I’m Missing Something #AmEditing

I’ve been working my way through Isto, listening to the chapters through my text-to-speech program. One thing I’ve noticed is the sheer number of missing words I’ve come across that my eyes just skim over. Take this example. Five different people besides me have read it and no one noticed:

    Cameron threw himself to his feet. “Enough!”
    The people closest to him quieted first and it rippled through the rest of room like a ring around a water drop. He glared down from his place on the platform. Several eyes looked away. He focused on Fredrick. “I will admit to charges of treason. You may even take my life if you wish it. But my unit is innocent and that is not debatable. Do I make myself clear?”

Did you see the missing word, or did your mind flow over and fill it in like mine did? It might be easier since you know something’s missing and it’s only a small snippet.

My ears have found no less than a dozen of these mistakes that my eyes just miss, and I’m only a quarter of the way through the book. Sheesh!

Since I was combing through my story, I took another peek at my blurb. Going to Facebook gave me minor feedback, but then Chemist Ken chimed in with his input. So I’m still working on the blurb.

Here’s what I posted to Facebook in a group meant for indie covers and blurbs.

He saved his wife and condemned his world.

She’s the ruler of the broken. He’s the breaker of the rules. Derek stole the power of the deities to bring MaTisha back to life. Given the choice, he wouldn’t hesitate to do the same again.

But people are dying.

An unknown illness manifests among a race immune to everything, thrusting Derek into the role of healer. As he leaves to save the people who once saved him, reports of attacks reach MaTisha’s desk. Istos, immortal creatures from myth, are loose and literally sucking the life out of the population.

MaTisha struggles to keep her people safe, but resurrection changed her. She’s lost her power, her guardians. Even her self-control is slipping. An insatiable thirst plagues her. And now, some of her dearest companions are starting to look tasty.

I went back to the drawing board after Ken emailed me. I admit I have some darlings that I’m unwilling to part with. The new version is about 10 words too long for my tastes, but I’m not sure where to trim it. It’s still a work-in-progress and this is what I’ve got as of this morning:

She’s the ruler of the broken. He’s the breaker of the rules.

MaTisha died in the final battle of the Thanmir War. Derek stole the power of the deities to bring her back. Now, they demand he restore what was taken and be the weapon used in re-killing his wife.

Derek tries to flees his fate, but discovers divine wrath is only a fraction of his problems. An unknown illness manifests among a race immune to everything, putting his only child at risk. Istos, immortal creatures from myth, are loose and literally sucking the life out of the population.

While Derek leaves to find a cure, MaTisha fights to protect her people. But resurrection’s changed her. She’s lost her power, her guardians. Even her self-control is slipping. An insatiable thirst plagues her, making her closest companions look tasty.

As the death toll rises, the terrible consequences of Derek’s choice become clear.

He saved his wife…

…and condemned his world.

Better? Worse? Suggestions?

Do you like writing blurbs? What’s the most common mistake you make when writing? Do you usually pick up on missing words?

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

16 thoughts on “I’m Missing Something #AmEditing

  1. God, I hate writing blurbs, so I get where you are. Honestly? I kind of liked different parts from both. The ending on the second one seems like you’re telling me the ending. He doomed his world. I didn’t get a feeling of “he doomed the world…but will it all work out?” However, I think the beginning in the second version is stronger, pulls you in more, and does a better job describing the story. I would go with the second version and maybe tweak the ending a bit. But great so far!! 🙂

  2. Having read the story, I know you haven’t given anything away from the plot with the teaser, which I love btw. I love that he saved her life and doomed the world. But I do agree that I may like it better at the top, but then I like a strong ending, soooo… that’s no help, right? I like them in both places. I imagine you’ll make that print larger and bolder like a tag line, so it wouldn’t really matter if it’s the beginning or the end.

    I do enjoy meddling with other people’s blurbs. Hate writing my own. So, I meddled with yours and sent my suggestions to your email. Hopefully, there is something coherent and helpful in the suggestions.

  3. Yep, I found the missing word. Only because it wasn’t my own work. I had so many dropped words it’s ridiculous. I probably still have dropped words. Now I use Grammarly to help me. It takes a bit longer but it does help.

    I like the second version better. I feel more of a hook in the second version.

    Elsie

  4. I do like the second better. It gives a bit more detail that was missing from the first. It’s a bit more specific. Specificity is always better.

  5. I often overlook missing words or misspellings. I think it’s one of those “I know what you’re saying even though it might not actually be there before my eyes” type of things. To be a good editor is an art–or perhaps a discipline. Listening or reading aloud helps those types of things stand out so much more.

    Sometimes I like writing blurbs, but it’s usually writing blurbs for things that don’t exist. Just writing blurbs for self-entertainment or exercise.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  6. I write short, minimalistic sentences. So I miss out words consciously. Never notice what’s missing. Sorry.

  7. I messed with it a little bit:

    She’s the ruler of the broken. He’s the breaker of the rules.
    MaTisha died in the Thanmir War. Derek stole the power of the deities to bring her back. Now, he must restore what he took and become the weapon that will destroy his wife once again.
    Derek tries to escape his fate, but divine wrath is only a fraction of his problems. When a race immune to everything begins to fall ill, it puts his only child at risk. Istos, immortal creatures from myth, are loose and literally sucking the life out of the population.
    While Derek leaves to find a cure, MaTisha fights to protect her people. But resurrection’s changed her. She’s lost her power, her guardians. Even her self-control is slipping. An insatiable thirst plagues her, making her closest companions look tasty.
    As the death toll rises, the terrible consequences of Derek’s choice become clear.
    He saved his wife…
    …and condemned his world.

    Really love the last four paragraphs!!

  8. Missing words can be tricky to catch. I think it’s because you know what you wanted to say, so your brain glosses over it.

  9. It’s interesting how utilizing different senses in the editing process can help you catch things that using only one sense can miss.

  10. Jennifer Lee Hawes

    I enjoy writing blurbs. But don’t ever settle on the first one you wrote or the fifth. Let it simmer. Come back to it. Rewrite it again for the tenth time. Let it go for a week. Look at it again. This takes time but it works!! Good luck getting it just right:)

  11. I only found the missing word on my 2nd read through 🙁

    I feel your pain re blurb writing – I have sooo many different versions of mine.
    I think I preferred the 1st one, because it gave me a better feel for what’s going on – but there are bits I like from both.
    There’s a typo in the 2nd one btw: ‘Derek tries to flees his fate’.

    Good luck. What you have done is made me want to read your book!

  12. I totally missed it on the first read! I started using the text-to-speech as well. It’s amazing the little things it find that I just missed over and over.

  13. I read it three times and still can’t find the missing word, unless it’s a missing negative. But I’m wondering about “throwing himself to his feet.” Can you throw yourself that direction? Usually we leap to our feet, or lunge up.

    • I’m with you, Rebecca. I gave up looking after inserting a ‘not’ that didn’t read right either. I wondered about the throwing as well.

    • The missing word is “the”:

      …through the rest of the room like a ring…

      Tricky little words.

      The throwing part might make more sense in context, or it might just be one of those body-parts-in-writing things. But I’ll note it to ask my critique partners on whether or not it makes sense. 🙂

  14. I caught the missing word, but I had to read it twice, and I’m an editor. Seriously, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s impossible to catch all the errors in our own work, because our brain knows what we meant to say, and that’s often what we see–whether or not it’s there. Using text to voice is super smart.

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