Monday, 26 September, 2011

*face palms*

You know I mean you’re, right? It caused me great pain to leave the title like that.

Warning: Vocabulary, spelling and grammar rant. It may be a bit long for some, but it’s under 1,500 words. That’s quite a feat for me.

Caution: Content contains profanity, but is not profanity laden. More than likely you’ve heard worse from teenagers and/or your own children.

May be TL;DR for some. You be the judge.


One of the things that was drilled (dare I say beaten?) into me was the need to be able to spell correctly. My grammar sucks in regards to sentence structure and more often than not, my sentences are rife with dangling participles and conjugations that don’t match. I also change tenses in a sentence. Frequently. However, all those things are things I desperately try to work on. I worship at the altar of Grammar Girl as well as Strunk and White, even when I fall to the wayside, heathen that I am.

I guess this post is coming from the fact that I’ve been reading a lot of books from lesser known publishing houses…and I keep catching spelling mistakes that makes the little Catholic School Girl speller in me just want to commit violent acts of anger. Couple that with the fact that now I doubt my own abilities in being able to spot the glaring discrepancies in my own works. I’ve offered my services to a couple of publishing houses because frankly, THEY NEED HELP. (By the way, no one’s acknowledged those emails. You really should consider it when I offer. I’m a lazy bitch…I only offer help when I mean it and when I think you need it.) When you have editors/copy editors who cannot disseminate differentiate (see? I knew I’d screw something up!) between simple things such as…

  • complement/compliment
  • your/you’re
  • there/their/they’re
  • altar/alter
  • angel/angle
  • losing/loosing
  • separate/seperate (My spell checker here knows this is spelled incorrectly…why not some of editors?)
  • grammar/grammer (Grammar is GRAMMAR. Grammer is Kelsey Grammer and his ex-wife Camille Grammer.)

you are in deep shit. I won’t even go on about the overused/misused/abused apostrophe. That particular subject can be better addressed in another post. The bulleted items above are a small smattering of the spelling mistakes I catch…you should see what I’ve let slide.

Am I truly asking for too much? When I pay for a book, I expect it to be edited properly. I don’t want to have to stop and think about what I’m reading. I don’t know if this makes sense, but I like reading a book. I don’t want to have to stop while I am reading only to go, “Shouldn’t that be you’re not your?” It is jarring and it’s readus interruptus. Some people call me nitpicky, but is it so wrong to want a higher standard of editing when I purchase a book? I am, after all, GIVING you my money on the supposition that the work you are giving me is close to 100% perfect. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve also seen some spelling mistakes from the bigger publishing houses like Penguin, Avon, Harlequin, etc. But on the whole, it is a lot less frequent than the works from the smaller houses.

I was talking to a friend of mine who is also an author. She keeps a blog that you might like. She writes about werewolves, fallen angels, Nephilims…in a good way! I had just tortured myself by finishing a book that was completely rife with terrible editing and fucktastically awful spelling that I had to vent. (That and I had to find refuge in her work that I am currently helping her edit. Rarely do typos and bad grammar make it into her writing.) I felt like it was the last straw for me. In the course of our Skype chat, I vented…big time. She pointed out something to me that had never occurred to me before – a lot of those shitty editors/copy editors are usually failed writers. i.e. They can’t spell or make a cohesive storyline and their missives are usually one big ass cluster fuck. Is that really true? I pondered that. I’m still pondering it.

Another friend of mine said that the attitude of editing (while writing) is a bit lame. He said he’s encountered some authors who deliberately DO NOT edit their work citing, “That’s what the editors are for.” How can one not polish your work to make it shine? When I was going through my college classes the amount of editing I was doing for my papers was astounding. So much so that I vowed then and there I never wanted to ever write for a living. It felt like homework that would just never go away.

On the other hand, maybe I need to lay off the smut reading and resume my more scholarly and somewhat academic reads. In addition to smut, I do love biographies, autobiographies and historical books. I like reading. Period. The only stuff I can’t get into is that extreme love where it’s more than a threesome. At that point, I just think it’s a porn script waiting to be directed…or yet another trashy reality tv show.

Back to the original point of this post…is it so wrong to want people to be able to spell correctly? It’s one thing to type quickly and miss a typo – which is what will probably happen here in this particular post. Talk about irony! However, I have no one editing my work, just me. It’s hard editing your own work when you’ve been staring at it for an indefinite period of time.

When you pay for a book, no matter what the price, don’t you think editing should really be an important factor?

PS Just for a laugh, a while back I was waiting in line and (if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve already heard this before) I heard two guys talking about a girl they knew. One guy said, “I just love that girl. She is self-defecating.” I choked back a laugh but I’m pretty sure they heard me really trying hard not to. The guy’s friend actually was laughing and it was a few moments before he could catch his breath and say, “I think you mean deprecating.” Ah…I really wish I had been able to video that. I still smile when I think of it.

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  • Reply Claudia Monday, 26 September, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I just read a major, MAJOR new release (Evanovich) and there were so many errors that it really did detract from the story. And I think the most misspelled word in English has got to be . . . seperately. Even teachers spell it like that!
    Claudia wants you to read…Organization: A year’s worth of homeworkMy Profile

    • Reply carinaeletoile Monday, 26 September, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      I need to add that word onto the list. Thanks, Claudia!

