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Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Devil's in the Details--By Claire Youmans

The 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 there’s no continuity, if words are 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. Facebook is currently giving me a hard time by constantly changing my correctly chosen and spelled words into contextual gibberish. Repeatedly. After correction. In secret, so I won't know until tomorrow, or maybe never. It also insists on capitalizing in their entirety certain words, no matter how many times I tell it not to.  BUDDHIST is one.  FRENCH is another. Today, it started doing this with MARY. Am I experiencing Ghost-in-the-Machine messages from a French Buddhist named Mary? There’s a plot for you. Somebody run with that.

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 now find it important to hold those standards high all around. If you’re a writer, a real writer, someone who is telling a story, communicating with others, shouldn’t you?

A bagel shop is where one buys bagels. This is where one buys books: The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow Boy. Book Two, Chasing Dreams, is coming!


Claire Youmans


http://claireyoumansauthor.blogspot.com

www.tokigirlandsparrowboy.com

Facebook:  The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Toki-Girl-Sparrow-Boy-Claire-Youmans/dp/0990323404/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8


If you would like to guest blog for Writing About Writing we would love to have an excuse to take a day off a wonderful diaspora of voices. Take a look at our guest post guidelines, and drop me a line at chris.brecheen@gmail.com.

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