Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All Night Long

Yesterday, I tweeted that I was giving up writing in order to become a professional tap dancer. Even with my lack of tap dancing skills— hell, even with my lack of dancing skills— I figured the odds for success were about the same.

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about publishing a best seller here. I'm just talking about finishing this damn WIP. As my excellent friend, Carl, pointed out (quoting Billy Crystal) "writers write" and everyone knows that I have been doing a scant amount of that lately. So tonight I am attempting to pull an all-nighter as I strive to achieve the possibly impossible: trying to get my WIP back on track.

I blame the secondary lead male character guy (and definitely not my inability to form intelligent sounding phrases). He's been such a damn jackwagon for so damn long that if elevator shafts existed in my finely crafted fantasy world, I'd seriously be writing a scene where he falls to his death down one. Or I would drop him into the Bog of Eternal Stench (Name That Reference!) or the Swamp of Sadness (Name That Reference Too!) or feed him to some shrieking eels or R.O.U.S.s (Name That Reference Three!).

Except that I really do kind of need him and I can't move forward with the rest of the story until I solve the problem that is this character. It's been very demoralizing. Hence the proposed career change. I don't actually know how to tap dance. Do you think that will pose many problems?

Let tell you something. When my muse comes back from her ill timed extended vacation, she had damn well better bring me back something more than a lousy tee shirt.

But enough ranting and raving.

No, wait. I'm not done.

I finished reading my first eBook tonight. Woo Hoo, right? And by the way (cue unrelated side rant), I've taken a significant amount of crap from people (not necessarily readers of this blog) for this whole eReader business. Why does my purchase of a Kindle seem to signify to so many people that I'm some kind of traitor to the paperback? That I'll never again pick up a traditional book? That I can't pick up a traditional book even? I'm broadening my reading horizons, people. That's all. I love to read and I refuse to limit myself in that regard. You want to know what I did after I bought my Kindle? Well, first I checked the dictionary it came with to see if it was cool enough to have listed the word 'jackwagon' (it wasn't) and then I went to Barnes & Noble and spent fifty dollars on traditional books. Then yesterday, I came home from a day of shopping with five more books. And don't tell The Man this but I just ordered four more from Amazon. On top of the two I ordered last week. And then—

Crap. I've been on quite the book buying spree lately. Yeah, let's definitely not tell The Man. Let's just let it be...a surprise.

(End unrelated side rant.)

So where was I? Oh, right. I finished reading an eBook (and I really do like reading on a Kindle. So there, haters). It was a self published book whose title I am not going to reveal here because of the ranting that's to follow. I honestly don't know how I read the whole thing. Anyone else would've quit. Anyone else would've thrown up their hands and screamed, "Life's too short!" Because life is too short. I'm sure somewhere in there was a maybe halfway decent story but I couldn't find it. And do you want to know why?

Bad grammar, to start. Just really, really bad. There were so many errors on every single page. And I do mean every single page. I honestly had to keep reminding myself that I couldn't write on the Kindle screen because I wanted to take a red pen to the damn thing. The author used 'Your' where 'you're' should've been used. It's instead of its. Other misspellings (the author spelled 'throne' as 'thrown'). Typos. Run ons. Fragments and not the stylistic kind I kind of like. The stupid kind that make. reading. very. jarring. and. annoying. and. difficult. There was also a complete overuse of exclamation points (seriously, if you were wondering about the exclamation point shortage in literature, it's because this author used them all. And I do mean all) followed by a complete lack of commas and clear dialogue tags. Hell, forget clear dialogue tags. I would've been happy with any dialogue tags. There were some passages I had to read three or four times before I could figure out who the hell was saying what.

And that's just for starters. I could go on for days (and have— just ask The Man and The Heather and everyone else with whom I've conversed in the last few days) about all the problems with this book but it's not going to change the underlying message: EDIT YOUR DAMN MANUSCRIPTS. No book available for public viewing/purchase should have that many fundamental problems with it. This is the kind of book that makes so many people think it's impossible to find a self published book of worth. It just pisses me off. You know, in case that wasn't already abundantly clear.

All right. Now I'm done ranting. At least for tonight. So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off for a pleasure cruise. At night. In eel infested waters. Just me and my secondary male lead. Wonder who will survive the night...place your bets below!


  1. I am not judging anyone else for their e-book reading. Just don't want to do it myself, especially when my eyeballs feel THIS tired already... :P

    I used to do tap dancing...gave it up when the Saturday morning classes get even EARLIER...8:30 am on Saturday?? I think not!

