I Was A Copy Editor In A Past Life

I don’t mean that I literally had that job in the past in this present incarnation, but I have such a strong tendency to notice screw ups that should have been caught by a copy editor when I read stuff that I have to wonder.  I’ve always noticed blantant screw ups like misspelling, punctuation errors (which is why I’m the editor on my team at work).  But lately I’ve been catching stuff everywhere.  I don’t know if I’m becoming more sensitive on this issue or if copy editors everywhere aren’t catching stuff they should.

For example, in at least 4 or 5 different places in the last two months, I have seen people use “insure” when they mean “ensure”.  I’ve wanted to do a public service announcement because that one is driving me crazy.

In the book I finished last night, I noted a couple of errors.  One, the hero was having lunch with a colleague and ordered lamb and chicken kabobs.  His colleague ordered beef.  On the next page when the food was delivered the hero was suddenly cutting into beef, though he was back to his own lamb by the end of the scene.  And at the end of that book, which was a contemporary, the heroine was described as wearing a cloak.  Now, I confess, I have always wanted a cloak.  There’s something all dramatic and romantic about them.  But I have never seen anyone wear them outside of plays or dressing up to go caroling in some Dickensian manner.  She was also described, after the reunion love scene, as putting her shift back on.  Makes me wonder whether this woman wrote historicals before she wrote this one.

In the book I picked up next, apparently the hero used to be named Adam and it got changed to Aidan.  Apparently they missed one.  Really, how hard is it to do a good find and replace?  That’s a pretty dang big oversight.

And that doesn’t even touch on the fact that the more I learn about the craft of writing, the less I can immerse myself in a story just for story’s sake.  No, I have to analyze everything, and it’s too easy to notice “that doesn’t work”.   I find myself picking everything apart, looking for flaws.  I’ve read very little in the last year that sucked me in deep enough not to do that.  I hope this means that I’ll be more cognizant of flaws in my own work, such that I will avoid them more efficiently, but a part of me certainly mourns my ability to just immerse myself in story for the sake of story.  Pot was talking about this yesterday on her blog in the comments.

In other news, I am down to just recording 10 lectures in Camtasia for my class, and then  I am done! I’m presently working on the Act 3 interview questions for my characters, which means I’ll be settling down and working on an outline in the near future.  That should coincide with my finishing up all this stuff with my class set up, and then it will be time to dive in to the actual writing.  I can’t wait!

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