Sunday, January 27, 2013

Learning from Writing with Craft Issues

I've been reading mostly Indie authors for about four years. As an Indie myself, I wanted to support my peers. The number of Indie authors out there first excited me. But then the quality of the craft started to sink in.

I started out writing reviews. Almost every work I read had redeeming qualities. But to review with integrity, I couldn't overlook the negatives. And quickly realized it appeared as though I was ripping my fellow writers apart.

Not my intent.

Personally, I think a 3-star review is pretty good…means I enjoyed the read. But the craft issues with the poorly edited Indie novels makes it tough to bestow a work with a 3 if the point of view and paragraph structure of the piece sucks.

And there are a lot of Indies out there who have no clue what point of view is, how to break narrative up so that nothing washes over from one character's turf to another. (If you don't know what I mean by that…you should not be publishing your work yet. You are one of the writers driving me nuts.)

One good thing about reading writing with significant craft issues [edited]…the weaknesses are there because an author editing their own work doesn't work…and the issues they leave in…I know I must be overlooking in my own work. So I pay more attention to the negatives than what shines in the piece.

[Note per Lisa's comment: Of course a writer CAN and MUST edit their work. My intention is to state that a writer can NOT rely only on their own editing.]

I hope that will make me a better writer by working on my paranoia *smile* 

I look forward to finding some more Indie works that I can shout out in the near future. I have about 600 novels sitting on my tablet, after all.

Have a great day.


  1. I quite agree. I think as writers we can learn a lot from the mistakes of others, indie and traditional.

  2. While I agree that there are a lot of self-published authors out there who seem to be publishing first drafts written by 14-year-olds, I must beg to differ about your opinion that an author cannot edit her/his own work. I feel that an author MUST edit her/his own work MANY TIMES. Hiring a professional to smooth out sentence structure and find typos will not fix things like lack of character development.
    I think the main problem is that way too many folks believe their work is fabulous in its first or second draft form. They don't want to treat writing as a craft and take the time necessary to make it a work of art.

  3. I tend to learn the most about writing while critiquing other writers. And, no, a writer cannot edit their own work with an objective eye. We're blind to our own flaws.

  4. I will modify the statement above.

    Of course a writer can and MUST edit their work.

    But a writer can't see all of their own mistakes. I think it is impossible.

    Their brain created the narrative. It wouldn't have come out that way to begin with (many issues) if the brain didn't assume it was correct/reasonable.

    It takes another's synapses to see a lot of those lapses.

    And even a single professional editor can't catch everything.

    There are too many kinds of edits. Most Indies don't have the resources for a single professional editor, besides separate line and content edits.

    And many Indies clearly publish without professional editing.

  5. I don't think it is an 'objective' issue.

    The narrative our brain gave birth to by nature will appear appropriate to us. We created it after all.

    If we don't understand jumping heads, how can we edit it?

    If we don't know to correct conjugation of a word...we certainly can't correct its misuse.

  6. I think there are a lot of people who only offer encouragement to writers (because they don't want to hurt any feelings) and that leads to stuff being self-pubbed that isn't quite ready.

    Moody Writing

  7. Hi Mood.

    Interesting point.

    I had a CG moderator who would shut down critiquers that were negative. The elderly gentleman's opinion was we were there to support each other.

    I feel we were there to improve...and if we don't hear the truth...that doesn't happen.

  8. hmmm

    My subsequent updates to this post, replacing 'awful writing' with 'writing with significant craft issues' is an excellent example of a writer realizing earlier edits hadn't yet polished the piece.


  9. Thanks for clarifying your meaning. :)