I have been a reader for a long time and one of my pet peeves when reading used to be the editing, or should I say lack of editing. After dinosaurs ruled the world but before the internet and eBooks came to being, there used to be only paper copies of books and magazines and newspapers. I know some of you out there are shaking your heads in disbelief but its true. Reading a book that was not edited properly was a fairly uncommon thing. Spelling, punctuation, nouns, verbs and other assorted grammatical rules mattered. Not to everyone (teens back then didn’t like English classes either) but to most people who read a lot of material, it mattered. The first book I remember reading that I was totally disgusted with the complete lack of editing was the first edition of
The editing was so bad, that it made it really difficult to read the story, so difficult for me that I couldn’t finish reading the book. (Well that and I really thought the book went on for several hundred pages longer than there was a story). And yes, I have tried to read the book a couple more times, different editions, but I still couldn’t finish it. But I think part of the problem for me is that I just can’t get past how badly unedited (is that even a word) the first edition is.
Happily, due in part to the internet and eBooks, I have been able to get past bad editing to see the story and what message the author is trying to convey. There are still books out there that I don’t care for but its not because of the editing or lack there of, its the whole story.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people put down indie authors and publishers citing poor editing. But I read a lot, both indie and mainstream and I’ve noticed that even the big publishing companies aren’t doing much better.
I’ve heard, though I’m the first to say that I have not personally read the Hunger Games, that the books in the series need some serious editing and of course the flip side to that is I’ve also heard that the bad grammar and punctuation is deliberate. (When I write heard, I mean read…hmmm…maybe I need to do some editing) So my question is why is editing a book so important?
For me I find that there are times that due to bad or improper editing it really effects the flow of the story. I have at times gotten so caught up in the grammatical and punctuation mistakes that I stop actually reading the story because I just can’t concentrate anymore and I just lose interest and I really think that’s sad. And I do have to admit that there are times when I am writing a review that the editing of a story directly affects how I write my review. I have gotten a little less hard core about the editing but that’s only because so many written works are so badly edited. I think part of why I try not to let it bother me so much is having my blog. After I post an article or a review, a day later I’ll be looking over something and realize that the sentence structure is wrong or that I’ve used the wrong word (I always get messed up with effect and affect).
I guess what I’ve been trying to say is that I think editing is important for the flow of a story not necessarily the story itself. I can overlook a lot of editing mistakes if the story is good and the characters are well fleshed out and the plot makes sense but if some of those are not quite there, then editing can really become an issue. I hope that authors and publishers (indie and the big ones) will start to look a little more carefully at the editing of a book and not just rush it out to publication.