Friday, August 2, 2013

The Importance of Doing Your Homework and Correcting Errors

Hi again.

I just noticed when I posted yesterday, the one thought I had on writing was incomplete in my entry. Allow me to offer my deepest of apologies. I tend to think faster than I type. Sadly, editing has never been one of my strong points. Since this blog was created to talk about writing, I promise to be more careful while writing this and all future entries.

Catching that error got me to thinking about how important editing your work really is. For instance, I know what I was saying when I wrote the final paragraph of yesterday's entry. However, unless any of my readers know exactly what I was thinking when I composed it, there is no way you could have understood the point I was trying to get across.

Every how-to book gave out varying points of information, but they all stressed the importance of closely editing your manuscript before you consider mailing or emailing it to a publisher.
There is always a chance minor spelling and grammatical errors can slide by unnoticed. For example, I once read a book where someone spelled the name Todd with two S's. Most people probably never noticed this silly mistake because the sentence itself was complete and you knew exactly what he and the other character involved were doing. The same will not hold true for errors like the one I made in my blog yesterday. Publishers will not take you seriously if you submit a manuscript containing a mistake in every other paragraph.

Even a decently put together manuscript may as well line a birdcage unless you know what you're doing. Depending on your age, stories of your youth may have painted the unrealistic picture that the world is all sunshine and roses. Every manuscript contains a conflict of some type, but in books from the "cave" days, the subject matters of plot and conflicts alike were very different. For example Young Adult novels containing plots involving after school jobs are likely to talk about sexual harassment from someone working with the MC.

Not every publisher is looking for that kind of plot, though. It is a smart idea to research publishers often. Someone that wanted a children's book last year may be more interested in publishing YA novels this year.

I close this entry with one final thought. For years, both of my parents smoked. However, they continuously told me not to do so. As I grew older, I called Mom on the carpet and told her I felt telling me not to smoke as she was lighting up was hypocritical. She responded by telling me I was right. When I asked what the point was, she told me to do what she told me to rather than follow her example.

The same holds true with all the advice I just offered you.  There are many times I give myself excuses, valid or not, to avoid putting my nose to the grindstone. I am sure this applies to many writers. The thing to remember is only you can make yourself do those things.

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