Friday, April 3, 2015

Devil's in the Details

I was recently in a place where I could buy REAL bagels.  So I did.  Quite a lot of them.  Just because it's bread cooked in a ring shape does not mean it's a bagel.  Like pretzels, there is a water bath involved.  This is mandatory.  Without that bath, the crust does not bake properly crisp and the product lacks bite.  I loath the bread-ish doughnuts that lack that bath which are popularly passed off as bagels.

It's that little detail of the proper water bath that makes a bagel a bagel.  It's a detail, but don't try to omit it, or you're SO NOT toast at my house.

Along the same line, those pesky bits of word usage, of punctuation, of grammar, are the devilish details that plague writers.  If prose is not smooth, if it's incorrect, if the punctuation doesn't help the reader understand how the text is read, if spelling errors about, if the formatting isn't consistent -- the reader's attention is jerked out of the story and into the way the story was crafted.  That harms the reader's experience and spoils the story -- whether the reader realizes this is happening or not.  It's very important to rewrite, edit and copy-edit to make reading the story the best experience it can be for the reader.

This has been bugging me a lot lately.  FB is giving me great problems with changing my correctly chosen and spelled words into contextual gibberish.  Repeatedly.  After correction.  In secret, so I won't know until tomorrow.  It also insists on capitalizing in their entirety certain words.  BUDDHIST is one.  FRENCH is another.  Today, it started doing this with MARY.  I am starting to suspect Ghost-in-the-Machine messages from French Buddhists named Mary.

So I am not "sharing" anything that is badly written any more.  I don't care if it's funny, or pertinent, or even important.  I want my readers' experiences, like my bagels, to be crafted to the best of standards, so I am finding it important to hold those standards high all around.

THIS is the sort of place one buys bagels.  This is the sort of place one buys books:  The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow Boy.  Book Two is coming!

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