Last week, I blogged about a book I read where the editor didn’t catch that the author used a phrase 25 times in 200 pages. This week, I read another book that annoyed me. It had the potential to be a great story but was ruined (in my opinion) by the way the editor let certain facets of the writer’s research overwhelm the tale.
I’m all for doing research about the era I write in. I’m a real stickler for good research so I’m always glad to see that an author has done his/her due diligence in that regard. What I don’t like is for the story to be bogged down by unnecessary details. I have been guilty of this myself but thank God I had a great editor who pointed out to me that the discussion I had in my book between the hero and heroine about the Elgin Marbles sounded more like a lesson from school than real dialogue. I cut that whole section out on her advice.
Sadly, the editor in the book I read this week didn’t rein in his author when she wanted to go into major details on everything she researched. The long expositions on certain things really threw me out of the story and annoyed me. Throwing in one tidbit would’ve been great but going on for pages about something peripherally related was really tedious. It’s important to throw that stuff in for authenticity but when the story begins to read like a history lesson, someone needs to put a stop to it.
The other thing is that the writer has to trust the reader to know things. In this story I read, the writer referenced a pop culture television show and then went on to explain what the show was. Really? That was totally unnecessary. It got under my skin and again, threw me right out of the tale.
We need good editors to keep us from showing off our research skills! LOL!