You like a writer’s style and voice – or you don’t


let fiction bloomEDITING? REALLY?

Way back in the dark ages, I submitted the manuscript (digiscript?) of Pride’s Children to an organization dedicated to vetting indie novelists, and giving them a ‘Seal of Approval’ which could be used on the cover of their novel to indicate ‘quality’ or ‘goodness’ or ‘lack of indie crap content.’ I will call them XXX.

And then I forgot all about it.

I just received their reply, a reply to which I take a great deal of umbrage.

Here is their email:

Dear Alicia,

I regret to inform you that your book Pride’s Children did not gain XXX approval. Our assessor said that though the book had an interesting premise, it would need a thorough line edit before it could be considered for approval.

In particular, she found the following issues:

Extreme overuse of incomplete sentences to the point where it becomes a repetitive sentence structure.


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4 thoughts on “You like a writer’s style and voice – or you don’t

  1. Lily White LeFevre

    What. The. F..k.

    That “assessor” has clearly never read the classics (or learned to appreciate the techniques those writers were using) or learned about style as a deliberate breaking of “rules” for the sake of character/authorial voice, rhythm, tension, and a host of other things.

    I have had sufficient training in lit and grammar and style to understand what you were doing. I guess this is what some of the trad pub authors mean when they complain about junior editors fresh out of grammar school? *shudder*

    I had considered submitting a book to that group at some point. If this is their assessment skill set…I think approval might not be a good thing!


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      There are so many readers, with so many abilities, that there is something for everyone (Wattpad is crowded with stuff older readers can’t appreciate, but which has hundreds of thousands following along because it somehow nails what a teen thinks like).

      But I did expect better of people setting themselves up to award a seal of approval for indies; I really did. And of course it means I didn’t get one :(. I now think that’s good, but it is a shame – I’m not even experimental! Everything I do is quite ordinary. No long stream of consciousness bits (okay, maybe for some people a paragraph is too much). No missing punctuation. Realistic dialogue. Sparse description from the pov of the characters – except for a place or two where the PLOT needed more. Structure. A complicated plot, yes, but every step is necessary – you wouldn’t believe such a story otherwise because the protagonists start too far apart.

      In any case, don’t annoy a writer. She will write about it, and you may not like it.

      I’m sometimes incoherent in my blog posts – side effect of the brain fog. I’m never incoherent and anything other than deliberate in my fiction (unless, in the case of very short pieces like The House of the Vord, it came out in a single burst of something, and I don’t dare touch it because the bubble will pop). Which is why it takes me so long: everything is planned – and then I have to make it sound utterly spontaneous.

      Oh, and people don’t think in complete sentences. Try it.

      I know I’m preaching to the choir here – thanks, Lily.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J.M. Ney-Grimm

    XXX is wrong. I was completely immersed when I was reading PC. Felt like I was living in the characters’ heads, which is exactly what I enjoy as a reader. And it all read really smoothly and kept me thoroughly gripped. XXX sounds like they were reading with the intent to find something wrong. With the result that they completely missed the wonderful experience that PC provides.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I felt they missed the whole point – and that always sends a shiver through my spine; supposedly they’re better at this and have been at it longer than I have.

      I’m so glad you liked it; your support has been bracing all along. I can understand not being their taste; I couldn’t understand their tone. It didn’t shake me TOO long, but it did – and then I stopped and thought a bit, and the rest is this post.

      Gatekeepers – on the indie side. And ones who would keep ME out. They can keep their ‘symbol of indie quality’; after this, I certainly don’t want it!

      Even if I never find another reader.

      Liked by 1 person


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