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Bestselling authors and editing.

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knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
Bestselling authors and editing.  Reply with quote  

In the past few months I've read two novels by bestselling authors where i think the editor didn't even bother.

One was a Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (which should have been edited for content)

The other is the Stephanie Plum 11. I'm 100 pages in and I've already found two glaring typos. "role" should have been roll (unless you can have a role of duct tape, can you?) and "site" for sight.

I'm just wondering ... Once you are a best selling author with a proven track record (in other words, books will sell regardless) does your editor stop paying attention to detail?

I don't get it. It's so sloppy.
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Post Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:23 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
deb



Joined: 08 Mar 2004
Posts: 6325
Location: Montana
 Reply with quote  

Not a complaint, but I've seen a number of those types of errors in Chris' books. I have been known to take a highlighter to the pages of some other novelists' works to simply keep track of them.

It's annoying and it does damage to the author's reputation. That's what I think, anyway. They need someone like me whose attention to those types of details is second nature.....or something.
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Post Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:27 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Naked and Famous



Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Posts: 1044
Location: Redmond, WA
 Reply with quote  

I've stopped reading a few authors because of it. In one case the author should've been able to keep track of her characters name, I thought, which she changed and changed back with out informing the audience. It just kind of slipped out there. In one sentence his was named one thing and the next sentence he had a completely different name.

Post Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:35 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

Yikes! That second faux pas sounds far worse than typos.

Actually I think if you picked up virtually any book you could, if you were looking for them, find a typo or two. I think its extremely difficult to zap them all, especially when its your job and you edit text all the time, even in the age of advanced editing software. My spell check has occassionally placed typos INTO the work.

Not that you guys are totally wrong, though. I agree that it seems like some editors get a little lazy with their best-selling authors. The content blip N&F mentioned is pretty major... and Anne Rice could definitely use a better editor.... Nobody needs an 8 page description of wallpaper...

Post Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:54 pm   View user's profile Send private message
knikkki



Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 3145
Location: Davis, CA
 Reply with quote  

Yeah, I agree that the content stuff is WAY more critical than typos, but I don't know these typos are so glaring.

But in the Gabaldon book, one of the characters has two children. In an portion of the book, Gabaldon dropped an entire child out of the story. It was not supposed to be that way, she just left the kid out. I can't believe nobody noticed that.
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Post Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:10 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Regina



Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
 Reply with quote  

Yeah- baby dropping is pretty bad Wink

Post Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:51 pm   View user's profile Send private message
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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My short answer is, time.

Well, not so much the content. That's just because it's too much work and nobody cares. People will buy books that are complete shit, so why should anyone edit them. Stephen King's books during his coke jags were complete shite, and could have been cut by 2/3s (can you say Insomnia?) but no one stepped up and said, "Steve, this first part is oh, about 300 pages too long." In the case of other writers, they start thinking they don't need an editor, so they pass it down that no one shall touch their pristine prose. When I was still reading Anne Rice, she went through a phase where she was obviously decorating a big house, and the books were rife with superfluous decorative detail. All of this should have been fixed with the work of an editor, but no one is going to roll up in the grill of the Queen of the Damned and depurpleize her prose.

There's some of my own books that desperately needed another pass, but I was on a schedule, so they have some weak spots that will never be fixed. Who knows, maybe a more strident editor could have made my work better, but I know that I'm always about three sentences from taking my toys and going home, and I'm less of a prima donna than a lot of writers I've heard about. That's content.


The typos are almost always about time.

Did I share this? Got a note from my editor a week or so ago about my new book. It went like this: "You'll have it in NY on the 1st. I'll have the edited manuscript back to you on the 3rd. You have it back to me with all the corrections and rewrites on the 8th."

I'm not finished with the first draft. The first draft! Yet in twelve days I'll deliver a finished book, and three days later it will come back to me with all editing, and five days later I'll have "fixed" it.

And Janet Evanovich does books much more quickly than I do.

Should all the errors be fixed? Absolutely. But two typos, especially for homonyms, well, I wouldn't being going divo on anyone's ass if that happened on my books and I was churning them out every nine months the way Evanovich does.

Post Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:25 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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I'm my own editor at this point, but I still blame "they" whenever someone points out a typo. Smile Actually, I'm pretty happy with my stuff, typos and all. I have yet to find, or have pointed out, any content errors. That's the part that was important to me. I'm reading The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi right now and in the first chapter there are two typos they missed. Soldier is spelled "solider" twice. But I know what they meant and the story is kicking ass, so it doesn't bother me.
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Post Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:34 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

gracie wrote:
couldn't you put it in your contract that you have X amount of time for editing and corrections?



I could deliver a month or two early, then I'd have plenty of time. I don't see that happening, but it could.

Post Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:04 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Taco Bob



Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 1201
Location: Palm Falls, Florida
 Reply with quote  

It does seem like almost all books these days have typos. I see them all the time.
My books are done on the barest of budgets and rely on the kindness of others to edit pretty much for free. This doesn't make seeing a typo in one of my books any less painful though.

Post Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:06 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Naked and Famous



Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Posts: 1044
Location: Redmond, WA
 Reply with quote  

Regina wrote:
.

Not that you guys are totally wrong, though. I agree that it seems like some editors get a little lazy with their best-selling authors. The content blip N&F mentioned is pretty major... and Anne Rice could definitely use a better editor.... Nobody needs an 8 page description of wallpaper...


This was the person I was talking about.

Post Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:08 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Lisa M



Joined: 08 Jul 2004
Posts: 1844
Location: Rhode Island
 Reply with quote  

An 8-page description of wallpaper? I am going to barf. Excuse me, please.

Post Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:15 pm   View user's profile Send private message
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