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February 01, 2017

How Writing Has Changed My Reading Experience



OPTIONAL QUESTION: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I can spot errors so much easier now, but I think that's more because I'm a freelance editor than because I'm a writer. When I read, I often find myself thinking, A comma should go there. That word got left in by accident. There's a typo. As a writer, though, I know these are common mistakes. They happen. Even after having an editor. No one is perfect. No story is perfect. So I never use this against the writer.

In my last IWSG post, I admitted to a lot of passive voice being in my early published works, as well as comma splices. I recently stole a glimpse at Seismic Crimes, something I don't like to do after a book is published, and noticed a couple of missing commas. There's nothing I can do about that now. Sure, it makes me cringe, but I remind myself that most readers won't notice. That helps a little. What helps more? Denial. HAHAHA



OPTIONAL MARCH 1ST QUESTION: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Reminder: The questions are optional and meant as a prompt if you struggle with what to post. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to. :)



GIVEAWAY: Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win a signed, paperback copy of Seismic Crimes and Hurricane Crimes playing cards.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

92 comments:

Julie Flanders said...

Those playing cards are cool! I've heard how those are becoming more popular now - great idea.
And denial is always a good thing LOL. :D

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Most readers don't notice. Lucky for us.

nashvillecats2 said...

Great post and a warm welcome to new members and admin members. Have a lovely month.....just think next month it will be spring.

Yvonne.

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

I love the new member shout-out. Great idea so that we can all hop on over to their blogs to say hi.

Sarah Foster said...

LOL yes denial will work. I do tend to notice typos more but unless it makes a sentence difficult to read I tend not to care about things like commas or other tiny mistakes.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

When I got to go back and re-edit my first book, I found more than comma issues. Funny how we improve over time.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Well done Chrys on taking on the admin role here at IWSG ... and yes the new member shout out and two new helpers. I hate typos, bad spelling etc etc ... still don't always notice my own! Cheers Hilary

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Too many typos in a published work - book, article, etc - drive me crazy. Just the other day, my husband showed me an online article in a big newspaper/magazine where the word should have been "customer" and was instead "costumer." In. The. Headline.

Pat Hatt said...

When I went back and edited some of my others I see sooooo much more than I did then. Never do I notice all of my own, and even with editors they are never all gotten it seems. If we all can miss it, odds are readers may to lol

Jennifer Hawes said...

Congrats to the two new admins! I find myself saying things to the author, "You should've left that out. Or it would be more suspenseful if you did this or didn't say that." It's hard to read a really good book these days since I've become a writer:)

Bish Denham said...

I find myself deleting "thats" while I read, or rearranging words in sentences to make the sentence read better. But you're right, we can never catch all the mistakes, or make our writing totally perfect. Sigh....

J.L. Campbell said...

We know a book can never be perfect, so at some point we do have to move on. No matter how hard I try I find myself editing as I go along.

Chrys Fey said...

I couldn't resist getting those cards, especially since my characters play poker. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Very lucky.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Yvonne! I hope you have a lovely month, too.

Chrys Fey said...

Yes, it is a great idea. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Commas are so silly, so I try not to care so much if I notice comma errors.

Chrys Fey said...

We certainly do improve.

Chrys Fey said...

I've been an admin for a year now, Hilary. :) I do the newsletter.

Chrys Fey said...

Too many errors means someone was lazy. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Editors can definitely miss stuff. It;s hard to spot everything.

Chrys Fey said...

There have been a couple of times when I've said, "Why did you include that?"

Chrys Fey said...

If I rearranged sentences, I'd never be able to read a book. lol

Chrys Fey said...

Nope. A book can't be perfect. Not even best-sellers are perfect.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Luckily for us writers most readers don't notice passive voice or comma splices. But as writers we have to be careful of these errors.

Chrys Fey said...

We do. *sigh* We do.

A Beer for the Shower said...

Denial works for me! We are our own harshest critics, though, and your average reader isn't likely to notice these kinds of things.

I just think it's funny that now that I'm proficient at writing, I can even notice the occasional flaw in books from world class publishers. I guess no one really is perfect.

Meka James said...

