Saturday, September 11, 2010

Surprising mistakes by a well-known author...

I grabbed one of my favorite books off my shelf today, by one of my favorite authors. Not to read, but to look at conversational patterns in her writing. I'll keep this author's name under wraps, just because I'm not the type to try to dirty people. What I found surprised me.

I flipped the book open to an area with a lot of dialogue. I was looking at how she used speech tags and how she broke up the rhythm of speech. But I got distracted.

The 'nodded's started leaping out at me.

In a page and a half of dialogue she used 7 'I nodded's, 2 'he nodded' s and 1 'Micah nodded' at the beginnings of her sentences. Most of them were short sentences by themselves. That seems like a lot to me.

When I was a reader rather than a writer, I didn't really notice it. I've read that particular book no less than 10 times over all. But now that I'm delving into craft it popped out at me big time. And it begs the question- Was this deliberate? Or was this the unconscious use of a phrase she liked? Was it something the editors glossed over?

Or was it something done deliberately to get her word count, get her book done, be finished with it, gimme the money because I'm ****** ********, author extraordinaire? And I can do things however I want to because you'll still pay money to read my books.

I hate to think it was the last.

If you had glaring defects in a book you put out, that had made it through the proofing, editing, publishing process, would you want to know about mistakes that made it through?

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