I spent the last few days going through book one of King Rolen’s Kin, doing the edits my UK editor had asked for.
Before I sent off the manuscript I read and re-read it. I had my husband read it, then I corrected it. I had my son, the mad-keen fantasy reader, read it and then I corrected it. Then I printed it up and read it and corrected it again.
It is amazing the silly little things that get past you. And then there are things you could just kick yourself for doing. For instance, all these years I’ve been writing about oriole windows. Not oriel windows. The first one is a type of bird.
And I had everyone drinking burgundy. I thought that was a type of wine, not specific brand, named after a place in France. Well, I knew it was a place in France but I thought it was also a type of red wine. Sigh.
A big thank you to my editor for spotting these things!
Then there are commas. You might gather from the title of this post that I am rather fond of commas. I know grammatically, there are places where it is optional whether you use them or not. And I guess I was one of those people who opted in, rather than out.
I find myself mentally putting commas into the pages of printed books. I also find myself reading happily away then, when I come across something that just looks wrong, I feel like I’ve tripped over it. It throws me out of the story.
We’ve been having a discussion on the VISION list about tricky words like ‘affect and effect’ or ‘that and which’. Here’s a web site. If you scroll down, you’ll see explanations for their use.
For instance I have a thing about ‘lay and lie’. I keep seeing it used in books and it sounds wrong to me. Chickens lay eggs, people lie down.
Then there’s the thing with apostrophes. I see them used where they shouldn’t be — on building signs, where people should know better. I get the urge to go around and correct the grammar on signs. It’s really rather sad. And don’t get me started on ‘it’s and its’.
Are there words that trip you up repeatedly? Do you have a thing about commas?