No Rewrites, No Editing

I remember reading an interview with Robert B. Parker somewhere where he said he doesn’t go back and rewrite his work…he just bangs it out and moves on.  Apparently, his books aren’t edited by his publisher, either. Bill Crider posts the evidence.

From Appaloosa,

p. 266: "The room was quiet and

p. 238: "Bragg took a tan leather case out of his inside coat pocket. He offered a cigar to Bragg and

27 thoughts on “No Rewrites, No Editing”

  1. That’s bad. I’ve read some just as good in books that were supposed to be editted/proofed/rewritten. Complained about it at Amazon, too.

  2. There’s a stark difference between trusting your authors and just being too lazy to edit their work.
    Who’s his publisher? PublishAmerica?

  3. Don’t get me wrong, guys. I make the same kinds of mistakes all the time in my own books. But usually someone catches them before the books get published. Those two seem pretty obvious to me, and I’m surprised nobody caught them. There’s another mistake in the book that seems obvious to me, but I think there’s an excuse for it, so I didn’t include it. And there are a couple of typos, too. But, hey, Parker’s put a western novel on the NYT bestseller list, and I salute him for that.

  4. I suggest you read it and learn from it. I cannot begin to count the number of blogs I once read and stopped reading because of the poor writing in them. If you want to be taken seriously as a Writer you must take your writing seriously.

  5. Well with a blog you bang it out,look at it later and edit the thing. I do that all the time.
    “I’ve read some just as good in books that were supposed to be editted/proofed/rewritten. Complained about it at Amazon, too.”
    Yeah I’d like to see some examples of this from mainstream presses if you would, or can, is more like it.
    Over at Pod-dy-mouth a vanity press author had a reader eview that pointed out modern slang in a period novel. She was attempting to carry on the flame of Jane Austen in this book. Jane wouldn’t have been amused.
    I just don’t buy the concept that ego, fights for gross error. Please.

  6. In one of my books, somebody’s introduced, and then a sentence or two later, he’s introduced with a different name. This error was introduced by the printer after all the painstaking copy editing had been completed.
    “He’s so big nobody copy edits him” is an easy shot to take, but we really have no way of knowing who goofed.

  7. Good point, Keith. I know Joanne Fluke had to deal with that on a recipe on one of her books. And it was a major mistake (8 cans of soup vs. 1 can of soup.)

  8. There’s definitely a decline in writing quality with a lot of writers once they have a few hits under their belt (Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey are two that spring to mind immediately – I’ve stopped reading both of them entirely because the quality of their later work sucks).
    I proofread regularly at work (and am known as something of a grammar nazi) and I’ve been tempted a number of times to go through the offending books with a red pen, then send them back to the publisher. Would it do any good? Probably not. But there are a dozen or more authors I won’t read anymore because it’s just too annoying. So they are losing sales as a result. Not enough to matter, obviously.

  9. Mr. Paul Guyot: Contrary to the accusation you made against me here recently I have never hacked your blog. Until you made your accusation against me here I had not visited your blog.
    I sent you a private e-mail regarding this charge. If you prefer I can arrange for law enforcement to discuss the matter with you further.

  10. “hacking” – to gain unauthorized access to data via computer
    “hacking on” – informal slang meaning to make fun of
    Oh, and sarcasm is your friend.
    ~ bri ~

  11. Mr. David J. Montgomery and ‘brhana25’: Not that it is any of your concern, but I have never hacked on, hacked up, or hacked anything. I have never made fun of Mr. Paul Guyot because I did not, until his charges against me here, know him. Nor would I have any reason to do so, even if I had known him previously. And given his charges against me recently I have no reason, desire, need, or want to know him.

  12. I think Hess has realized the error he made and is now trying to play along.
    He did in fact send me an email – to which I explained to the “Hemingway of Humorists” (from his web site) what humor really is… I should of added the “hacking on” was in homage to the western themed post by Lee.
    From Young Guns:
    “We’s just hacking on ya, Billy.”

  13. Geez. This sort of behavior is a Hess trademark insofar as he qualifies as having one. I thought Guyot was being facetious, which as anyone can tell, he was.
    Hess loves to pound on journalists and liberals from his mountain compound in Colorado. His work, which I’ve read as a result of earlier battles at absolutewrite is a tad forced to be very funny. That and his website looks like a fifth-grader’s. Hemingway indeed.

  14. Bill’s last sentence explains why this happens. Readers don’t care.
    Or readers don’t see it. I, for one, didn’t pick the mistakes up until I’d re-read and re-read the sentences a few times. I’m a fast reader and obviously skim over the words and structure (and I’m challenged in the grammar dept. too.).
    The concept of a *book* not being copy edited prior to publication is a new one on me – as I’ve always been under the impression that it is one of the necessary stages in publication. *cough* However, having seen comments made by individuals who’ve read the BSG continuations written by one R. Hatch …

  15. I am a fan of Parker’s work and he’s often said he doesn’t rewrite his books or have input from his editors, but let’s not mistake that to think that he doesn’t have them proofread – it seems the error from that particular book was one that most of us might make at anytime and should have been caught during proofing and wasn’t. I see those in novels by many authors. I should add that I’ve read all of Parker’s Spenser novels, every one, multiple times, and have very rarely seen that type of mistake. I haven’t read his Jesse Stone or Sunny Randal books (not a fan of either) so I cannot comment on them. Parker has also mentioned that he writes five pages a day, every day, no matter what, and when he gets his five pages he stops for the day. And you can definitely see that in his writing, sometimes it feels like he got itchy and wanted to get to lunch or something. But I still like his work.

  16. Thanks for reposting the two mistakes that Bill Crider found. I run a web site devoted to Parker’s novels and haven’t started to take notes on this one yet but I missed those on my first reading.
    I read through the full series every six months or so and I’ve found the later novels to be increasingly full of typos, factual errors, and gaping plot holes as the years have gone by. I still love every one of them but an old fashioned copy editor with a green eyeshade, sleeve garters, and a blue pencil would be a welcome additon to his publishing house.
    BTW on the signing tour for this book he said that he now types 10 pages a day; it can only get worse.


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