Friday, February 6, 2015

Misspelling Misgivings

Fun facts: after numerous revisions and readings, both silently and aloud, mistakes are still being found. Some are small: like her instead of here. Some are huge.

Here are two beauties:

The first was pointed out by my husband and best reader—Copula instead of cupola. The first word refers to a connecting word, a particular form of the verb be. Add a couple of more letters and the meaning can enlarge into a whole of world of risqué. The second is an architectural feature. All kidding aside, it was a good mistake to find, since I was trying to describe a venerable old structure in an historic village with more than its share of prudes.

The odd thing, I swear I looked this up in the OED and online and I still got it wrong. I transposed the vowels while typing. Usually, I mess up the letters on the first word of a sentence. I used to catch myself shifting pronouns as well as letters. In general, it makes reading a little more difficult. I have to spend extra time going back over things to figure out what I’ve missed. What can I say; it is a unique talent to have and to live with.

The second was found by me after I submitted many, many query letters—Continuance instead of countenance. The first word as a legal term refers to postponement or adjournment. The second word, the one I really wanted, refers to a face or facial expression. Not as embarrassing, but still important for describing a portrait and major element of my novel.

Spell check was no help in these cases. Another pair of eyes attached to another brain might be useful, but that can’t always be depended upon either.

I listened to the Feb 6th edition of The Writer’s Almanac and when I later looked it up online I found this quote:

“Every worthwhile book contains many faults, and every worthwhile writer commits them.” –Eric Partridge

I think I’ll try to keep that in mind as I just keep slogging away.

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