      I am willing to cut people some slack if they’re ESL, but if they have native English speakers editing their work…grrr. My mom is mega ESL, but when I was growing up, damned if Caridad wasn’t going through my work tearing apart my grammar and spelling. She was extremely brutal. I think she put the fear of god into me if I did poorly with spelling and grammar. Oh, that’s another word to add on – grammar/grammer

  • Reply Aenaria Monday, 26 September, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    This may be a bit TL;DR of a response, but your post really resonated with me! To sum up, let’s just say I agree totally. 🙂

    I’m in your boat with this one – if I’m paying for a book (smut or not! I can’t say anything, I have my share of crap books on my shelf plus a secret stash of romance novels I keep hidden under my bed as well), it had damn well better be as close to perfect grammatically as possible. The occasional typo does happen, but one or two out of a four hundred page book is negligible. More than that? Then the flames start shooting out of my ears.

    A little background on myself – I have a BFA degree in creative writing (plus an English Lit minor), as well as an MFA in creative writing as well. As you can imagine, talk about editing comes up frequently in programs like that. In both programs, especially in the Master degree, editing was drilled into our heads as an utterly necessary part of the writing process. I was also told that publishers were likely to toss your manuscript into the bin if they spotted grammar mistakes and typos, which is different from what your friend said, but maybe that’s just for first time authors? It’s one of the reasons why I don’t read Anne Rice – I was told once upon a time (and maybe this has changed since) that she had fired her editors, feeling that every word that came out of her pen was perfect as is, with no editing needed. That just makes me twitch as a writer. I love editing work, personally.

    I also write website copy for a living, which is a really fun place to find grammar issues. I feel like I spend more time correcting the bad grammar a language altering program spits out more than anything else.

    The point I’m trying to get to with all of that blather is basically that since I have that background, I try and hold almost everything I read up to that same standard that I hold myself (fanfic gets a pass for the obvious reasons, however). And when published writing that I pay for doesn’t live up to those standards? I’m in the exact same boat with you – nearly perfect, else why are we bothering to pay for it??

    • Reply carinaeletoile Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 at 2:11 am

      Hello, Aenaria!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Claudia (the other person who replied to this post) and I went to school together and our academic papers were the stuff horror movies are made of. Our professors were such sticklers that if we had misplaced apostrophes they’d dock us some serious points. I remember one girl’s paper would’ve been a mark of 425/425. Because of her overused apostrophes, in addition to bad spelling, the Prof docked her down to 200. The Prof said that the girl needed to go back and fix that paper and she could recover part of her grade. I really felt for her. The most she could recover up to was a total of 300. She learned her lesson.

      The book I had been reading was supposed to be a YA fiction/horror. I wrote a review on goodreads.com . The author actually contacted me today to apologize for the bad editing. I wanted to take her editor to task and ask why she thought that was perfectly acceptable to send out. I should seriously send you a copy of the epub so you, too, can roll your eyes and gnash your teeth in frustration. 😉 Oh, wait. I can’t because that violates the DCMA…Lucky you.

      As for my friend’s comment about not editing, I think it may have been in this crit group he was in. I’m fairly sure that person got pounded verbally by my friend because he isn’t one to mince words. He isn’t one to read badly written works with mispelled words and bad grammar. I can picture him saying, “Not reading this shit if it isn’t edited.”

      Your reply wasn’t TL;DR at all! I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for weighing in on a subject that is near and dear to my heart.


  • Reply Maria Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Your post immediately made me think of this comic from Hyperbole and a Half:

    Sometimes I fear the war for better grammar and spelling has been lost. 🙁

    • Reply carinaeletoile Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      Hi, Maria!

      I knew it was a hard battle, but I honestly thought it would prevail. My friend is in HR and some of those resumes that come through…do people really think it’s ok to write what they do? She shared some cover letters with me and I just about DIED. I told her I’d put them up on here for her. They are really bad. They’re so awful everyone should see them. LOL

      I liked that post! It had me giggling. 🙂

  • Reply Eugenia Thursday, 29 September, 2011 at 5:35 am

    You had me not only nodding my head in agreement with every word (as though you could actually see me, right?!) but laughing like a fool! I’m very strict with grammar/punctuation as well, and if there’s one thing that drives me nuts, it’s seeing how people still can’t figure out when to place ‘your’ or ‘you’re’ in a sentence properly. How hard is it to reason it out? I mean COME ON, people!! I swear, I spend more time proof-reading and editing my posts than the swatches themselves took, lol! I’m anal enough that I don’t even like repeating certain key words in a particular paragraph….I know, I know – I’m probably taking it too far, but coming across correctly, is important to me and even if readers are not immediately aware of this quirk, on some level, I’m hoping it’s actually appreciated. I have digressed…royally! All this to say that your post is one that is long overdue and shame on those publishing houses that haven’t taken you up on your offer: God knows, they can certainly use someone with talents and skills like yourself! Thank you for giving voice to this pet peeve of mine – you hit the nail on the head!

    • Reply carinaeletoile Thursday, 29 September, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      Hi, Ommorphia! I know, right? I spent a close to an hour writing the post. I tend to take the time on the post moreso than the pictures. It’s nice to know that you’re another one as well. I do like seeing well written blogs – so much so that I only keep them on my blog roll. I know typos can make their way into posts. At heart, if you use your apostrophes correctly and you know the difference between there/they’re/their and your/you’re, you stay on my blog roll.

      I really do love your blog because it’s well written and so articulate! I love looking at your swatches as well as reading your notes and observations.

      When my blog grows up, I want it to be just like yours!

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