The Importance of Good Editing

I read a book a night or two ago that I think you might have liked.

I’m not going to tell you the name of it, but I will tell you the genre: it was ‘hard’ science fiction.

There was much to like about it! The science behind the book was solid. The story had great twists and turns, great conflict, great heroes, even a terrible villain and a desperate race against time!

What it didn’t have, unfortunately, was good editing!

Oh, such a shame!

I found myself repeatedly jerked out of the story by awkward, scrambled grammar, run-on sentences, mislaid words, and misappropriated spellings: so many technical writing issues, that, if only the author and the publisher had invested in a professional editor, would have been dealt with well before the book was published! There were whole paragraphs and sections I found myself skipping because I couldn’t make any sense of them!

There are books–a very few books, fortunately– (we’ve all heard of them) that are roaring success in spite of, and possibly because of, their horrible writing! This book doesn’t fall into that category. Alas. The kind of terrible writing that might be excusable or even become an asset in, for instance, a certain kind of romance novel, isn’t going to be excused by readers of science fiction, let alone hard sci-fi.

And yet, the story had the makings of a great sci-fi classic.

If it had only been properly edited…

I could almost see it being turned into a movie. Unfortunately, I doubt this story will ever truly receive its due acclaim, unless and until an editor is paid to thoroughly edit it!

While the writing was just about strong enough to carry the story in spite of the technical difficulties, I wondered if most readers would be willing to continue reading past the snarled meanings to reach the triumphant ending?

Science fiction is held to a very high technical standard of writing!

I hope the authors realize their book needs work. I hope the publisher receives enough solid feedback to realize that an investment must be made, and insists on having the book edited properly.

I’m considering ways to get in touch with them, myself. I don’t really want to give the book a bad review that it will never shake, particularly if the publisher can be persuaded to put a little effort into improving it. (which is why I won’t tell you the name of it here)

For my friends who are writers, and for myself, I hope we take this lesson to heart!

There’s no substitute for solid editing! A few mistakes are one thing: no book is ever going to achieve absolute perfection of text! But we need to take care to keep the mistakes to the smallest minimum we can achieve.

To that end, if you’d like my help, feel free to contact me!

I charge a reasonable fee for my editing services, and I’m a fast reader and a thorough editor. Please don’t let your book go before it’s ready like the one I’ve used here as an example!

Talk to me before publishing your book.


The Importance of Good Editing — 2 Comments

  1. She’s an excellent editor, I recommend her. And if you’re looking for someone who can get your book ready to go to the publisher, I’m betting she can get the job done.

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