Sunday, February 26, 2006

Editing for Spelling and Grammar


Maybe I am really weird, but when I am reading an article, novel, or something else that has been professionally published/edited I expect more perfection than I do when reading an email, a blog, or even...gasp.. a letter or card that has arrived in snail mail...do those still exist?

I can be engrossed in what I am reading, but if I come across a word misspelled, I immediately lose focus on the article and focus on the word. Today, I was reading an article on the war in Iraq, enjoying the writer's descriptive powers, when he misspelled gauntlet, how could that happen? This wasn't some fast-breaking news story that had to be published as soon as possible.

"Just getting U.S. troops established here in the canal-laced fields of the Euphrates River Valley meant running a gantlet of roadside bombs, with one platoon encountering 14 in a three-hour stretch."

Why does this bother me? As soon as I came across "gantlet" I lost focus, the same happens when I read a novel, what particularly perplexes me in novel reading, is if the mistake is in the paperback edition, I know nothing about publishing, but if they have the opportunity to reformat to publish the paperback, then I, perhaps wrongly, assume they would have the opportunity to correct any mistakes that were uncaught during the 5o (guessing at this number btw) times the novel was edited before first publishing.

As a person who constantly makes mistakes, who still cannot remember when/if an apostrophe is necessary, who uses way more commas than called for, who cannot read her own writing for content, but is constantly editing---I have republished blog posts several times to correct one word---I know if I ever became a published author, I would lose my initial excited bliss over the fact that "People wanted to read me! I was Published!" if I found even one mistake. I would be moping, bitching at, and haranguing myself over one tiny misspelled word.

I have never thought of myself as a perfectionist--- don't get me wrong, I like perfection, I want perfection, but I want someone else to do it for me---but when I am reading/watching/eating/consuming something that was done by a professional I do expect as few mistakes as possible....I expect that from myself in my own area of expertise (okay don't have one, but if I did, I would expect perfection), thus I expect that from others. We all have bad days, but once again, in the publishing biz I assume that is the reason for there being a hierarchy of people to peruse an article before publishing...the author, the editor/editor's assistant, and possibly one more person before it even gets sent/printed/posted.

This seems such a silly thing, but even though I went back to the article two more times, I was editing instead of reading the content.....oh god! I am really weird! In fact I am currently wondering why it bothered me so much that I felt I had to write about it.

4 comments:

jd said...

Thank goodness, I`m not the only one.
I know I`m not,as I see many well written posts.
I too, have gone back,changed a comma,or a word that just did not accomplish its purpose.
A better way to say the same thing.
I`m not sure whether it`s perfectionism, or insecurity.
..................Jim

Phil said...

I'm the same way Sunny. I expect more from a publication, or a professional.

plano said...

Food for thought...

"Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren't distracted by the total lack of content in your writing." - Randy K. Milholland

Sunny Delight said...

:( so you my dear friend are telling me I have total lack of content!

Well pfffft! on you :P

love ya babes!