Authors and editors have a responsibility to present the best possible product to their readers. A good team will locate and fix most errors and be able to present a polished product. It's easy to get words mixed up, particularly homophones. It's one of my pet peeves, possibly because I do it too. Surely though, a professional writer would make sure their work was checked for such things, and surely, their editor/s would know enough to pick them up.
I like reconstructed fairy tales and I've just read an anthology of some. A few of the stories have really annoyed me, though, and I've wondered if I've wasted my money buying the book. The story structures are fine, and the ideas are good. It's the words that have bothered me. Some examples from a couple of stories in the collection--they aren't all homophones.
Then denotes a progression. Something happened THEN something else happened. Than is a comparison. We are better THAN that.
The text: 'parents try to through a party'. No one in the writing and editing process picked the difference between through and throw?
Text: 'might now no qualms about'. Know fits with knowledge; now is time sensitive.
Text: 'Where they really going into'. This could just be a typing error, but someone should have picked it up before publication.
Text: 'took a movement to straighten'. I wouldn't have thought these two words would ever have been confused, but there you go.
Text: 'fingers found her grown made of blue velvet'. Okay, this one's a typo, but still.
Text: 'clamored from the water'. Not a typing error, but an easy one to check.
I find this one all the time. So many people seem unable to understand the difference between possessives and contractions.
One is a result or a noun, the other is the result of an action.
I could go on, but that would be allowing the rant to control me. As a side note: the first seven are from the same story in the anthology. The other stories represented had the same editor.
I haven't mentioned the name of the anthology, the authors or the editors because I don't think that's constructive. What is constructive is making people aware that these sorts of errors occur all the time but should be picked up before publication. Sometimes things are missed, but surely a short story should end up with much fewer than a dozen obvious problems with words and sentence structure (not mentioned in this post).
As a side note. If any of my readers find mixed up words or typing errors in my books, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know. I might not be able to fix it right away, but will certainly endeavour to do so in the next edition.
E E Montgomery
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