Great post. I'm not good with picking up the grammar mistakes, but I will see plot holes. I'm overly critical of my own writing and want to make sure things all line up, so when reading I will look for things that don't quite make sense in the story.

Chrys Fey said...

Denial is grand. Isn't it? :P

I notice flaws in international best-sellers, too. No writer is immune.

Chrys Fey said...

That's good, Meka. No one likes a plot hole.

M.J. Fifield said...

"What helps more? Denial." <--- Love it.

When I find a typo or plot hole or something in a NYT bestselling novel (or anything big like that), it always kind of throws me for a moment, but reiterates the very true fact that none of us are immune. :)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

De-Nile is a river in Egypt. So old and corny yet it makes me crack a smile. Hopefully it made you smile too Chrys.

Chrys Fey said...

Honestly, it throws me, too. But as you said, it makes me feel better. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It did make me smile. Thanks, Sheena!

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I tend not to notice minor mistakes and typos when I'm reading a story. If it's good, I'll be breezing through it so quickly I definitely won't notice it. I have no idea if other people are so forgiving with my work. :-/

IWSG February

Chrys Fey said...

I hope they are as forgiving. We all should be. :)

Laura Clipson said...

I always notice grammatical errors in books, I've always been good at spelling and grammar so it pulls me right out of the story if I notice a mistake.

Chrys Fey said...

That's a pain, for sure. If a book has a lot, it does ruin the reading experience for me.

Carrie-Anne said...

It always bugs me when I see more than a handful of scattered typos or errors that made it into print, or a really obvious error. For example, one of the nun books I've read had a line where a nun "wrapped" on the door," and another line about a ship setting "sale." I also read a book from a local woman, about how her sons became Orthodox in college, and it was so full of grammatical errors and awkward writing (e.g., "shrugged my shoulders" instead of just "shrugged"), it took away from the story. I doubt she used any proofreader or line editor, since she clearly wasn't an experienced enough writer to handle most of that herself.

Chrys Fey said...

Those typos would bother me, because it's not a simple mistake but a misunderstanding of the words.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I'm loving those playing cards, too! I think I'm a more critical reader since I've been writing professionally. And at times, I do it to a fault. I drive myself nuts.

Chrys Fey said...

It can drive you nutty, especially when you just want to enjoy it.

Liesel K. Hill said...

It's probably in all of our best interests that most readers don't notice. Lol. I notice mistakes much more too. Curse of the writer who does their own editing. Great post! 😉

Chrys Fey said...

It certainly is. And you're right...it is a curse. haha

Loni Townsend said...

I think part of the joy of audiobooks is that my eye doesn't get stuck on the page! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I've never tried audiobooks, but I'm tempted to now.

Crystal Collier said...

Typos don't bother me. It's when the problem is deeper--character arc, plot structure, pacing. Those are the issues I cringe over or end up giving up on a book.

diedre Knight said...

I'm convinced that to catch my own errors is impossible! Reading my work upside down or backwards makes little difference as well, so I happily rely on masterful folks like you, Chrys ;-)
I can't help catching errors, but depending on the content, I'm pretty forgiving. I think (when not off the cuff) character development, plot and pacing should be fine-tuned long before going to print.
Love those playing cards!

Chrys Fey said...

Those are good reasons to give up on a book.

Chrys Fey said...

Character development, plot, and pacing should definitely be found and fixed beforehand. That's what beta readers are for and why they are so crucial.

Did you enter? Maybe you'll win them. :)

Nicola said...

I don't get too bogged down with errors. I just enjoy the reading experience. Tsunami Crimes is fab, Chrys!! Thanks for all your hard work with the IWSG team. Have a great month.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you so much, Nicola! I'm glad you liked Tsunami Crimes. Thanks for reviewing it. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

There's so much happening in IWSG right now. POV mistakes bother me more than anything when I'm reading. And the use of adverbs by successful authors. How do they get away with that.

Chrys Fey said...

So much. It's a very good thing that we have 2 new admins now. :)

Nicki Elson said...

You're so right that nothing is perfect - I see typos even in bestselling books publishing by the big-time.

Welcome new IWSG members!

Chrys Fey said...

So do I, and it makes me feel so much better. ;)

Adrienne Reiter said...

I've spotted typos and missing comas in books by some of my favorite authors. That's after they've had literally a thousand eyes on it (through Advance Reader Copies)! Thanks for stopping by my blog, Chrys! You rock.
Best,
Adrienne

Roland Clarke said...

I see errors that break my reading experience. However, I try to switch off my writer self when I read. As for going back to old work, I'm re-editing my debut novel for a possible re-release and it is rife with grammatical errors, like passive voice. Not being hot on grammar I use Grammarly, although it has to be ignored some of the time. Real problem is that I'm taking out a sub plot that most readers questioned - they were right.

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome! I like your blog. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Passive voice is something I have to tackle in my older works, too.

Anonymous said...

I know thanks to my editors I'll sometimes notice if a comma is missing in a book. Too bad I still doubt every single comma in my own writing.

Jemi Fraser said...

Denial can be a lovely place to be :)
I'm noticing more when I'm reading as well - but I'm still tripping over those pesky commas!

Chemist Ken said...

Not many readers notice commas, or the lack of them, as long as the sentences make sense. So let your cringes float away.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I wish I could catch my own mistakes as much as I seem to others. :)
Thanks for the lovely shout-out! I'm happy to be a part of this great team!

Heather

Roland D. Yeomans said...

If the story is riveting, the reader will forgive a multitude of slight sins. What a neat marketing idea you had with those playing cards!

Birgit said...

I think one does become more aware of all the errors if one is a writer..it just makes sense to me. The key would be, can you forgive the errors if the book is good, regardless of the grammar or does it distract you? It can distract me

Liz A. said...

If no one's complaining, they didn't notice.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I imagine I'll be reminding myself a lot that most people won't notice the errors unless they're grievous. But I will!!

dolorah said...

I try not to notice minor errors too. I know how often I make those same mistakes, can't catch them all.

Awesome how the IWSG is expanding.

Chrys Fey said...

Good. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Remind yourself as much as needed. I do the same.

Chrys Fey said...

It's harder to catch mistakes in our own writing.

Chrys Fey said...

Commas are little stinkers. Don't stress too much over them.

Chrys Fey said...

Denial can be wonderfully needed. :)

Chrys Fey said...

My cringes are floating away. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I still get embarrassed when others catch silly mistakes in my writing. :P

You're welcome!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks. I stole the idea from L. Diane. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

I'm pretty forgiving, but occasionally it's distracting enough that I lower rating slightly. I just don't sat so in the review.

emaginette said...

We are humans first and errors are bound to happen. Thank goodness someone said it. Chrys you rock. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Sandra Cox said...

'What helps more...denial.' Ha! Love it!

Chrys Fey said...

It's important to remember that. :)

Chrys Fey said...

*wink*

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm like you, I'll forgive the little errors because my nooks have them too. (I also don't re-read them after publication!)

Somehow I keep missing my newsletter. I checked to make sure I was signed up. Maybe I better check my spam filter.

Cherie Colyer said...

I won't put down a book for a few typos.. As you've noted, they happen. And I'm sure most readers don't notice a missing comma here and there. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Chrys Fey said...

I've heard that a couple haven't received their newsletter. It's because certain email providers might block it from even going into the spam folder. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about that, but...on the IWSG Site there's a link in the side bar, if you click it, you'll be able to review past issues.

Chrys Fey said...

That's the way it should be. :)

Lisa Thomson said...

Typos happen. Oversights etc. I get annoyed when there are an abundance of them. One or two, a missing comma? Nah. That doesn't bother me. You have me curious about 'bi-line'. I always thought it was by-line :) Nice opportunity to submit to the newsletter. Nice to be back at your blog, Chrys!

Jenny Baranick said...

I get so much anxiety if I have to read over something I've written that's already been published. I know I'll find a million things I wish I could fix.

Chrys Fey said...

See? Typos happen. :P

Chrys Fey said...

That's why I avoid it at all costs. :P

Yanting Gueh said...

Commas are nice and I wish one of my favourite authors in particular (Joyce Carol Oates) could use more. If they're there to help us read longer sentences better, great. If they're not, I somehow can add my own invisible commas to get through those sentences lol.

Chrys Fey said...

I add a bunch of invisible commas, too. :)