Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Storyteller Who Couldn't Spell

I have the fortune of knowing some wonderful storytellers. One of the best ones--who I'll call "X"--has a quirk you wouldn't expect: not being able to spell worth beans.

X can spin a great yarn and uses a respectably-sized vocabulary to good effect, but has a learning disability that makes it hard for them to spell correctly and consistently. I have seen X use the same word in adjacent sentences and not spell them the same, and X sometimes cannot see that they are different.

Without hiring an editor for not just stories, but all correspondece, X would have little chance of finding a publisher or agent, or of success at self publishing.

Well guess what? Bad spelling can be fixed with editing--even if every sentence needs a correction--easier than a poorly told story can be fixed with editing. As a publisher who wants to develop local talent, I edit every book I publish, and I don't charge for it; it's one of the benefits I bring to the table. So, I can choose to take on a book written by X if I think it's a promising one. And I am taking one on.

There's nothing magic in what I'm saying. Every author needs a good editor; every author has their own distinct weaknesses that need outside help.

If you are a good storyteller, don't let your personal challenges at writing stop you if writing stories is what you want to do. Follow rule one of writing: Write. And develop a relationship with someone who can competently edit your work.