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In Defense of Editing


Dabeagle

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Readers are a wide-ranging bunch and enjoy tons of different content. Some will read certain genres far more than any other - romance, sci-fi or only want happy ending stories. As a writer I can't possibly fit into all categories, nor should I. Rather than write something I wouldn't enjoy as a reader, I tend to write the strange things that flit across my consciousness and just hope someone else enjoys them too - that's the easy way. Then there's the complicated way, but to get to that I think I have to understand myself as a reader as well.

As a reader I enjoy several genres, several styles and there are also a few I don't care for. Like I hate the way a story - or a TV episode - opens with a situation, then backtracks 48 or 72 hours or whatever to tell you how we reached this situation. I don't exactly know why, but I don't enjoy that form of storytelling. But I can get through stories that aren't totally my cup of tea as long as the  grammar and spelling are good. I find misspellings and poor grammar (to, two, too for instance) to be distractions as I read. With the shift to so many articles being put online, it's frustrating to me to see news articles with misspellings that make me wonder 'if they cant spell it, can they report on it?'

That leads me back to being a writer. I have heard many readers state that they aren't bothered by these things when they read - which is, of course, fine. I'm not them and I don't decide what's important for someone else in their reading material or their life (My kids tell me all the time 🙂 ) But here's the thing. As a writer I need to cast my net as widely as I can. If I write something sci-fi or a romance or a comedy, some people are going to give it a chance. Some folks won't care if they find a typo or horrendous grammar because I posted the unedited version rather than the clean copy (yeah, I've done that) and not just that, some people definitely will care (starting with the person doing the edit). So if I make the effort and then make grammar and spelling changes as per an editor, I not only have a chance with the readers who only care for the story versus the nuts and bolts of its construction.

But by having and listening to my editor, I also may net those readers who do care about those things - never mind my own preferences. So as writers we open ourselves to new audiences if we take that extra time to get our story out there and resist the urge to post as soon as the ideas flow from our fingers. I know, it's tough. Even though I've been writing for so many years, I still want to readers feedback and affirmation just as any new writer. But giving yourself the gift of reaching a wider audience can't be bad thing.

And as an aside...this post wasn't edited, so all mistakes are very much mine.

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Writing is an art and language our medium... I truly don't understand writers who don't care about spelling and grammar.  I'm not talking about errant typos... we all make mistakes.  But the general lack of care about language and spelling baffles me.  I'm with you on news reports.  I cringe every time I see a mistake in mainstream news articles or FB posts by news stations.  When the error is pointed out, there's invariably the response of "everyone makes mistakes".  Which is true, but the media should be held to a higher standard... and actually care!  Anyway... as a reader of amateur online fiction, I can be more forgiving, especially for newer authors.  On the same token, I'd like to see those authors work to improve their craft and show growth.  

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