I am an avid reader. The mountains of books populating my house and the fact that I have two e-readers can attest to this. I love books. I love the written word. I love to get lost in worlds of another’s creation and be swept up in incredible stories of romance and/or swashbuckling heroics. That is one reason that I’m also a writer – I love creating those stories, too. So I know a little bit about how to do it. When I read, one priority for me is to be so swept up in the story that I don’t notice the writing itself. It should be smooth, fluid and just zing across the page in such a manner that it is virtually unnoticeable. On thing that can stop me in my tracks – and really irritate me – is when a story is populated by mistakes that should have been picked up in the editing process. One or two I can shrug off as an oversight – we’r not perfect, after all – but when they are too numerous to count and populate the whole book, then I become really irritated and I start to wonder, Whatever happened to editing?
Let me explain. As previously stated, I am an avid reader, so I consume books like some people consume chocolates (okay, so I consume a lot of chocolates, too!). I read a number of different genres from contemporary to paranormal, YA to adult, touching on a lot of different themes and subjects. But one thing I’ve noticed lately is the tendency toward poor grammar and spelling, things that should have been picked up in the editing process. One 0f the biggest offenders is the use of “your” when it should have been “you’re” or vice versa, “there” instead of “their” and things along that line. Another thing I’ve noticed is the lack of punctuation. It’s like some people excised it completely from their manuscripts. It’s okay to use commas, sometimes they really are needed.
I’ve been writing for years (my entire life, actually), I’ve been through the editing process, so I know how mind numbing it can be to read that manuscript for the hundredth time. After round 99, it’s hard to look at it as if it was still fresh and you never saw it before. But, believe me, there’s a reason why it has to be done – namely, to catch those mistakes. Now I don’t mean to be harsh – I know the work that goes into the whole process – but things like this tend to give the writing an amateur feel. And instead of enjoying the story, I’m focusing on the writing itself and wondering how it ever got by the editors – and I don’t want to do that. I want to be so lost in the story that I don’t notice anything else, especially the mechanics of the writing. I want to read as a reader, not a writer.
Now I know some might argue that it’s part of the writing style, “voice” or whatever (especially since a lot of these mistakes just happened to be in stories told from the first person point of view), but I don’t think that’s a valid argument. Sure, it would be fine if it were part of the dialogue or internal monologue, but when it comes to the exposition and some of the examples I’ve named above, I don’t think it fits. These types of errors should have been caught by someone,which really makes me fear for our youth who are still learning about the mechanics of the English language. Will they read these books and follow their example? Are they not being taught the proper use of language? I know it’s tricky, I know there are a lot of words in our language that are too similar to other words and can be easily misconstrued. But these are the things that should be caught by someone before the book is published. Now I’m not saying that I’m perfect and that I never make a mistake, but I try my hardest to catch all of these little anomalies before I approve the final galley because I feel that I owe it to my readers to offer them the best book I possibly can. And to me, even the simplest of mistakes, if committed innumerable times throughout the manuscript, gives the impression of sloppy writing. And no one wants to be accused of that. Does sloppy writing cause me to stop reading the book? Not if it’s a good story. Only a bland story or extremely poor writing can make me do that. But if the story premise is good and I engage with the characters, I will read to the end. I just won’t enjoy it as much.
So what is the cause of sloppy writing? I blame the internet. I think with the proliferation of “internet speak” we have lost the ability to write properly. And with the need for instant gratification, also proliferated by the internet, I think there is more of a rush to get books out into the marketplace and less emphasis on editing them beforehand. What do you think?
For more than a hundred and fifty years, the gray wolf has failed to roam the hills of Massachusetts, leading to the belief that they are extinct. But with a spattering of sightings across the Berkshires, the legend of the gray wolf comes to fruition. The product of that legend, Micah Sloane will go to great lengths to protect his kind from the threat of outsiders, who seek to exploit the legend for their own interests. One thing he didn’t count on, however, was finding his soul mate in the company of such men.
