Howlers

I have a ‘To Read’ list as long as my arm waiting patiently on my e-reader, so what have I decided to read? My own book, obviously!

Ever since Dory’s Avengers was released in the summer, I have been torn between the urge to check through and make sure everything’s perfect, and the urge to stick my head in the sand. Finally urge number one gained the upper hand. Every time I pick up the hard copy of Dory’s Avengers I’m unable to get past the stroking/sniffing/grinning-like-a-loony stage and actually read the thing. Therefore I purchased the e-book – yes, I really have bought my own book in two different formats. Well, one does all one can to boost one’s sales…

Did I think I could relax of an evening, e-reader in hand, enjoying the fruits of my labours before settling down to sleep? Well, yes, actually.

Was I wrong? Yep!

Since writing Dory’s Avengers I have learnt a lot about copy editing. While going through the editing process, with plenty of help from an independent editor of course, I found I had an aptitude for it, and recently I’ve gained quite a bit of experience too. The down side is that I now edit everything, and I’m particularly critical of my own work. My relaxing reading time has degenerated into something along the lines of: read, read, read, should have been a comma there, read, read, I’d have used a colon, read, read, read, not sure about that sentence, re-read, read…

OH NO!!!!!

There, shining like a Belisha beacon, leaping from the page to slap me round the face, was – a split infinitive.

‘A what?’ said my partner.

A split infinitive. A grammatical howler. A big, fat faux pas. For years I’ve laughingly joined in with the grammar police, mocking the ‘To boldly go’ howler that precedes every Star Trek episode, only to find: ‘Didn’t I tell you to never, ever bring him here?’ in my very own Dory’s Avengers. My brain made a frantic attempt to cut out the ‘never, ever’ and paste it anywhere but between the ‘to’ and the ‘bring’, but to no avail. The split infinitive remains in my book for posterity, lurking like a big spider – I don’t always see it, but I’m constantly aware that it’s there.

‘No one other than you is going to notice,’ said my partner reasonably, but there’s no reasoning with a traumatised author.

Last night, I found another split infinitive. I howled!

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7 thoughts on “Howlers

  1. Bless you. I know the feeling well. But look, keep calm. If it’s only a split infinitive that grabbed you, there’s worse things that happen at sea, as they say. Besides, there’s no longer any clear grammatical reason why the infinitive shouldn’t be split. I seem to recall, from a linguistics class of old, that the ‘purist’ prescription to not split the infinitive (or even, *not to split* the infinitive) harks back to some ancient Latin rule that either no longer applies to English or was never relevant to begin with. So I really wouldn’t grow any grey hairs over this one. HUGS! 🙂

    • Confession time: I included a split infinitive, purely by accident, in this blog post, and only noticed it a split second before hitting the publish button. HOWL!!!!
      I know I’m over critical, and I know no one’s likely to notice. I wouldn’t notice a split infinitive in anyone else’s book (unless I’ve got my editor’s hat on), but I’m such a perfectionist with my own work. No wonder it takes me forever to get anything written!
      I hope all is going well with you latest project. I’m looking forward to reading it, but I guess I’ll just have to patiently wait – LOL 🙂

      • HAHA you crack me up. You’ll only have to patiently wait for another… oooh… two weeks! All will be revealed soon!! And then you can sit down to leisurely read. (OG even I didn’t like that last one, LOL, that’s really pushing it a bit… haw haw)

  2. I did find a typo/error when I was reading, but was hesitant to mention it in the initial warm glow of launch… Page 305, first para. Its almost invisible (and I had to re-read several times just now as I’d turned down the page corner but not marked it specifically). Obviously as “violent content” is a normal turn of phrase (and also conveniently describes the action you are describing), your brain just skips over it quite happily,,, but should be “contact”… no? x (I can hear the HOWLING already…)
    x

    • What can I say? Oops! Plenty of authors warned me that I would find errors had slipped through the net, no matter how many times the manuscript was edited, so I should have been prepared for this. You’re quite right, it should say ‘contact’. In my brain it DOES say ‘contact’. In my book it says ‘content’. HOWL!!!!! x

      • This one is totally understandable I think… I *knew* there was a mistake on that page this morning and still had to read it through four times before I found it again. I must have been doing the ‘magic eye’ thing with my brain when I first read it. But this is why my stuff mostly never gets read by anyone but me. Too bloody paranoid about this kind of thing… 😉

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