Monday, 16 January 2012

I'm a professional editor and my fiction is full of typos ... GAH!

When it comes to my own work ... I'm hopeless ... 

Source

I can pull other texts apart to the point of recognizing when an apostrophe is backwards in the fine-print, but I cannot, for the life of me, seem to catch something as bold as a glaringly misspelled word in my own work ...

PS: ... I've also realized that I use way too many ellipsis ... ... ... and way too many italicized words. And they are so annoying to get rid of! :o)

What is it about our own work that makes us blind to imperfection? You think it has anything to do with love? Or could it have something to do with our side and rear view mirrors creating way to many blind spots? Or is it ... just what the beggar says?


What say you?

45 comments:

  1. Love this! I'm the same way. I do this for a living, and yet my own writing sometimes resembles the coherency level of a five year old. I forget punctuation, I overuse words, I sometimes forget whole words or phrases, it's embarrassing. Glad to know I'm not alone. ;)

    p.s. you forgot the word 'to' between seem and catch (I couldn't help myself. Feel free to smack me!)

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  2. Ha! See??? Thanks, I'm gonna fix that. :o)

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  3. When I check my own work I often miss things. I think it's because my brain is reading what I know I wanted to say. I force myself to slow down to one .. word .. at .. a .. time and I still miss stuff.

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  4. Yeah, I really think that in my case it's that I'm way too close to the manuscript, maybe I'm looking too hard for all that stuff I'm desperate to correct. LOL. Luckily for me, I have a fabulous mother who is excellent at finding any or all mistakes. She will totally be my proof reader when the time comes!

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  5. I always think a second set of eyes on your writing is helpful. ☺

    Funny you posted this today, as there's a new site that went live this morning: www.forloveofwords.net

    It's for proofreading. The rates are reasonable. Maybe that will alleviate some of the stresses that come with writing?

    Happy Monday! ☺

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  6. This was awesome! I think I become too connected with the manuscript that I miss the easiest of errors! It drives me mad when my editor shoves it back at me and they're things I'd fix for those I beta for!

    It's crazy when your eyes aren't working the way you'd hope!

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  7. Part of it is that we're so close to the words and the story, which makes our brains lose some alertness to the problems. I sympathize with your ellipses addiction (I have an addiction to parentheses).

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  8. I'd say just about everything but my biggest blindness is logic in some of the plotlines. Thank God for beta readers!

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  9. Ha! I'm with you. As a former copy editor, I can pick other people's work apart... but mine? Nope!

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  10. Oh, I can relate to this! I think it is as the blind man says. Thank goodness for friends who read! :)

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  11. I know exactly what you're talking about! When I sent my book off to betas, I was horrified at the typos they caught! One in particular I had to giggle over. I've got a character named Wes in my book and, at one point, instead of typing "was," I actually typed Wes! HOW did I miss that?

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  12. I think it's just a matter of perspective. Like looking through a microscope, you can't see everything around you. I know that when I re-read my own books, I have so many things in my head, so much knowledge of the world and the story that can't possibly fit into the book, my mind makes up things that aren't there, or skips things that are.

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  13. I can be the same way. I teach online writing classes for teens and adults and need to be mindful of everything I write, down to a quick email, and I still miss things sometimes. I think I need an editing secretary. :)

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  14. I'm the same way. I think it's because our handy dandy inner editor knows what we intended to write, and conveniently "sees" it the way we meant it to be instead of how our idiot fingers typed it.

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  15. I love that illustration! :D Ha! And yeah. I think it's just the creative process. You can't be focusing on the mechanics when you're doing big picture stuff. But I'm sure if you did the whole "put it in a drawer for a month" trick, you'd catch everything on another read-through. Yes? :o) <3

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  16. We hear what we're trying to say, so we see what we want to see instead of what's there. When we look at someone else's work, it's new to us. No preconceptions (of perfection).

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  17. I agree with Theresa. Usually I know what I mean so I don't see what's actually there. So frustrating!

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  18. I'm awful about my own stuff.

    I either believe my own stuff is way better than it is or way worse. In reality, when I go back and read old stuff later on, it's all pretty much the same quality.

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  19. It's amazing how we can be so objective with others' work, yet not with our own. I think it's because we are in our own heads, while reading someone else's work we are not. I have a hard time to pull myself out of my head, my ideas, while editing. That's another reason betas are priceless. They see what I cannot.

