Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Ha'porth of Tar

I really wanted to enjoy the new novel called The Night Circus. Unfortunately, I kept being distracted by bad editing. For instance, in this extract:
what would it have taken to rewrite it thus:

'The magician scans the office, a stack of letters in one hand, a black velvet cape lined with shockingly white silk cascading behind him. He expects to see a paper-wrapped box or crate,'

Thus would have been avoided the confusing - and distracting - impression that the cape is expecting something.

So much time and effort goes into the writing of a novel; surely it is worth putting in that last bit of effort, to make sure it reads smoothly. And yet so often contemporary novels seem to miss out at this crucial stage.

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