Monday, June 11, 2012


I just sent my Galleys back to my editor late last night. The process wasn't nearly as intimidating as I had feared, but it was a bit frustrating to discover some of the unbelievable mistakes I made.

I've always been fairly decent at spelling. There are times when my old brain has a major malfunction and I can't find the word I want. Actually, that happens more and more often as time goes by. And there was that time when the word 'piqued' totally sailed off to another world. I couldn't even look it up in the dictionary because I was in a hurry, and I couldn't get past the 'p'. The thought of doing a homonym search never even came into play, either. It was simply gone.

But the errors I made in my manuscript galley were worse, at least in my mind, than forgetting a correct spelling. I used a particular word sixteen times throughout the length of the book, and failed to consistently spell it correctly. I got it right about a third of the time. The worst part of it is that I never had a doubt as to the proper spelling. I just neglected to do it.

To make matters even worse than they already were, I didn't even catch this error the first time through. It wasn't until I thought I had everything in order that I discovered this mistake that should have been obvious from across the room. 

How about you? Are there particular words that give you trouble? That make you pause every time you start to type them? I'd love to hear about it. Or do you have any little tricks when you are editing that improve your chances of catching words that may be spelled correctly, but that you've used in the wrong context, like piqued or peaked? Sheesh, I still can't get over that one.

Have a great day, everyone. I hope you accomplish everything you set out to do today.



Jan Flores said...

Hi Cordelia
I feel your pain. I just found out that I misspelled a German word in the dedication to Sweeter than Wine. I wrote "gutter" when it should have been "guter". Fortunately it didn't change the meaning of the word (I would have slashed my wrists over that!), but embarrassing all the same.
Jan Flores

Nancy DiMauro said...


I'm right there with you. Apparently you can use "said" enough times that it starts becoming visible (and annoying to your editor :)) For a lot of commonly misused words (like effect v. affect) I rely heavily on Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again. I try to search for all of them before sending in the MS but I always miss some. It's humbling that no matter how often you go through the work, there's always a mistake.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Cordelia,
Don't beat up on yourself too much. When we read, we expect to see what we think we wrote and not what's actually there. After editing for a while, this is what happens, especially when it begins to feel like we know the text word for word. This is why I do several print out of my books. It gets expensive, but it works for me.

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement. I hate to admit it, but I'm not sure I ever want to read this book again! I found that if I start at the end and read backwards, one paragraph at a time, that it helps me catch things. But I obviously didn't catch all of it. Now I'm beginning to understand why we can read those silly paragraphs that are all mishmashed up without any trouble.

Sharon Ledwith said...

I found some stinkers AFTER my release. They made me laugh, so it was a plus. Smile and don't take yourself seriously, you'll (and me!) will get better and betterer!

Margaret said...

This is funny. There are certain words that I have a brain fart every single time and I have to check myself on the spelling. (?)

I also have similar feelings after having read my book so many times. I can't imagine anyone else will want to read it, but then, they haven't read it 20 times. It'll be new to them. :)

Looking forward to reading your baby!

Vonnie said...

Cordelia, as you can see from the replies, we've all been through this. It's strange how you can read and recite aloud and turn yourself into a pretzel yet STILL make mistakes. And boy, I know what you mean about not wanting to read the book again. Enough already.

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

I wonder if it would help if I tried having the program read the book aloud to me. Would I catch the mistakes then? Hmmmm. It might be worth it. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who does this.

Joanna Fay said...

Hi Cordelia,

I managed to use an unsual word twice in the first two paragraphs of scene 2, Ch 1 of my novel that has just been released, which also happened to be the Excerpt! Argh...didn't even notice it until reading the galley. Caught in the nick of time!

Joanna Fay said...

Haha...but *did* see that I just wrote 'unsual' instead of 'unusual'. :)

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Joanna - I didn't even catch that one concerning unusual. I was ready to hit that send button to return my galley when I caught mine. But since I used it 16 times throughout the book, I had to go through the entire galley again. But at least that's one error that won't go out! Thanks for all the lovely comments.

Anonymous said...

Funny after I hit send is when the glaring errors come to light! I'm in the line edits stage, just waiting, but some repeated words and things that could have been better said are rearing their ugly heads. So, closely-eyed galleys before completion are the real gambit? I guess they catch items with new eyes, and are more thorough than spell-check! Glad you made it through your galleys process, Cordelia!

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

You know, I have a theory I'd like to test. On my next novel, I'd like the galleys to come out first. That would save me a lot of time and a huge amount of "Oh, No" moments.

Thanks so much for stopping by, C.K.

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