A little broomstick lace today
Monday July 20th 2009, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Life,Non-Knitting

I never knew which book to turn into *the* book so it never actually got put in one. Yet.  Once I do, that copy probably has to go up on the shelf for admiration purposes only.  The thing waits.

What a difference an s makes.

I know, I know, I butcher the quotation marks thing on my blog all the time.  That’s not entirely pure laziness; I usually only use them when I’m very sure I’m quoting someone verbatim, and given my writer’s ear, I do tend to remember emotionally powerful conversations very well.

But.  I had a job as a copy editor years ago, checking for grammar and spelling and usage back when Spell Checker was not yet written and continuing for awhile after it was; common sense tells you it’s more than just the spelling that gets hashed.  My mother used to giggle a bit at the mental images conjured by every time the Washington Post would talk about a “grizzly accident.” Not a whole lot of big brown bears in downtown DC streets or the freeways nearby.

So it was a combination of obnoxiousness and hopeful helpfulness on my part:  the first time I noted a typo in a Harry Potter book I thought, well, it’s a shame they didn’t catch that when everything else is so well done. Okay.  But when I noted a plot change from one book to a later one due to an errant s, that was just too much, and I noted a second typo as well and wrote it down along with the plot error. Scholastic got a note from me.

Never trust something where you can’t see where it keeps its brain!  In one book, one of the Weasley parents is warning Ginny* that. In a later book, the line is a flashback and a memory–and Mr. Weasley has become Mrs. Weasley.

Or the other way around. The response letter from Scholastic is dated nine years ago, so forgive me for not being sure now.

Either way, their thank you note included a signed bookplate and picture from JK Rowling. I was surprised and delighted when it came; as an author myself now, that bookplate especially means all the more to me now.

I think I’ve answered my own question. I need to go re-read the whole series, find out which book the s error snuck in, and put the plate in that one. No fair skimming ahead to find out.

*Thank you, Diana, got that corrected.  Ginny not Gina (smacking forehead–of course!)  Okay, now, that’s funny!

20 Comments so far
Leave a comment

There is a very l o o o o g series of books by diana Gabaldon, about which I posted some while back. One of the villains (female) is described over and over as having green eyes. Since there are many, many months between books, I was not completely sure, but I thought the woman was initially described in book one as having gray eyes. It annoyed me so much that I finally went back to search it out. Sure enough! Gray! I emailed the author. Here is her response: “Yes, I knew about the variance and it was something my inexperienced copyeditor was supposed to catch but didn’t. She was too busy trying to tell me how I needed to change entire passages to notice “minor details” such as the eye color blunder. Needless to say, this has also been explained in THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION which you may not have read as yet. Now, will this correction ever be made in subsequent editions? Probably not. There are several million copies of OUTLANDER floating around the world and since the correction was noted in the COMPANION, it won’t be cost productive to correct and reprint the book. Now if the book ever goes out of print (very doubtful as sales continue to be steady) and is re-optioned, then that is a possibility — but I’m not holding my breath. As for the inept copyeditor – well, for whatever reason she is no longer with the publishing house.”


Tech support: What kind of computer do you have?
Female customer: A white one…

Tech support: Click on the ‘my computer’ icon on to the left of the screen.
Customer: Your left or my left?

Comment by Don Meyer 07.20.09 @ 2:55 pm

Perfect summer reading when the days are long and hot. I may join you! Most recently I was on an Anne McCaffrey reading bender but I need something new (and fun).

Comment by Michelle 07.20.09 @ 4:21 pm

I think you meant Ginny instead of Gina :-}
If you like, I can help. I am currently re-reading them as my bed time book (for the umpteenth time)
Just restarted the series this week, and am in book 2 (where the first instance of Mr. Weasley warning about thoughtful items comes about.)
I was thrilled this week to get a personal response to an email I sent Harley Jane Kozak.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.20.09 @ 4:49 pm

I used to be proud of spelling prowess – until I learned to type, and then I discovered what a poor speller I was, and how there were some words that I habitually spelt incorrectly. Pride goeth before a fall.

Our son is dyspraxic, and has a lot of difficulty with spelling – it has made me more forgiving about something I used to feel was ‘easy peasy’. Now in the days of the Internet, incorrect spelling can put you in the Land of No, incorrectly spelt words, and you can proceed no further down the track, however, I do love my spell checker, and as I spend my days typing oncology and rheumatology work I love that my spell checker gives me the names of drugs I use constantly, and I love the Internet for being able to check on the drug name spelling – no longer spending 40 minutes a time getting sidetracked while initially looking for a drug spelling. Life can get better and better.

Comment by StellaMM 07.20.09 @ 5:17 pm

I must confess to having read ALL the Harry’s via audiobook while commuting to and from work. Once I was so engrossed I blew by my exit and noted it at the next – too late to that that one I had to go 11.5 long miles to the third. Amazingly, due to my habit of always arriving early, I got to work on time, a mere 30 or so miles later. We wont’ talk about my being an accident waiting to happen, shall we?