  2. I'm in dog training classes by 8:30 on Saturday mornings. Maybe I could get them to do a tap dancing session.

  3. Reference 1: Labyrinth
    Reference 2: Never Ending Story
    Reference 3: Princess Bride (I think)

    I don't have a kindle but I have heard some ebook horror stories. I recently just started reading a book where so many of the sentences in the first chapter where paragraph length. Luckily regular sentences were formed from chapter two on, or I would have put it down and not looked back. It makes me wonder who that author's editor was and WHY did he/she not advise breaking the sentences up. Regardless of proper punctuation I seriously despise reading an entire chapter like that.

    Good luck with your all night session!! Be patient, you will find a way to kill off that character!!

  4. Yeah. I've read some bad ones, for sure.
    ALSO - LOVE starry night. My daughter and I fingerpainted "starry night" onto a wall in her bedroom when she was little. It was fun. Did it look just like Van Gogh's? Not exactly, but everyone caught the reference :D

  5. Oh I feel your pain as I am locked in mortal combat with my characters. I would love nothing more than to send them deep into Labyrinth's Bog of Eternal Stench or the Neverending Story's Swamp of Sadness to join Artax. Then again, The Princess Bride had it right with the shrieking eels and the fire swamp. LOL

    I read e-books all the time and my stories are mainly published in e format. I understand your frustration over the lack of apparent editing. Many authors are rushing to self-pub through Amazon's Create Space and Smashwords and while it's an awesome opportunity, it also does not allow for a professional editor. Writers need to really go over their works with a fine-tooth comb and then some if they are going to go this route.

  6. That's a lot of mistakes.
    Don't apologize for your Kindle. I really dig my iPad and read books on it all time. And since I can adjust the font size, I have less eyestrain than if I was reading a paperback.
    Jackwagon. I'm going to use that word today!

  7. @Brea- No matter how much I may want to (and it's a lot, trust me), I can't kill off that character. He's important to the story later on. If I kill him off, I'll feel better for maybe a minute but then- well, if it's a whole minute maybe all the later trouble will be worth it...

    @Alex- Yeah. Jackwagon is one of my favorite names to call people. And I have a Geico commerical to thank for it.

    @everyone- The three references are, indeed, Labyrinth, The Never Ending Story and The Princess Bride. Inconceivable!

  8. labyrinth, neverending story and Princess Bride!
    ugh and i hear you about the WIP. mine's been moving forward, but not at my usual pace

  9. I just read a self published book that started out awesome, a real page tuner! Then the author copped out on the plot she was following and I had to slog through the last 30 pages. I have yet to read a self pub book w/ tons of errors but I'm sure I'll stumble across a few.

    I just don't get how people can hit publish so quickly. Before I even knew what I did, I knew if I wanted to go the self published route, I'd have to find an editor and cover artist and hunt down every error. I knew it'd take work! How can others not know that???? It makes no sense to me!

    Also, I have a character I really don't like either but I think for different reasons than yours and I do get to kill this character later. muahahaha!

  10. My last ten purchases have been ebooks instead of paper. Paper is bleh...I love me my eReader.

  11. @Patricia- Very nice evil laugh. I am envious that you get to kill your character. I used to like my guy but he's been on this road to redemption and seems to be taking the damn scenic route back. It's making me crazy. Crazier.

    @Michael- The problem I've been having with my eReader is paying those prices for a eBook when I could go out to the store and buy a paper copy for practically the same amount. I know it's going to be an adjustment and I'll (probably) get there eventually it's just that I'm not there yet. My significant other and my already overloaded bookshelves wish I was.

  12. I must admit my bias against self-published books. I've only actually read one or two because I wouldn't be able to stand it if there were the errors you're talking about here. But the more I read about it, the more I might be looking to consider maybe going the self-publish route myself. So perhaps I should read one or two.

    Also, I wonder why you didn't give the author and title of the book you read. You don't want any of us to make the same mistake you did and read this awful book, do you?

  13. Oh man, that sounds like a terrible read. Especially the commentary on fragments and explanation points - ouch.

    I'm betting on you to come out the winner in tonight's battle with secondary male. Take all that frustration in the self-published book rant and use it to mold him into the man you need him to be!

  14. First, I have The Beatles in my head singing "Paperback write-a-h!" from your blog name.

    Second, that is sadly the downside of self-published books. Some get out there without any editorial process. There is something very positive to still be said about publishing houses.

  15. I've seen this too with self-pubs. I want to love them and be for them but for the love of Pete, edit your books to perfection. Bah!

  16. Most publish before they're ripe, I think. And many don't bother to hire an editor. Submitting will tell you when you go from cold to warm to warmer to hot.

  17. Aww... i'm too late to answer but I knew your references as well, since I'm a product of those 80s fantasy films. Loved them.
    And yay for the Kindle! I love mine. But you know what, I don't read everything on it. Some books I choose to read as paperbacks just because of the genre. Others I like on Kindle. But Kindle is also fab for reading your own stories. I send my finished mss to mine and get a feel for how it reads as a book instead of a ms. And I do this when I beta read as well.