So, one thing I’ve learned as a writer… I can’t just read for enjoyment anymore. Being a writer has permanently wrecked reading for me.
And that sucks.
Let me give you a few examples of what I mean.
I’ve recently purchased a new series on Kindle that I don’t really know much about – ok, I don’t know anything about – but it got good reviews and the cover art looked impressive (yeah, yeah… judging a book by the cover…)
So, I began reading. The story is quite engaging, if somewhat cliche and “done” already, but I always enjoy a good ‘what if the whole world got wiped out by a virus’ book, so I continued on.
Then I began noticing things. Now, I can’t call these grammatical errors, nor spelling mistakes. Rather, these are issues with flow and tense that only another writer would possibly pick on, but – and here’s the annoying part – they totally jolt me out of the story!
“Mia grinned, grabbing the bird without incident, and deposited it through the sun roof.” (from “The Breakers Series: Books 1-3” by Edward W. Robertson)
What’s my issue with this? It’s the tense. She did something – she grinned. Then she’s doing something – grabbing the bird without incident. Then she did something again – deposited it through the sun roof.
If that sentence were mine it would read: “Mia Grinned. She grabbed the bird without incident and deposited it through the sun roof.”
But it’s not just tense issues, the length of some of the sentences in this book just overwhelm me.
“Once a week, they broke into a house and pulled dry goods from pantries and shelves, snagging batteries and books and clothing; they drove to movie theaters and collected cases of M&Ms and Coke and unpopped popcorn, some of which they planted to see what would happen.” (from “The Breakers Series: Books 1-3” by Edward W. Robertson)
I nearly became lightheaded trying to read all that! Why semi colon the middle? Why not full stop and new sentence?
What’s my point? Me who has absolutely zero published novels to my name pulling apart Mr Robertson’s works? I guess it’s twofold. One, do other writers find reading is ‘wrecked’ for them, and if so, can you look beyond technical writing still and get sucked into the story?
And two, this proves the necessity of a fastidious editor!