Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So I misspelled a word, big deal...wait, it IS a big deal

I think something has gone wrong in my brain, because I'm having crap luck at titles lately. But I digress. You guys didn't come here to listen to me rant about titles. No, you came to listen to me rant about spelling.

Wait, what?

Yes, I said spelling. Or, more importantly, spelling in your writing. Stay with me, folks. It won't be long (too late, right?). Just imagine that you're reading along in your absolute all-time favorite book ever and you come across a misspelled word. It's jarring, gut-wrenching, painful.

Much like this:

Yeah, it hurts to read, huh? Which is how it feels when you see a misspelled word in your absolute all-time favorite book ever. It hurts. It rips you out of that wonderful world you were in, where only you and those beautiful words exist, frolicking together in a meadow full of similes and metaphors and perfectly-placed adjectives. Basically, it stops your groove. And that sucks.

Now, do you want that in your own writing? Of course not! You don't want someone to be totally engrossed in your work (whether it's a critique partner or an agent or an editor or the public), head-over-heels in love with your prose, only to be yanked from the abyss of blissful reading by something as trivial as a missing "P" (see photo above). And you certainly don't want to boast with pride that "Yes, this is MY book" when the contents contain something as blatantly obvious as this:

Yeah, just when you thought it couldn't get worse. At least that first one was done by hand. This was printed, people. Printed. Like, on a computer, where it was probably looked at by several people. So, so sad.

Please don't get me wrong. In no way am I condemning those books that make it to print with misspelled words. Believe me, my debut novel is littered with them. It happens because, in the end, we are all human. But, if you can in any way contribute to the betterment of your printed book, don't you want to? So start now. Don't rely on spellcheck to verify your words are spelled correctly. Print that sucker out and check each word yourself. Sure it'll take a long time, but at least it will save you from this kind of embarrassment:


Jordan Dane said...

OMG, this is so funny, Jamie. I also like to read my daily edits aloud, but I can still find the occasional "in mass" for "en masse."

Billboard/signs & TV copy mishaps really grab me though. Can you imagine driving by your mistake everyday or watching your expensive commercial spot on TV, seeing your mistake LEAP off the screen, hoping no one notices? A constant reminder.

Even if you turn in a perfect book (which we all like to think we do--HA!), the copy editors or someone else in the print process can add an imperfection. That's why I never read my books again after they are in print. I'm too afraid of finding ANYTHING that will burst my bubble.

Anonymous said...

I hope those signs got changed immediately lol. My rival high school spray painted their name on the football field and misspelled their mascot. That was so funny reading about in our paper.

Dan Haring said...

Great post Jamie! Sometimes I hate my brain for automatically fixing typos as I read my stuff. It's crazy how we can read over the same thing many times and not catch the mistakes.

But I think the real lesson to be learned is make sure your tattoo is spelled correctly! http://www.mypointless.com/2009/09/even-more-bad-and-misspelled-tattoos.html