I was scrolling through my work-in-progress the other day when three words caught my eye. “Get me off.” I couldn’t remember having one of my characters demand that from the other. Nothing wrong with that line, but how odd that I couldn’t remember something I had written on a current project. I stopped to review that section.
My character wasn’t talking to another guy. He was talking to a dog.
Wait. The line was “Get off me.”
What a difference the order of the words make.
I hope nothing like that ever slips by me.
And if it does, I hope to God my beta reader, critique partner, editor, the copy editor, or the proofer catches it.
Thanks to all those hardworking people behind the scenes who help an author put out the best work they can. And who save them from embarrassing typos like this.
Yeah, that may not quite be the story you are trying to tell!
So true, Jay. Not quite what I was going for in that scene. It’s amazing how when writers read their own work, they usually read what they meant to write, not what they actually wrote. Frustrating but shows how important it is to have another person read it over.
I am an editor for a government health agency. I get a lot of “pubic health” crossing my desk. Spell check won’t always save you!
Cute story, Sloan. And oh-so-true. Sometimes is funny (or embarrassing) what gets by our eyes, because our mind thinks it knows what’s there.
It’s amazing how the brain will see what it wants sometimes… :)
HA! Hope you didn’t rack your brains too long before you figured it out. Funny Story.
jay: Oh, that’s funny. Well, pubic health is important too. So true about spell check. That’s why a careful read through and at least one extra set of eyes before submitting a story to a publisher can help an author look more professional.
Connie: Thanks. I remember reading in Stephen King’s On Writing that he recommends a break between writing a story and editing it. That time away from the manuscript probably helps with these kinds of errors in addition to content revisions. We’re less likely to read what we thought we wrote if we can’t remember the exact phrasing.
Chris: So true. I’m always amazed at those tests that show we don’t even need the letters of words in the correct order to be able to understand a sentence so long as the first and last letter of every word are correct.
Leigh: LOL. Yeah, I caught my mistake pretty quickly or else I’d have been wondering where my mind was when I’d written that scene.