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!