Being Handcuffed by the Cops – Writer Cops That Is

Castle and the Detectives (Sourced from Google Images)

Have any of you seen Castle?  If you have, you know what an awesome show it is.  If you haven’t, rent the seasons from Netflix and start watching!

There’s an episode that was in, I believe, the second season.  Someone was murdered and on her face was written a message, “psycho, the rapist, your out of time.” Castle said, “Whoever killed her also murdered the English language.”

Richard Castle is a writer I’d love to know!  (I wouldn’t mind knowing Nathan Fillion either though. ;))  Anyway, Castle is a witty character with a sympathetic side.  He’s awesome.  He is also a best-selling author following around Detective Kate Beckett for his Nikki Heat series.  (You can buy the books as well.)

Anyway, I was discussing NaNoWriMo with someone on G+ about a month ago discussing our projects.  My project was going to originally be a re-write of my very first [finished] novel.  When I told him that, I said, “Hope that’s okay. ;)”

In return he said, “It’s not like the NaNo cops will be knocking down your door.”

I had a funny image of Richard Castle busting down the door with a NaNoWriMo badge yelling, “Set the laptop aside.  Down on the ground! DOWN ON THE GROUND!”

Okay.  Realistically this isn’t going to happen.  But wouldn’t it be funny if it did?

Now, to the point.  I’ve never had an editor, but I do have a wonderful group of people who help me edit.  They’re my personal “writing cops.”  Although my dad has a habit of laughing at my mistakes.  Love that man though!  Admittedly, some of the mistakes are quite hilarious!

But, this is why editing is so important.  Even accidentally, we murder the English language.  Sometimes we forget the small things. (And big things.)  What if we accidentally wrote “hear” for “here.”  Or forgot the ‘h’ in “where.”  Any misplaced commas, quotations, apostrophes, etc.  Or “your” for “you’re.”  It can happen, although that is one of my biggest pet peeves!  If I make that mistake I beat myself up.  Anyway…

If you read my last post about guest posting on Karen Baney’s blog about Indie Authors, you’ll know that we self-pubbed authors don’t exactly have the biggest fan base.  However, Tamara Paulin made a good comment about that.

I’m not too worried about trying to change people’s minds about self-publishing in general. I really won’t mind if, years from now, people still say they dislike self-pubbed books, BUT they do love authors X, Y, and Z. I am trying to be Author Z.

I think self-pubbing has already gained a lot of acceptance, as have low-budget indie movies.

However, she also said “Self-pubbers are permitted zero typos!”

It’s true.  We are permitted zero typos.  That’s why it’s important to find someone to look at our work with fresh eyes.  Eyes that aren’t all lovey-dovey for our work.  We’re blinded.  They aren’t.

In my financial state, aka starving artist, I can honestly say, I can’t afford an editor right now.  So, I have to rely on my beta readers.  They make good cops.  Especially betas who are writers!

When I first started writing, I was scared to death of feedback.  Now, I crave it!  I can’t get enough.  Really.  I’m still scared of feedback.  It makes me nervous, but I do appreciate it very much.   Feedback furthers our writing.  We learn from our own mistakes.  Hopefully.

So, don’t take feedback for granted.  Welcome the “cops” into your life.  They’re only trying to help.  Let them handcuff ya and book you for murdering the English language.  But don’t worry.  They’ll let you off for good behavior given you correct your mistakes.

19 thoughts on “Being Handcuffed by the Cops – Writer Cops That Is

  1. Great post, Em. You are so right—self-pubbers (love that term) are allowed zero slack in the typos count. However, I often see writers confusing what I believe are two distinctly different services to an author’s work: proofreading versus critiquing. Both are very necessary, but when I am ready for publication (i.e. I’ve submitted my manuscript to critique, suggestions, etc. and already incorporated the changes), I am looking for a proofreader to catch the “where/here’s” and the “too/to’s” and perhaps any other grammatical anomalies. Thanks for the great post!!