Comment by Leslie 07.20.09 @ 5:43 pm

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article that noted the challenges to Shastokovich in composing his music under the yolk of Soviet oppression. Somebody really scrambled that one.

Comment by LauraN 07.20.09 @ 6:51 pm

Yeah, just cause spellcheck exists does not mean people should stop thinking. Grizzly vs grisly, to, too and two …etc drive me crazy

Comment by Carol 07.20.09 @ 7:03 pm

Those were excellent ones to catch!! What a cool bookplate to have. 🙂
I found a couple in an otherwise really decent knitting novel. They evidently had size 20 needles, and also the yoke of a sweater was a yolk…

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 07.20.09 @ 7:23 pm

Their, they’re and there! Your and you’re are the ones that really get me going – take a second and think about, people!! I’m not saying I am perfect but there are some words that should be ingrained in memory from being used often enough 🙂

Comment by Cathy (catsandyarn on ravelry) 07.20.09 @ 7:39 pm

I need to reread the HP series because it has been a while. The audiobooks are fantastic – love Jim Dale’s voice!

Some kids in an English class at my school caught an error on a cereal box (not a serial box), wrote to the manufacturer and got it corrected. They were thrilled to have the error acknowledged.

And don’t get me started about apostrophes, possessives and contractions!

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 07.20.09 @ 8:08 pm

How cool is that… A signed bookplate. I read the series again when the last book came out. I was completely whisked away yet again…wonderful.

Comment by TripletMom 07.20.09 @ 10:37 pm

I can soooooooooo relate to what you mean! I am a translator-editor and finding typos in books (heck, in any publication) makes me react every time. I am yet to write to a publishing house, though, to let them know of my finding…

I applaud you for doing what you did! I am glad you got acknowledged too!

Please take good care of yourself! 🙂

Comment by Suzanne 07.21.09 @ 5:16 am

JKR broke my heart in the last book, and I haven’t re-read the series since. But yes, I recall that quote bothered me at the time too, although I didn’t catch that it was later shifted to the other parent!

Comment by Channon 07.21.09 @ 6:01 am

I’m impressed, both by your memory and that nifty keepsake acknowledgement! The comments were fun to read, too. (Psst, Diana, no fair giving Alison the answer when you come to it!)

Comment by LynnM 07.21.09 @ 8:18 am

Spell check is a fickle mistress–there are too many words that sound alike but are spelled differently and spell check does NOT catch them!

Comment by Abby 07.21.09 @ 9:34 am

Okay, I’m back. Regarding your, you’re — its, it’s — a trick I was taught a gazillion years ago is this: If the sentence is meant to say “you are” then use you’re. The apostrophe is the missing “a”. If the sentence is meant to say “it is” then use “it’s”. The apostrophe is the missing “i”. Same for “they’re”. Means “they are”. As to “their”, “there” — If the sentence is meant to say “not here”, mentally take off the “t”. Are you left with “here”? That’s the one to use.

You’re welcome. (You are welcome).

Comment by Don Meyer 07.21.09 @ 9:55 am

Oh, you’ve hit a nerve! The one that always gets my goat is “its” and “it’s”! The apostrophe always stands for a missing letter, so you should always ask yourself what letter(s) is(are) missing. So many people use “it’s” as a possessive because an apostrophe followed by an “s” turns most nouns and names into possessives, but if you try to provide the missing letter in “it’s” when using it as a possessive, you get a nonsensical statement. Incidentally, when we add the apostrophe and “s” after a name, the missing letters are “hi” — the word should be “his,” as in “John his book.” That got to be incredibly cumbersome to say, hence the apostrophe and our current use of the possessive. Now I think I’ll take my nerdy self back to knitting! Hope you are doing well.

Comment by shadylady1216 07.21.09 @ 10:11 am

That’s awesome. How cool! I’ve got an eye for that sort of stuff as well, but I’ve never thought to write to the publisher.

Comment by Alicia 07.21.09 @ 11:16 am

In a Debbie Macomber novel, a neighbor drives up in his truck, and then leaves in his car. (Or vice-versa, don’t have the book with me.) It was so jarring to the story I had immersed in, I had to flip back and check right then.

My dispatcher at work often types “glasses clean” when she means “glass is clean.”

Makes me smile every time as I think “Does the copier have glasses?”

Comment by DebbieR 07.21.09 @ 1:17 pm

Ah, yes. I always end up catching typos myself — a legacy of copy-editing journal papers at one point. One of my favorites on NPR, though, was an interview with a father who described his daughter as “running a total mok”. Heh.

Comment by Jocelyn 07.21.09 @ 2:20 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>