Wednesday, 10 December 2008


by Paul Bagdon
Leisure, Nov. 2006

Gettysburg was the end for Jake Sinclair. When the blood-drenched battle ended, the Confederate sharpshooter looked over the field of the dead and dying and decided he’d had his fill of war. He didn’t get far before a battlefield scavenger tried to kill him for his horse. Jake ended up on the winning side of that skirmish and took the thief’s guns and saddle for himself. But fate isn’t through with Jake yet. A corrupt sheriff will see to that and Jake will find himself on the run for murder!

Paul Bagdon is a new writer to me. His story starts out with a lot of promise, full of horrific imagery of war, written in all its explicit gory detail. If it’s blood and guts you’re after then this should satisfy.

But it’s during the battle for Cemetery Ridge that I began to notice the typos; the mis-spellings, and that began to annoy me. Even worse was to come as a rifle went from being a Henry to a Winchester and back. Sinclair’s handgun was to suffer changes too, first it was a Colt .44 then magically became a Smith and Wesson .22.

I soon found myself looking for mistakes instead of concentrating on the story which was a shame as the first two thirds of the story was good although I felt there were a few too many flashbacks to Jake’s childhood.

The final part of the book, when Jake gets involved with the Night Riders, turned what had been a promising start into a traditional western plot that left me feeling somewhat let down.

Maybe it was the typos that really spoiled it for me, and it made me wonder if the author bothered proof reading.


Bill Crider said...

Kind of makes you wonder about the publisher, too. Whatever happened to copyeditors?

Chap O'Keefe said...

I'm with Bill Crider all the way on this one. And you could say I have sympathies in all quarters, having spent many years of my career copy editing. Today, the author is expected to shoulder much of what was once done efficiently in house.

Many publishers no longer read submissions, leaving the filtering process to biased literary agencies.

As noted, you're expected to read the proofs not just for sense but for typos.

And if you want your book to be given any sort of publicity -- even online which is relatively inexpensive -- it's a case of "do it yourself".

So what do editors do these days? From my present, distant outpost, it seems they mostly nit-pick over whether your story is politically correct or contains anything sexy that might get the pulses of "old woman" readers of both genders pounding. Mustn't over-excite the teenagers, you know -- they have enough to contend with these days without that nonsense!

Steve M said...

It does make you wonder Bill. Shame as it's put me off trying this author again.

Steve M said...

Interesting post Keith.

Chap O'Keefe said...

And, Steve, going back to the Blagdon book and its typos, isn't it ironic that the publisher's main promotional line on the cover is a seal saying "new, easy to read print" ? !


Anonymous said...

These all too common errors, spelling errors,wrong usage of words, numbers of enemies changing from page to page etc. really bother me too. Even Louis L'Amour's books have them. I actually had to quit reading one book the other day as the author wrote incomplete sentences. Used a period and then the next "sentence" finished the previous one. It almost makes a person want to quit reading.
NAH - Can't happen. I enjoy it too much. ;-D