I always enjoy meeting with my writing group. Well, it’s not my group in terms of ownership. Rather, it’s a group composed of writers at various stages along the path of publication. One of our members, Brenda Remmes, just had her novel, The Quaker Café, published, and you can find it on Amazon.com. I ordered my copy yesterday.
But I digress. Others members are experimenting with articles, short stories, travel writing, memoirs, and poetry. Some enter contests; some don’t. A couple of members have won contests. All are contributing pieces to a gift book we’re putting together with a pub date of October. We enjoy working with words and with each other, but none of us are quitting our day jobs.
Whenever I come away from an intense meeting like yesterday’s, I’m almost dizzy with new ideas, possibilities, and knowledge. I always pick up bits of information that will help me in my writing, and yesterday I heard several comments on developing characters and increasing tension. They served as reminders that I’m not ready to tackle fiction just yet. I also learned what mountain topping is and that chlamydia is a problem in some nursing homes.
The writers who received feedback on their work yesterday took note of all that was said, and I think they’ll incorporate some changes in their work. We all want our writing to be as good as possible in every way: readable, enjoyable, coherent, interesting, and error-free.
But get this. I’ve learned from reading blogs and chatting with others not in the writing group that errors are that big a deal to everyone. When I pointed out an error in an eBook the other evening, my husband commented that he didn’t let “things like that” get in the way of a good story. A blogger commented that she went for content and not perfection, and another said that he doubted that many people noticed the little mistakes.
I’m not embarrassed to say that I probably spent 10-12 hours trying to figure out how to correct a problem in my eBook Crossing the Bridge last week. I finally ended up retyping the reference pages and re-uploading the book. Ah, then I spotted a book title that wasn’t italicized, a missing comma, and one spacing issue. Even though I know that most people are not going to even glance at the references, much less check them out, I could not let those things go. I fixed them.
I think the book is okay now. I’m not saying it’s 100 percent perfect (can’t please everyone), but Crossing the Bridge is getting there. It contains the information students need to succeed and includes some neat features like student stories, student quotes, and pictures. I’m putting it to the side and moving on to another project.
Just for curiosity, how important is an error-free book to you? Does it annoy you to see misspellings, missing letters, extra letters, punctuation errors, too many gerunds, or the overuse of “it?” And what about inaccurate information? Does it drive you up the wall? How important is it to you to read an error-free document?