This is the face I make when reading something chock-full of bad grammar, bizarre punctuation, clunky sentences and clumsy dialogue, plot holes wide enough to fly a starship through, characters who’d need a lot more development to qualify as two-dimensional, “science” that a normal fifth-grader could find the errors in… This is the face I make right before I throw the book across the room — or in the case of e-books (because my Kindle was a gift, and I don’t want to damage it), right before I go online and write an angry blog post.
Yes, it’s true: sometimes I get irritated at reading crap. (You’re surprised, right?) Actually, it’s a lot more often than sometimes, and crap is an understatement.
The trouble is, once I’m already in a bad mood from reading — or attempting to read — something incompetent, I am less likely to cut the author of the next book much slack, which isn’t fair. Typos happen to everybody sometimes, even in traditionally published books that, hypothetically, had a professional proofreader paid by the publisher go over every single line of the manuscript. However, there’s a difference between the rare typo and flat-out lack of proofreading/editing. And even writing that appears polished on the surface can be full of glaring errors in things that a check for grammar and punctuation and spelling issues will not catch.
Yes, friends, even fiction needs fact-checking. Just because “it’s all made up” doesn’t mean the author should get away with saying that a single-hand sword, made of ordinary steel, weighs ten pounds — or three ounces. Just because “it’s all made up” doesn’t mean the author should get away with ignoring the basics of inertia in outer space without at least some clumsy handwavium to give readers a reason to suspend disbelief — ’cause Inertia, she’s also a heartless bitch. Just because “it’s all made up” doesn’t mean the author should get away with describing a creature that’s half lion and half eagle and calling it a wyvern — or saying that telepathy can be used to move objects and start fires and whatnot, or that a virus always dies with its host and no one can catch a disease from a dead body, or that the average roll on a single 6-sided die is 4. (There is no average roll on a single die — you do know that, right?)
Okay, maybe that photo of Tardar Sauce, a.k.a. Grumpy Cat, is a bit too calm to accurately represent the face I make when reading crap. So imagine the kitty snarling and making “throw my head at you” gestures… and that’s more like it.
I have found my calling in the blogging universe; I have discovered Who I Am and My Place in the Grand Scheme of Things! I’m the grumpy, grouchy old man who yells at kids to
get off his lawn learn how to punctuate, damnit. I’m the vitriol-filled curmudgeon who thinks that good writing requires competence with the language in which it is written, even though everyone knows stuff like that doesn’t matter anymore as long as the author has the “most unique” plot and setting that they got the idea for from a computer game. (I’m also the guy with the self-imposed weekly sarcasm quota — but that, I knew already.)