Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Bearing in mind that it takes X number of muscles to smile but only four to bitch-slap someone up the side of the head, I'm going to rant nasty this morning while waiting for my eyes to uncross.
About The Correctors. The Finger Pointers.
We've all met them hither and yon. You know, those Annoying Spelling Cops who haste to correct some typo or spelling mistake some poor sod made in a comments section. Those occasional do-gooders who pounce with righteous zeal on fumble fingers - note, usually on an industry blog.
Why do they do it? Are they repressed copy editors? Or is it a competition complex? To point out, just in case anybody speed-reading carelessly missed it, their superior skills in comparison with another writer?
One is sometimes seriously tempted to inquire - Yahoo message board style - if they cried when they weren't made hall monitor in middle school.
Now, everyone can make mistakes. Even industry types - agents and editors - make mistakes in their posts. In fact I was delighted to notice that Peter Stothard (whom I read with moving lips) of the Times Literary Supplement made a typo on his blog . However, you will not often see the Correctors succumb to a fit of lese-majeste and point out those minor errors and omissions.
They confine their eagle eye to other writers.
Well, guess what, my golden ones, the publishing world is not focused on a couple of febrile posts by nobodies on a comment board. Agents are not poised like avenging velociraptors with little black books in claw noting who blew a word on their blogs. Or who noticed and corrected it. Sorry to dent the narcissism, but they will not automatically and forever damn the hapless writer as careless and incompetent. Or be impressed by you.
When running through # 111,068 out of a million queries/covers/samples, agents and editors will only pay attention if that individual query/cover/sample has typos or atrocious spelling. Your purifying efforts are probably for naught. Too bad.
So put a sock on it.
Let us screw ourselves without outside help.


Robyn said...

Point well taken, but I hate the fact that Blogger has no edit button. Which I need, since I can look like a total doofus with very little effort.

Bernita said...

Sometimes I've considering removing a post via trash icon and re-posting sans typos.
Then I say in phonetic Korean "bah peng yah" which someone told me once loosely translates into "Oh hell, why worry."

Elektra said...

I confess: that's me. Not on Blogger or fora, or really anywhere else online (though I have been known to write in to major companies whose websites are just chock-ful of spelling and grammar mistakes). But I really have whipped out a pen and corrected signs and flyers (only printed ones, though. Vandalism is still off the list). I can't help it; representatives for places like college bookstores and libraries should be able to type up a simple announcement without choosing the wrong homophone three or four different times. Or at least using spell-check. Greatful is not a word.

Bernita said...

No, not you.
Companies are fair game.

Elektra said...


Muse said...

I use to rite real good. Then I taught in a university for a decade. Now its like I cant spel anything. U know?

(I mark typos in books I read and have contemplated writing in outrage to publishers of same. But slipshot typos in informal work, blogs, or e-mails? I like the familiarity of them, the sense that we can all .. um .. loosen our knickers a little bit. )

Elektra said...

I commented this on Miss Snark's blog a while back, but my Del Rey copy of The Fellowship of the Ring says:
One Ring to rule them all
One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all
And in the darkness bid them.

It makes me laugh every time I see it

Bernita said...

That's what happens sometimes, Elektra, one is so focused on whether it's "ance" or "ence' that one misses the easy ones.
Good one, Muse.
I blame too much internet for loosening my not-perfect grasp on my lingua materna. You can see 'street" spelled "streat" only so many times before it affects you. There are rope burns on my wrist from a bungee-tethered Mirriam-Webster - and still I screw up.

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