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  20. We see what we intended to write rather than what's actually on the page.

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  21. I think we are all of us mostly blind when it comes to our own stuff. After all, WE know what WE want/mean to say so that's what we read, whether it's there or not.

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  22. I'm also a fan of the ... ... ...

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  23. I think our brain knows what it is suppose to say and how it is suppose to look and makes it so regardless of what is on the page.

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  24. So glad I'm not the only one. I am a fast typist, but make lots of mistakes and when I go back to find them, they slip by me.

    But when I edit others' work, I'm like a nazi with a red pen.

    Seriously messed up.

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  25. Have the same problem. Hire an editor is my solution.
    Karen

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  26. Hi, Jessica. I keep finding typos and such in my own work because half the time I read, I'm seeing what I think I typed and not what's actually there.

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  27. Hi,

    It's the bane of a writers life typos: notheng worse then thinking one has git the "how to " down to a fine fart.

    I sweat blood and bl**dy tears over my paperback and then, then, after going through the pre-print proof with critical eye word-blindness showed itself in two minor mistakes per novella (collection of 3) unnoticed until after it went to press. I swear I could have shot myself. That is, until I received a pre-print copy of best-selling author Jo Beverly's February (penguin)release, of which I had to review for Romantic Fiction Magazine: it had the same amount of mistakes. Hee hee, ha ha. Kind of made my day!

    See, even top proof readers suffer word-blindness.

    best
    F

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  28. You've just reminded all of us why editors are needed :-) It's almost impossible to edit our own work. Just get the words on the page and let someone else fine tune - because darling, your work NEEDS to be on the page. Even with "slight" imperfections. <3

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  29. I think its our blind spots- our sub-conscious bling spots not letting us see the whole picture. That's why we have crit partners and editors and all to show us what we missed!

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  30. Holly is right - we see what's supposed to say and totally miss that we said it wrong. Plus we miss more when editing on a screen than we do on the printed page. Don't know why.

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  31. I swear the moment I turn the computer off, my commas walk about my pages and letters rearrange themselves. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :D

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  32. It's a brain-trick. We know what it's supposed to say, so our brains auto-correct what we're looking at. That's why God gave us beat readers. and writing groups.

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  33. What Alex, Southpaw, and Will said - the text is a transcript of what's in our heads, and when we read, we see it as we intended it to be, and not the typo-filled transcript.

    Plus, everyone else is seeing it for the first time, with no preconceptions.

    Which is why I should have someone else cut my hair.

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  34. Apparently it's a survival thing. Our minds can only pay attention to so many things at one time. When it's rereading it thinks 'I know this, so I might as well do something else' meaning you start to skim.

    I'm ruthless when I edit other people's work, but I'm also not so great with my own.

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  35. I used to be a very good speller until technology made my brain lazy. Now I have trouble spelling even basic words. Thank goodness and curse Microsoft spell-checker.

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  36. Maybe it's because we're so close to our own work. As long as we eventually realize these things and fix our bad habits.

    Hope you're having a fabulous week! :)

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  37. The phrase "Can't see the forest for the trees" comes to mind. I think when it comes to our own work, we spend some much more time on plot and characters, world-building...creation, that we lose sight of the technical. I've seen it in musicians, too. They could hear technical flaws in others, but found it hard to pick those flaws from their own singing. Thus the tape recorder became an invaluable tool. I suppose critique partners are a writer's invaluable tool. (Though I hate to describe a person as a tool! You know what I mean though, I hope.)

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  38. Though I'm pretty good at catching my own errors, I once sent a full manuscript to an agent with a huge typo...IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH! UGH!

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  39. I swear I don't do this in my fiction, but when it comes to blog comments...I'm! addicted! to! exclamation! points!! :)

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  40. Same problem. I have an editor/friend checking my final edit. And oops - there's still typos.

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  41. Ah, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who has this problem, who happens to be an editor too. Our brain corrects things way too easily.

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  42. i'd like to know why it is we can know a grammar rule perfectly for years and then suddenly become unsure about it, or forget it's rules.
    WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN?!

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  43. This is absolutely my issue! I can edit other people's work, but mine is always a mess no matter how many times I read it.

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  44. Excellent point. I guess I am just too close to my own writing, but I know what you mean. I have the same problem.

    Check out my blogfest when you have some time. I have some cool prizes including a kindle fire e-reader.

    Take care,
    Melissa

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“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris