Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sloppy Editors and Writers: A Rant

Driving a 500 miles route three days a week, I find audio books make the day go by faster and help keep me alert.

Recently I started one by a major author and by the second disc boxed it up and took it back to the library. A minor character was a former Army Corpsman. Damnit, the Army has Medics and the Navy Corpsman. Sloppy, and I found myself listening for more mistakes rather than becoming immersed in the narrative.

Some readers of this blog have read books by Jim Curtis and Peter Grant. With great narratives their books also have meticulously researched details. Next on my order list is Larry Lambert’s books. My guess is attention to all details will be found.

If one wants to pick a hugely popular author, consider Patricia Cornwell. If she is writing about something involving SCUBA, she gets or renews her certification. Rifles? She goes and trains until she understands what skills are required. 

I have no aspirations to becoming a writer beyond this blog. Why? I’m too damn lazy and undisciplined even assuming I have the necessary vision. My ex-wife, who is talented, once met and talked to J.J. Jance seeking some insight. Her feelings  were hurt by Jance’s use of a four letter word.

 WORK.   


Am I being too harsh and judgmental? Probably.

20 comments:

  1. No, you're not being harsh at all. It's the hallmark of a good write to "sweat the details", one of the reasons I enjoy Tom Clancy's books so much.

    And just as it galls me to see aircraft called the wrong types and names, and footage of said aircraft being used to depict a battle before that aircraft ever flew on the various "history" TV channels, I find seeing errors like that in print to be inexcusable.

    Even if you're writing fiction, "sweat the details", because some of your audience is bound to know the correct details, right on down to some pretty arcane stuff.

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    1. Like someone using a ham as a character - better know your stuff!

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    2. One of my buddies actually talked to the guys on the set of "Last Man Standing".

      And when my son and I were watching the movie "Frequency", I noticed the radio he was using was a Heathkit RECEIVER with a microphone plugged in to the head phone jack.

      I griped about it to my son, and he replied that nobody who watched the movie would know. Two people a couple of aisles down turned around and waved, and they were from my ham club....

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    3. I, too, find that when I watch any military flick involving the US Army, I almost never stick to the plot: I am watching with an eagle eye every damn sloppy mistake. Haircuts that were non-regulation, poorly placed brass and ribbons on uniforms, incorrect uniforms, anachronistic vehicles, incorrectly used acronnyms/slang, on and on.

      PS: speaking of ham, do you know what the difference is between Hillary Clinton and a ham sandwich? A: you can indict a ham sandwich.

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  2. My books are all based on real people in somewhat fictional settings. In that, they should ring true or I'm a worthless author.

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  3. What about the Saxon Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell? I admit I'm an avid fan and have read them all.....
    "Sloppy, and I found myself listening for more mistakes rather than becoming immersed in the narrative" ~ yep!

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    Replies
    1. I anticipated being able to read more when I "retired". Find myself even busier than before.

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  4. Thanks for the nice words, I DO sweat the details... Now getting commas in the right place, not so much... :-)

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  5. My husband is a nit-picky listener/reader/watcher.
    He catches factual errors, clothing errors, grammatical errors, errors in time (x wasn't invented for another two years, why are they using it in this movie?) and every other error.

    Some people might be annoyed by watching a movie with the guy... but I appreciate his insight. He's a smart man. He catches things I would never even think of.

    Besides... he's irreverent and will say just about anything. So his remarks are usually laced with profanities and funny as hell.

    I have considered writing. I mean writing more than a blog. People who know what they're talking about have said that I'm good at it.

    But that four letter word offends me, too.
    WORK?? Say what??????

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    1. I could write a long blog on the opportunities my ex pissed away. All by avoiding that four letter word. Initial enthusiasm, manic effort until 80-90% finished then nothing (except bitching, of course).

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  6. I, too, use audio books when I am on the long haul trips. Sure does pass the time away. I have to agree on OldNFO and LL's books. Fun and good reading. You will like LL's stuff. My favorite author right now is Lee Child and the Jack Reacher series. Sadly he only puts out one a year.

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  7. Patricia Cornwell is awesome. Plus she delved in the dead. Your other authors are super great as well. You need to listen to some rap on your road trips. I can make you a mix tape.

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    1. Thak you for the kind thoughts but I would choose dental work over listening to rap, Clay Ford excepted (There ain't no trash in my trailer).

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  8. Fredd has left a new comment on your post "Sloppy Editors and Writers: A Rant":

    I, too, find that when I watch any military flick involving the US Army, I almost never stick to the plot: I am watching with an eagle eye every damn sloppy mistake. Haircuts that were non-regulation, poorly placed brass and ribbons on uniforms, incorrect uniforms, anachronistic vehicles, incorrectly used acronnyms/slang, on and on.

    PS: speaking of ham, do you know what the difference is between Hillary Clinton and a ham sandwich? A: you can indict a ham sandwich.

    (Don't know what is up with Google)

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    Replies
    1. It isn't as thought they can't hire any number of veterans to advise them.

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