Monday, August 22, 2016

Reading, Writing, but No 'rithmatic





I can’t decide which I enjoy more, reading or writing. It’s pretty much a tossup. So this week I come to you as a reader.

Over the past week I’ve read books whose authors I wasn’t familiar with, and I’m glad I did.

Someone recommended Victoria Thompson, and I tried her first book. I found that she’s a wonderful writer and I’ve already ordered her second book. She does a great job of portraying an earlier era, and setting scenes to remember.

Anyone who knows me knows that at this stage in my life my preference is something with a little humor. There’s enough real drama in everyday life already.  Some of my favorite authors write nothing but drama, and that’s okay. I’m already hooked on their writing.

While there was no humor in Thompson’s book, the drama grabbed me. So sue me. I read something with drama instead of humor.

Then I read a guest blog by Cindy Sample, and had to try her series. I think my daughter will try one of her books, too, because Sample kept me laughing. I’ll be ordering her second book, too.

Carolyn J. Rose has tickled my funny bone, too. Her Substitute Teacher books are quite entertaining. (Love the dog in the stories. His name is Cheese Puff, and the name fits.)

The characters in all of these books are memorable and leave me wanting more.

How some authors can be constantly humorous surprises me. There was an author, who shall remain nameless, whose humor really brightened my day. Unfortunately, he or she became quite repetitious after several books and began changing his or her style. He or she had her characters doing things, or they had things done to them, that just burst my bubble. (I handled not revealing the author’s name pretty well, I thought.)

There’s one itty bitty thing that really annoys me when I’m reading, and it has nothing to do with the authors named above. I’m annoyed with myself. Before I started writing, I seemed to miss typos and errors, for the most part. Since I began writing, I catch things that should be corrected. It takes a little of the fun out of reading.

I’ve also learned that it’s not always the author’s fault. You can submit a manuscript and somehow things change a bit in the transmission. Yes, I’ve found typos that seem to pop up on their own. Go figure. I even went back to check the original manuscript in one case and son-of-a-gun, the original didn’t have the error.

So give authors a break when you read their material. Please. No, this has nothing to do with me, but with books in general. I hate being so gnit gpicky, or is it knit kpicky, or is it nit picky(?) when reading.  Okay, I’m chuckling to myself. It’s nitpicky or nit-picky. Take your pick.

Being nit picky doesn’t stop me from reviewing books; however, I won’t review every book I read for two reasons. The first is that if I don’t like a book, I won’t review it. I have a large To Be Read stack, so if I haven’t done a review, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book. It means I probably haven’t gotten to it. And, if I see that an author has plenty of reviews already (in the hundreds) I probably won’t review the book. It’s already been done many times. Well, maybe I’ll add it to my reviews on Goodreads.

So that’s it for this week. I’m a reader first. Hmm. Maybe I’m a writer first. Maybe there’s a tie. Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe I should try changing my reading habits.

I’m sighing loudly now, and ready to get back to reading.

Are you picky as a reader? As a writer?

Until next week, read a good book, review it, and enjoy your next book, too.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to Amazon.com

Just a suggestion, but you might want to take a look at the book trailer for Old Murders Never Die at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTBOpzq-wDM . The music is haunting and so is the story. While it’s not a new book, it’s still worth a look.

25 comments:

  1. Writers are notoriously bad proofreaders of our own work because we know what it's supposed to say and miss typos that are glaring to other writers (and readers). I have a friend who points them out to me after she reads my books but doesn't want to read the books in manuscript form.

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    1. Jean, You have more patience than I do. I know you proofread and make the manuscripts as error free as possible. I guess all you can do is thank the friend and go about your business. Thank you so much for commenting!

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  2. I haven't read books by the new authors you mention, but I've read all of Victoria Thompson's books and can't remember seeing any errors. Her books just keep getting better and better. I'm at a point where if I see an error, I mentally make the correction.

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    1. I don't understand it, Dorothy, but it seems like there are more errors in an ebook than in a paper copy. Maybe it's my imagination. I try to pass over those errors that leap out at me and ignore them. Thank you so much for commenting!

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  3. Great topic! I'm in the process of finishing the "final" edits on my fifth Malone mystery. I "thought" it was error free when I set it aside for a couple of weeks. But, when I read it from front to back this weekend, I discovered so many "little" things that were wrong and one "big" thing.
    I think it's interesting that, when I read a book by another author, the errors and omissions jump from the page but, as Jean mentioned, it doesn't work quite that way with my own books. :)

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    1. You and Jean are both right, Pat. We know what our books are "supposed" to say, and that's the way we read it. Thank goodness for critiquers and editors. I'm glad you were able to catch all the "little things" now. Thank you so much for commenting!

