Wait! Before you hit publish.

If you read my previous post right after I published it, you probably saw my many mistakes. I did what most newbie writers do and hit the publish button too soon. I wrote it late at night, and the next morning when I reread it, I realized I wrote that I wanted to be a” fictional writer,” haha! Although I may be a fictional writer, I meant to say, fiction writer. That is why it is essential to take a break before you hit the publish button and reread it at a later time to catch all the little mistakes. Even though I run Grammarly on all my devices, I still have typos, especially if I am typing on my phone.

Since it is easier than ever to publish on many platforms, too many individuals are eager to see their work published before taking the time to perfect their writing. I know I did my first time, and my book is in its third revision. It’s a delicate balance. As an author, I know what it is like to put many hours into writing something and have it rejected. I know what it is like to have a passionate story to tell and no one to listen. I want to help authors achieve their dream of publishing good, quality work of which they can be proud. Unfortunately, many writers don’t like to hear criticism or what they need to change in their writing. The stories that they write are a part of them and to critique their writing is like wounding their soul. But in my opinion, if someone wants to publish a book, shouldn’t it reflect in the best way possible?

I compare it to a woman putting on makeup before she goes out in public. The whole point of wearing makeup is so that people will see her looking her best. Many women wouldn’t be caught dead out in public without makeup or whatever else it is that she does to make herself presentable. So why would she want to publish a book that hasn’t” got its makeup on?” By makeup, I’m referring to editing, proofreading, formatting, and any other improvements that can be made to the book to get it to it’s best quality possible. Unfortunately, getting the right person to help with edits and proofreading can be costly. And even sometimes individuals who claim they can do those things for you, aren’t as good as they say they are and it still isn’t edited to perfection.
Don’t misunderstand me. I know that no book can be edited to perfection, but I use perfection here to mean good quality. Some may argue that quality is subjective, just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many artworks have been bought at astronomical prices and look like a three-year-old could have done it. But if the right person says it is worth a million bucks, people around the world will be clamoring to buy that piece of art for a million bucks. The same can be said about a book. I have read many books that I thought were fantastic, and then I read other people’s review of the book, and they hated it. An author is not going to be able to please everyone.

My pet peeve is misspellings and grossly incorrect grammar. Once or twice, I can excuse an overlooked word or two, but consistent poor spelling and incorrect use of the English language is not acceptable. I also realize that some individuals who are non-native English speakers want to write books in the English language. That is admirable, but be sure to have a native English speaker review the work and help make corrections. The non-native English speaker probably wants to improve his/her English, so why allow them to continue to miswrite it. I would hold the same standards for any language. I can only speak English, and I have the utmost respect for those that can speak more than one language, but it doesn’t serve the author well to write incorrectly and be laughed at by the native language speakers. You wouldn’t want to practice any other sport or art incorrectly and have it ingrained into your muscle memory incorrectly. It takes twice as much work to correct a poorly developed habit as it does to practice it correctly in the first place. So, I implore whoever is reading this. Take the time to review your writing carefully and thoughtfully. Reread it a dozen times, have someone else read over it, run it through Grammarly or ProWriting Aid, do whatever it takes. Let it sit for a time and come back to it. Hone your craft and be proud of your writing. If you want to earn respect and, maybe a few dollars in the process, you have to work at perfecting your writing at all costs. Otherwise, we will find our society like it was portrayed in the movie Cloud Atlas, reduced to speaking gibberish and no one making any sense.

More on writing a story in a later post.

If you’d like to check out my first book in The Spirit Traveler Series, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AppleBooks, or Kobo.

To be or not to be…a writer

I came to writing fiction at a later age. Granted, I’ve been writing academically for over 30 years, but to write for a living, and fiction writing at that, that is a whole different ballgame. Like lots of people around the world, I wondered if I had what it took to be a fiction writer. I think my first inspiration to write came from Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series. I read her bio and learned that she was first a botany professor and, like me, wondered if she could write a novel.

I enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s novels. They are long, but I have enjoyed every story she has written. I began reading her books in the 1990s long before the series came out on Starz. I prayed to God that they would stay true to the series, because, like all devoted fans of her stories, it would kill me to my soul if they made a mockery of Claire and Jaime.

But not everyone is a big fan of DG like I am. I have talked with other historical fiction authors who don’t like the female protagonist, Claire. They say she comes across too demanding or pretentious. There will always be those who dislike stories just as much as those who love them. There are lovers and haters alike for the Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, or Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. Sometimes what is fan fiction is not loved in literary circles.

Personally, I’m a pulp fiction-aholic. I love all those series named above and more. I’m a big lover of all things Marvel. Since 2008, it has been a tradition to take my kids to the latest Marvel movie the first weekend of its release. I love seeing their reactions to the movie as much as I like watching it.

So, as a writer, I’m first an avid reader and fan of TV and movies. I believe that you must study great works of others before you can even begin to craft your own. Love it or hate it; it is a passion, born of blood, sweat, and tears. It’s not easy to be a fiction writer, but if you are determined enough and willing to hone the craft, it can be rewarding. Whether or not I ever become a best-selling author, there is satisfaction in writing stories born from dreams.