Daily Archives: October 31, 2010

A humbling experience

So you polish your prose until it’s sparkling, eliminating all mispellings and grammatical attrocities, such as the notorious confusion of they’re, there and their, then have friends read it to catch anything you’ve missed.  Then you submit it to a publisher, confident that all of those silly newbie mistakes have been eliminated.

Then you receive your galley proof from the publisher, full of correction marks.  No, I don’t mean things like, “Alphonso’s biceps aren’t big enough.”  I mean, “You wrote ‘His interest was peaked.’  This should be ‘piqued.'”  All through the manuscript.  In one instance, I even used the dreaded they’re, when I meant their!

Embarassing.  I used to ace my English exams.  I used to correct my fellow students’ papers, so they could resubmit them and get A’s.  I was once told by a college professor, “If I didn’t know you’d written this, I’d swear a college student couldn’t write like this.”

Now, suddenly I’m back in High School, being told that one has “tousled” hair — not “tussled” hair, “tussled” being a word that means they’re wrestling.  Also, it isn’t necessary to write “he thought to himself.”  The “to himself” is redundant, since you can’t think to someone else.  (At least, not in a Victorian romance.)

Ah, the humiliation. 

But its instructive.  And I’m glad to have an editor who notices such things.  I’ve read far too many ebooks with bad grammar and mispellings, and it’s far better to catch these things now, before it goes out the door.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Romance, Victorian, Writing