Welcome to the MFRW Weekly Blog Challenge! This week’s topic is “Sorry, Editor: My Common Writing Mistakes.”
I like to think hubs and I are pretty good at submitting clean manuscripts, so this is a hard one to fess up to, but here goes!
When we first decided to try our hand at fiction after having done some academic writing together, we were fortunate to find the Romance Writers of America and join our local chapter. It wasn’t long before the chapter offered a day-long romance writing workshop facilitated by Jennifer Crusie, which was an eye opener for us. We had a steep learning curve ahead!
One of the invaluable things she spoke about, however, was what she called the “Don’t Look Down” draft. You know the moment – when Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff, he doesn’t start to fall until he looks down and realizes the earth is no longer under his ninety-mile-an-hour feet.
The point is that when the muse is flowing and the characters are talking is NOT the moment to get all bungled up in grammar, spelling, commas, and proper English. Get the ideas down, however rough. Go with the flow. Don’t look down. Go until it stops…
And Then: Take a deep breath, face what’s on the page, and edit it mercilessly.
Which we do. But I’m here to tell you that even with two of us (plus a couple beta readers) passing a manuscript back and forth what seems like countless times, there are typos that still pop up when it gets to our editor.
That’s because our brains are a marvelous invention – in their mad dash to bring us meaning out of what we read, our brains readily supply what ought to be there, instead of what’s actually on the page.
So our apologies to our editors, who have to weed the typos out and fix them. Sadly, it’s not even a learning experience. If I make a grammar mistake and someone teaches me the correct solution, I can learn that and apply it in the future. But typos? #%&*@ Typos? Random events, it feels like, twice over: randomly hitting the page, and randomly being missed by several pairs of eyes.
Tedious work, but worth it in the end. Thank you, editors!
Be sure to click to travel for more confessions…