I believe in the old adage that if I can’t say something nice, then keep my mouth shut. Especially with other writers. But, (the BIG but!) I ordered a book with the intention of interviewing the author in the months to come, because he has lived such a fascinating life.
A few days later I sat down to what I anticipated to be an intriguing story. If you have been with me awhile, dear reader, you know my fascination with the transport, export of human beings, especially children. The story could have been a good one. I don’t know if the author is inexperienced but the story was so rushed, with little detail about what made the characters click and why they should win in the end. I didn’t care about the separated, young lovers. I didn’t care that the heroine was in shackles over a length of red ribbon. The author did not take the time to flesh out these characters. I can recognize this flaw as I am a ‘rusher’ too….but after I have ‘slammed down‘ the story outline, I go back and, slowly, create characters that matter to the reader. After the first draft of your story?….well, that’s when the REAL WORK begins.
Format your book correctly. I never realized before how distracting poor or NO formatting can be for the reader’s eye. Subconsciously our brain and eye expect to see a well formatted book like the dozens we’ve read before. This book had ‘indents’ in the middle of dialogue, poor or no punctuation, and hundreds of typos’. Incorrectly capitalized words, and
no page numbers. Really? It appeared that NO ONE had proofed this book before publishing.
In no way am I saying that my books are perfect. We are human and we miss stuff as writers. But you, as a writer have got to do the work! Do I like reading and then re-reading my own work. Hell, NO! But it’s part of the job for a self published author. Your eye will get stale so have someone else proof your writing too. I am blessed with a friend in Texas, who is extremely busy, extremely smart and a writer too. He always takes the time to proof my work and act as my editor. Wow! He’s caught some of my worse doozies!!
This book really came alive in the last 50 pages when the author wrote about a sea battle and this is what I saw: (1786) A French frigate dashed out from the coast and attacks Her Majesty’s transport. The sloop, Sparrowhawk, light as thistledown, skipping across the waves, swooped in and drove the French away. This was the strongest part of the writing. Hence, what I have said time and again, ‘write about what you know!‘
Tip: When I moved from play writing to my first novel, I was self taught when it came to formats. I took a couple of books from my own library and studied the formatting of best sellers by traditional publishers. To get a very professional look, I employed the
‘justify key‘ for margins. (compare this sample to the left with the page above.) I counted out the indent spaces, made certain that my paragraphs were not too long, and above all I PROOFED the document and then proofed it again.
DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with best-selling AUTHORS! April’s author is Jodi Thomas.
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