Saturday, August 25, 2007

In Memory of... A Poorly Written Book

By Keith Fisher

We buried our family pet this week. It’s never a happy occasion, but we’ve had Cocoa for 17 years. She was my Valentine’s gift to my wife and the only pet my daughter has known. She was a good cat.

Cocoa was showing signs of her age and it was a blessing to see her pass, but it’s never easy. We buried her under the big pine tree in the back yard.

Also, this week, I’ve been working on a blog. It’s a fantastic idea that will touch and delight you. It will bring you to tears and leave you with a sense that all’s write with the world. (Get it? all’s WRITE).

Okay, I admit I’ve got nothing. I really did have a blog but I discovered I’ve already written it. The experts say one of the signs of old age is repeating your self. Your self.

I started reading another book by one of my favorite prolific authors and discovered a pile of obvious mistakes. I was mystified. "How could that author do that?" I asked. It’s almost like the publisher printed the first draft.

Just to give you an idea: in almost every chapter there are info dumps and exposition that should be dialog. The author lost track of details. In one place, the police are coming over to have a very important conversation but they don’t come, the conversation never happens.

Recently I had a very good friend look at a manuscript and make suggestions. It came back full of red ink so to speak. I look at it and wonder how I could’ve ever considered sending that to a publisher, it wasn’t ready. If I were a best selling author with name recognition, the publisher may have printed it and I would’ve had to live with it.

I’m going to continue reading the book but I have to put it down frequently in order to recover.

I guess I went ahead and wrote this blog even though I didn’t think I would. See what happens when you get me talking (writing)? I tend to run off at the mouth.

Anyway, have a good week and get out the polishing compound. Start rubbing on that manuscript of yours. You never know; a publisher may lose his/her mind and set it in print. Then you’ll have to live with it forever or until you buy every copy back.


Josi said...

Isn't it amazing how the more you learn about writing, the more you notice in other people's works? So sorry about Cocoa...and the lousy book...and the lousy book :-)

C. L. Beck said...

So sorry about Cocoa. It's hard to let a pet go.

And as for you noticing the errors in the books you read, it only shows how much you're progressing as a writer!

Good blog.

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Sorry about Cocoa, Keith. It's hard to lose a family pet.

As to polishing manuscripts. Great advice.