From the first time she predicted a stranger’s imminent death when she was little more than a child, Shiloh Beck knew she was different. Wishing to cultivate her gift, her parents made the fateful decision to enroll her in a private school for paranormally gifted children. Unbeknownst to them, the school was just a front for a research facility simply called the Institute, whose secret board members weaned gifted children from their families to exploit their gifts. Shiloh has spent the better part of her life trying to escape the Institute and reunite with the family she was told had abandoned her.
From their first meeting, Micah and Shiloh share a connection that goes beyond the normal to bond them in a way that love alone cannot. But before they can build a life together, they must deal with the fall-out when the legend of the wolves collides with the men behind the Institute.
Shiloh nearly leapt off the sill as his hand touched her knee. It took every ounce of willpower she possessed to remain seated and appear undaunted by the gesture. “I am…much better now…thank you,” she said, becoming more unnerved by the presence of his hand by the minute. Oh, this was not good, not good at all. The longer it remained there, the stronger her impulse to bolt became. Oh, no…
What was it about this man that rattled her so and with so little effort on his part? Sharing the same air with him was enough to send her pulses to the moon—and her mind somewhere else, something new for her. Being this attracted to a man was beyond her realm of experience. She didn’t know what to do with it—or about it. Should she do anything? Should she pretend indifference? And why wasn’t he so deeply affected? It wasn’t fair.
Still confused, she gave him a weak smile, intent on backing up her previous claim with the gesture. She feared it failed miserably. When Micah returned her smile and lifted his hand from her knee, she felt precisely one second of relief before he shook her world again by caressing her face in parting. She stumbled
back against the frame of the window, her lips parting on a startled breath as a lightning bolt shot through her at his touch. Something flickered in his eyes at her reaction—pain, perhaps—and he retracted his hand, balling it into a fist as he turned away from her, preparing to depart.
In an instant, she realized her mistake. Along with it came the knowledge she couldn’t let him go away angry or upset. After everything he and his family had done for her, she owed him that much. She grabbed him by the shirtfront to stop him, and a shock of awareness shot from her hand directly into his heart, just beneath it. She could see it in the gaze he leveled on her then, could hear it in his breath trapped within his lungs, feel it in the missed beat of his heart. But then, all sense abandoned her, and her heart skipped a beat as he held her hand firmly to his chest with one of his own and lifted the other to her head, anchoring it against the window frame. Slowly, his eyes never straying from hers, he leaned across the space separating them. His lips brushed hers, like a whisper, before he withdrew, tilted his head to the side, and advanced again. This time the kiss was fuller, penetrating her every defense, both physical and emotional, but still not long enough for her. He retreated once again after a fraction of time and hovered before her, scarcely an inch away. Watching her. Waiting.
Her heart beating a frantic tempo now, Shiloh abandoned all of her reservations and her good sense to swoop in for a more vigorous kiss. So vigorous, in fact, she knocked him off his perch through the open window. Only quick reflexes honed to perfection at the Institute prevented her from tumbling after him.
Bracing herself against the sill, she leaned out the window as far as she was able and watched his descent from the slanted roof to the ground below. She lost sight of him the moment he slid beyond the reach of the light from her window. But then she heard him land with a thud —and a howl—on the ground in front of the back porch when he failed to catch himself on the roof edge. She clasped a hand over her mouth to silence her reaction and waited. When he didn’t rouse right away, panic shot through her and she leaned out another few inches.
“Micah? Are you okay?”
“Fine,” he answered after a few moments, appearing beyond the overhang of the roof as if to prove it to her. “Nothing hurt but what’s left of my pride.”
Relief coursed through her at his statement, and she allowed herself the laugh she’d literally held back before. Her mirth was cut short, however, by his next words.
“Hey, Shiloh! We’ve got to stop falling for each other like this.”
His laughter followed her as she ducked back into the room. She could still hear it even after she closed the window, though not as well. Oh, Lord. She rested against the cool pane of glass and touched her still-tingling lips with shaky fingers. Was she? Falling for him? Was that what this crazy-mad feeling inside of her was?
The question plagued her long into the night.