Wednesday, March 24, 2021

An editor's (not very serious) rant

 Life has kept me busy lately, which is why my last post was well over a month ago. The conference went great and I am busy with work. Requests for manuscript evaluations and content edits are steadily pouring in, and my schedule is full through June.

And then there's the future to prepare for. We are going to be hauling our boat to Washington state in 2022 (we get to spend another year in SF Bay Area before that--Yay!) so we took a road trip up to look at boatyards and talk to boat haulers. It was lovely spring weather, with only a couple of days of rain. We hiked, explored, drove a lot, and generally stayed away from everyone but an old friend or two, who I visited with from a distance outdoors. No, I have not gotten a shot yet!

Today, though, I'm back at my desk, editing and sighing. I love my work, but I do get tired of correcting the same old punctuation errors. I usually go on a bit about missing commas, but the funny thing is that today I am finding extra commas. Lots of them. So, here's a good tip: If you can add an "and" between two adjectives, or reverse them, then you can use a comma instead of the "and" there. So you would not put a comma in "bright white Thunderbird," because you would NOT say "white and bright" unless you were writing copy for a toothpaste ad).

On another subject, there are certain words that almost every author I've ever worked with has misspelled once or twice in their manuscripts; these misused and abused words crop up in the work of the aspiring and the (nearly) expiring author. And there's a very good reason why: they are homophones—words that sound just like the word you meant to type‚ so they won't be corrected by spellchecker software, or easily caught by reading your work aloud. 

Wikipedia has a long list of these commonly misspelled homophones here. For today, I'm going to limit myself to four sets of misspelled words: Peak, peek, and pique; Poor, pore, and pour; Teem and team; reign and rein. These seem to occur in my clients' work more than any others—perhaps because they sound so darn good, whether they are spelled correctly or not!

I suggest you search for these in your manuscript and see whether you've used them correctly. Peek means to look furtively; a peak is a mountaintop or metaphorical height; and pique is a feeling. You don't pour over documents, you pore over them, poor pour yourself a drink! And there's no "i" in team, but there is an "a," though the teeming masses in the stadium might not know how to spell either one. I reign supreme here at my desk, but I'll rein myself in from further examples.
That's my rant for the day—now, back to work...
hasta pronto!