There’s been lots of debate recently about what’s more important – the tale or the telling. How does a cracking good story riddled with errors compare with perfect prose telling a dull tale?
With free ebook samples there’s no need to put up with either, but as a reader I simply won’t continue with a novel full of mistakes or grammar that sets my teeth on edge, not because I’m a pedant or an intellectual snob, but because it breaks the spell for me. I want to lose myself in that story, not reach for my red pen!
Terrific characters are the driving force of every memorable story, but they’ll struggle to make their voices heard if they’re drowned out by sloppy writing. We all make mistakes; I listened to the great PD James once, laughing with her audience about the time she wrote a scene about a motorbike reversing and was inundated with correspondence from readers keen to correct her (mind you, I wouldn’t have had a clue about that one either, but please don’t write to tell me what motorbikes can and can’t do!).
So even though I’ve watched my typescript turn from grey to red with numerous corrections throughout the editing process this week, I’m grateful to my editor for picking up on all the silly mistakes that often get missed at the end of a long haul – because you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Painting is ‘Black, White, Grey’ by Tom Tomos