I know some writers are also good editors. They catch every little comma error or word left out. They see all the echoed words and shake their fingers at me when I misspell so common a word as “quiet.” What in the world was I thinking? My fingers dance across the keyboard without a thought. They are responding to the musings in my head as fast as they can. But everyone knows that we think faster than we can type. Don’t they? So, why not be more forgiving for us writers who are lousy editors?
Okay, if you’re Stephen King or Mary Higgins Clark you are lucky enough to have tons of line editors. Those little nerds who read your entire book backwards to catch mistakes. Me, I could read my book backwards as easily as I could back my car down a curvy mountain. I’d go off the cliff for sure! No, I don’t have the resources for such fine tuning. So that means I’ve got to do the best I can myself.
Here are some of the problems:
If the word you meant was quite and not quiet, you’ll read quite. Yes, you will! Unless you read the book backwards. It’s very hard not to read what you think you wrote. At least, it is for me.
We read our books much faster. So, that means, readers will catch something that was just said that I, the writer, won’t notice. I have a day or two between those passages. So sorry. But, I didn’t catch that.
Yes, there are some definite rules, but everyone seems to tout theirs as the most conventional. Do you put a comma after a long introductory prepositional phrase? Do you put commas before the and in a series? And, btw, who cares? My rule is if there’s a misunderstanding, put a comma. Help the reader out. If the reader has to stop and re-read something, then you probably need a comma or to re-write it.
I love the forrest too much. My mind wanders when I’ve read something for the umpteenth time. And, believe me, I’ve read my works at least a million times. So…
If you found typos in this post, then, good for you! You’re better than I am.
What about you? Are you good at editing or is it the bane of your existence?