Tuesday, July 03, 2012

You're doing it wrong.

As I work on my book I've been reading quite a few of the 99c e-books available on kindle from self-published authors. Many of them seem to do their own formatting and I'm looking for things that I want to make sure I don't do, as well as things I will want to do.

The piece I'm working on now I'll almost certainly release as e-book first and print on demand book later. Not the way it's normally done I know. It's how it's been in my head since inception though so I'm doing it that way this time.

Things I see in e-books that make me crazy are the easy things, the things that give self-publishers a bad name: spelling errors, bad grammar, and typos. Using homonyms instead of the words you mean. "your" instead of "you're" and the variations of "their/their/they're" seem to be persistent hobgoblins to some writers.These things shouldn't make it that far. It takes me right out of the story when they do. They're one of the dangers of not having an editor of some sort. Another thing I see, and this one caused me to stop reading the book, are accidental anachronisms. In a fantasy non-earth setting where magic works, if the protagonist repeatedly exclaims, "Jesus he's fast!" I'm going to not finish reading the book. I need to not do that.

One formatting issues I've seen only once but the story is good and I keep reading it in spite of it annoying me is how the author formats what characters are thinking.

"The eagle is flying far too high to see us I'm sure." Bill said as he stared up at the spot circling in the distant sky. He and Timmy lay under a fallen piece of plywood in what had been their home before the events of the night before. "At least I hope he can't see us. If he tells dad what happened he'll kill us!"

That last bit, the character's thoughts are put in quotes and italics. I've never seen it done that way before and I hope, I sincerely hope, I never see it done that way again. I certainly won't do it!

So, I continue to read amateur writer's stuff and look for things I want to avoid. Some of this is so I can continue reading. I like reading. No, I love reading and to be able to also say I'm doing research makes it sound less like I'm stalling doing the writing part.

Truth be told I'm at a weird point in the story where I don't think I'm really editing it any more. I think I need to do a re-write on big chunks of it. No. That's not true. I know I need to write big chunks that are entirely new to finish the story. I didn't end it. I just stopped writing. I can't call it a re-write and I can't call it an edit. I need to finish it.
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