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  4. I, too, have lately been reading books by authors I haven't read before in genres I normally don't read and I am truly enjoying them. Like you, I do see errors and typos, but it makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who makes them. Although I notice them, I understand and just skip over them. Great blog!

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    1. I love the way you think, Jackie! It does help to know we're not the only ones who have this issue. : ) Thank you so much for commenting!

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  5. Excellent blog piece. I like to read a bit of humor, too, that's why I write it into my own stories.

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    1. I'm with you, Carol. Write what you enjoy reading. Thank you so much for commenting!

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  6. To answer your question, yes I'm picky as a writer and as a reader. For a while I was trying out lots of new-to-me authors but I was also getting burned, not necessarily by bad editing, but by twists and turns in stories that had no relation to what I thought the story was about. Now, I'm trying to catch up on old favorites who I consider to be reliable. Great topic, Marja!

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    1. It happens, Pat. Sometimes the twists make a story confusing, and sometimes a mistake can kick me right out of the story. I just started the book of one of my old favorites, too. Thank you so much for commenting!

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  7. Hi Marja. I am so glad you discovered my series and hope that Laurel's adventures keep you in stitches. I completely relate to all of these comments on editing. I had an interesting experience three years ago. After a sty was lanced and became infected, I lost half the vision in my right eye. It occurred a month before my third book was to be released. I ended up proofing using only one eye and there were no errors. Maybe my brain couldn't figure out how to autocorrect! Now it's my turn to check out your books. Thanks again.

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    1. LOL Even your comment made me chuckle, Cindy. Maybe we should all try closing one eye when we proofread. And thanks for trying one of my books! Good to hear from you, and thank you for commenting!

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  8. I straddle the fence between picky writer and picky reader. I think I'm harder on myself than most other people are, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    And I love humor in stories, too. I have a hard time writing it, though.

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    1. Ack! I meant to add you, too. Love your books, and the drama is fine with me. I think most of us are hard on ourselves. You're in good company. Thank you so much for commenting!

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  9. I really don't understand this typo thing. I recently got a bad review on one of my novels because the reader said the Kindle version was riddled with typos and that I needed to get a proofreader. When I downloaded the Kindle version to see just how many typos there actually were, I didn't notice any typos. Does that mean her Kindle version was different from mine? Or am I just reading over my typos? I'm still confused about that.

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    1. I have no idea, Evelyn. There's something about it that I just don't get. I've read ebooks on the Kindle by Big Name authors and still found typos that shouldn't be there. I don't know how to get the readers to understand this phenomena either. Thank you so much for commenting, and I hope someone figures it out!

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  10. What I like most about your posts, Marja, is that they're always thoughtful, and consequently make me think(even when I don't want to! smile)There are so many writers I want to read, and time seems to be disappearing as I get older. Another one of the inexplicable things. So, I'm often in a quandary between reading a new writer, or a classic, which I also love doing. Great post!

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    1. Thank you, Madeline! So many books, so little time, and it does seem like the time flies by faster lately. Thank you so much for commenting! I hope you have a new book coming out soon. : )

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  11. Hi Marja. I enjoyed your post, too, and am also curious about the tendency some of us have to be typo-blind. It might be an unsolvable mystery. By the way, how does an author go about having her books added to your to-read list for possible review? My stories always include as much humor as I can muster while allowing my detective to solve a serious crime. Thanks for your insightful comments on writing in general. P.S. Now I'm worried that these comments of mine will be loaded with typos.

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    1. LOL No typos, Deborah. Email me at hello@marjamcgraw.com and we'll "talk". Thank you so much for commenting!

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  12. Just call me "picky" either reading or writing. Spent years where precision of writing was an absolute must. Understand errors are not always on author so try to over look if not egregious. Laughter is necessary and your combination with crime is a delight. Several other authors always get my attention and I note they have already commented on this blog. Thanks for a thought provoking subject.

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  13. Janice J. RicharsdonAugust 29, 2016 at 6:10 AM

    Well said. I agree that we write what we know and to some degree we write what we are. 5'2 Jennifer Spencer (Casket Cache) is the same height, we can't reach the top shelf. She's stubborn too. The characters live in my home (except the bad guy - he's not allowed in). Great article.

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