple poor points of gramma usage for a quick buck in my opinion is pathetic. Some of the grates had major issues with spelling, grammar and even continuity issues in there novels. J.R.R Tolkien had over 500 grammatical errors in his bestselling novel “The Hobbit” and guess what, no one cared. It was a great story. The point is this , the use of words to relay a story as long as it legible and has gone through some sort of proof reading to make sure the story can be enjoyed is all an author really needs. Too much has great authors ( not that I consider myself a great author) been torn apart by grammar Nazi’s whom have never published or had the gut to self-publish a book. I have more respect for a struggling Author whom sells only 200 copies of there novel and does not give in to those that will sterilize there books and keep their work pure , then I do for those that will pour bleach over a who would be creative master peace to make sales. The art of writing is as much about the author as it is about the reader. So if you have an issue with small grammatical mistakes that are not picked up by Microsoft word or if you have an issue with a single word being spell wrong or misused by an author , perhaps then you should not be reading a book because your missing what the story being woven for you is about. I stand by my works, regardless of what others think. I am writing a novel series, because I want to , I have a story to tell. IF that story never becomes a best seller, so be it. If that story never is read by more than 100 people , so be it. Because I would rather have a form of honourable dignity that what I have create is my own, is what I intended and not the reworked sterilized , plastic and commercial junk that I pick up in a lot of the large books stores.
Well if that wasn’t one unholy mess of grammatical and spelling errors.
What followed were a couple of catty responses that immediately escalated into sniping, insults, and name calling from the person who posted above and his wife who jumped to his defense.
At the risk of being spat, punched and kicked, I added in my own two cents (while quietly unfriending said person). I’m posted it below, if you want to read it.
I see this as nothing but ego. He feels put out (or put upon) by those evil, evil editors that just want his precious money. The reality is, someone tried to help him. That is one hell of an editing job that person was trying to take on, and I commend them for being willing to even offer their services!
Each time I think of the person i want to be, I think of ego. I don’t want to be that person. You know the one I’m talking about – the one who thinks they are so damned perfect, that they have finally gotten the acclimation they so richly deserved. The one who doesn’t have the time to answer someone’s questions or take a moment to help.
That isn’t to say I don’t guard my time fiercely. But in all things, there should be balance.
Every time I see ego rear its mighty head, I do my best to slap it down. It stands in the way of me improving myself, my writing, and my life.
Here is what I wrote:
Mistakes happen, sure, but rampant mistakes pull the reader out of what would be an otherwise excellent story. Why do that? I want people to enjoy my stories, not bounce out of my carefully constructed world just because I didn’t bother to do the boring second half of my job as an author. Editing is necessary. Otherwise, you step outside your house wearing this snazzy new shirt over stained pants. It is no different from creating a professional cover, something I learned from experience! You can write your heart out, but in the information age, with Grammarly and Hemingway apps at our fingertips, one merely has to spend a little extra time to achieve results that will create an even better reading experience. I’m a big enough person to thank someone who finds a typo or incorrect phrasing and promptly fix it. My writing should be its best.
I understand your point Christine , but i would also like to point out as paul said , most people don’t have above a basic college education , if that education does not prepare one to apparently write a book ( If anything can I seen very boring books from english professors lol ) then how can it prepare them to exactly point out grammatical mistakes in a language is so broad such as english . Then there is the issue of what about the creative side of it? Again drawing on the grates , using the term tatters is not correct, yet the hobbits with out that term would not be the hobbits we know and love. There is also several other major issues , people don’t think , speak or even read in a grammatical sense. The point is if you don’t have spell check in front of you , then you don’t know if something is grammatically wrong or rather most people don’t. Thens ones who do , dont really read as there busy trolling the net for the next victim. The point is , writing should be fun and yes there is work involved , i know i proof read a lot of my work and throw half of it out as im not happy with it . But that being said , the term still holds as was said in the 1800s your biggest critic is you , the writer. So why give power to a bunch of editors and even publishers whom never in the most part ever released a book , no less wrote one? That’s not saying all editors and publishers have or have not , thats saying if they were so damn great , they would not be correcting our spelling and grammar they would have wrote a master peace by now.
I’ve had great experiences with editors, so I simply cannot relate to what you are saying. The editors I know, and work with, do not tear you down or crush creative spirit, not at all! My eldest daughter is my content editor and she is amazing. She will point out areas I need to put in more detail, where I have lapsed into telling instead of showing. She reminds me to use less adverbs (and believe me, my readers thank her for that). She points out inconsistencies and long-winded sentences. My daughter is also well on the way to writing and publishing her second book. My line editor/proofreader catches a lot of the crap that my daughter doesn’t or that slips under Grammarly or Hemingway’s radar. I pay her in farm fresh eggs and my charming company because she’s my friend and a self-published author herself. Don’t sell readers short. I know plenty of readers who don’t have that “basic college education” that can spell, and generally pick up on major faux pas’ in writing. In summary, we will not agree on this. But editors can (and often are) writers in their own right. And readers, college education or no, are perhaps a little more perceptive than you are willing to acknowledge. That said, keep doing what you are doing. It will all shake out to one side or the other in the end.