    1. Thanks! You’re exactly right. They are two different things. I want both done. Critiques and proofing. That’s why I’m glad when some of my betas are writers. 😉 Luckily, all of my usual betas are great about catching both. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Rob. 🙂


  2. Mmmm Nathon Fillion. I loved him most from Dr Horrible. SUCH a great movie.

    Also, the ‘cops’ are not bad, they just make sure we follow the rules. We know what happens when a published book gets away with murder. It promotes other bad writing. It enables lazy writers.

    Just be careful not to get a bad cop who wants to bring you down rather than build you up.


    1. I loved him as Mal in Firefly. That show shouldn’t have been cancelled. 😦 haha Never saw Dr. Horrible although that’s on my list. 🙂

      I agree. I’m promoting the good cops who actually help. 🙂 That’s why self-pubbers get a bad rep. I know people make mistakes, but we’re looked at closer than traditional published authors.


  3. Great post, and great distinction by RS Guthrie between proofreading and critical editing.
    And Emerald, you have the idea for your next novel: the Novel Cop – the enforcer of tight plotting, believable characterization and eagle-eyed editing!


  4. You’re right, and that’s why it’s always important when starting a criique to be sure what the writer wants (what stage the project is at). If the writer isn’t clear, the reader should ask. Do you want typos, general critique, line edits, what? This can save a lot of time for the reader, and it means he or she can focus on the things which will be most helpful.


    1. That is so true, Anthony! If I have new betas reading over my work, I tell them what I’m looking for. It may be pushy, but I want my novel to be the best it can be. I even sent out a list of things to ‘watch-out’ for. 😉


  5. Indie writers may not get the slack, but holy cow, there’s a lot of stuff out there in desperate need of serious editing.

    As I near my own publication date, my fear and paranoia is growing exponentially. I’ve been through two heavy beta reads, and now I’m working with a professional editor. I can’t believe the things she’s finding that all my beta readers (and me!) have missed. I’d caution anyone about publishing without a professional editor.

    The biggest problem I had was actually finding an editor. I interviewed five before I found one I could trust. Eek

    Oh, and, Nathan rules! 😛


    1. Oh, I know. There is a lot of stuff that needs to be edited. I’m not discouraging editing (or hiring professional editors) at all. I seriously believe in it.

      I imagine that it would be difficult to find an editor. Glad you managed to find one though!

      And yes. Yes he does rule! 🙂


    1. haha. Yes they do!

      And, I completely agree. I needed more Firefly! And Serenity. Seriously. Did they HAVE to kill off everyone? I was so upset. Still am whenever I watch it again.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  6. “DOWN ON THE GROUND!” = much amusement on my part.

    No such thing as too many proofreaders! There are some seriously sneaky typos out there that can slip past the best of us, and those little devils *need* the writer cops called on them!

    I’m a wee bit terrified of critiques, too. It helps a little to remember that, at the end of the day, the critiques are really just suggestions; it’s up to the writer to think on it (*honestly*, now; defensive walls down as far as you can knock ’em, please) and decide whether acting on the suggestions would bring their book closer to the perfection we can only hope they want for their work.


    1. Glad you found it amusing! I aim to please! 😉

      I agree. You can NEVER have too many. 🙂

      And, you are completely right about critiques. That’s still hard to remember though. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I love meeting new people. 🙂 Feel free to drop by anytime!


    1. Ah yes. The critique! I see patiently was in parentheses. Are you nervous or ready for it? I know it’s nerve-wracking at times though, but I’m ready for people to get back to me about my novel so I can start my own editing. 😉

      And, well, people shouldn’t let me watch Castle and write a blog post at the same time. I get some crazy ideas! (I, however, liked the thought of them too!)


      1. I’m a little nervous and very impatient to get critiqued! I feel like what I learn about my manuscript that night will be really helpful in terms of finishing the book as well as making the whole thing stronger.

        We should make a glossary of terms–writer cops, Barbie Jeep method, what else?!


      2. I know that feeling well! I’m sure you’ll learn a lot! 🙂

        Oh, and I completely agree! We should collaborate on something like that! And, I am pretty sure we can come up with A LOT of interesting terms for writing! 😉


  7. Pingback: “Typo” « Ever On Word

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