Friday, July 27, 2007

Pet Peeves

IN THE NEWS: According to World Magazine, "Iran's state-sponsored media announced it just thwarted a major espionage effort by the Western powers bent on using rodents as spies. In recent weeks, intelligence operatives have arrested 14 squirrels within Iran's borders." That's right. Apparently they thought these squirrels were carrying spy gear--but they couldn't expand on how the big bad Western powers (like us) could train such an elite force of spy squirrels.
(A yikes)

Okay, I think I've mentioned little pet peeves I have when I read published manuscripts. Like little misspellings. ( Drives me crazy. Especially if I paid over $10 for a book) Or like when a blond character in chapter one suddenly becomes a brunette for no apparent reason in chapter ten. (Also drives me nutso) I guess an editor can only fix so much if there are a lot of mistakes to begin with, which is why it's so important to get that manuscript you submit into PERFECT shape.

Literary agent Chip MacGregor had a great blog post on his pet peeves when reading a manuscript for the first time. Here's a few:

(You'll have to go to his blog to read the rest.)


**Here's one! Novelists who use exclamation points as though the period key didn't work! I hate this! Really!!

**People who use an open parenthesis but no close parenthesis. (For example, this kind.

**The serial comma. Drives me crazy. The rule for using commas is that there should be ONE LESS COMMA THAN THE ITEMS IN YOUR LIST. So if you list five things, you'd use four commas. An example: "Farnsworth visited Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland, and Djibouti." Note that there are five countries and four commas -- one less than the list. Writers often drop the last comma, in an apparent attempt to make "Ireland and Djibouti" one country. (Similar to Trinidad and Tobaggo, if you're into geography jokes.) Makes no sense at all.

**The overuse of the spell-checker. It won't pickup every thin. Ewe can knot rely on it soul-y. (An alternative? Learn to spell.)

**Figure out the difference between "your" and "you're" before writing you're book. :o) Ditto for "its" and "it's." (True story: I once had an editor try to convince me that there is no such word as "its," claiming that every instance should use the contracted form "it's." I felt it was my duty to slug her on the spot.)

Oh dear. I KNOW the difference between its and it's and I STILL make mistakes with them. (But only on the first draft. Not when actually submitting. LOL)

The people submitting to Mr. MacGregor obviously need to find a good critique partner. Thank goodness for mine.

Have a great weekend!


Chicki said...

Boy, I can really relate to this one. For the past two weeks I've had several paid editing jobs. The one thing that absolutely drives me up the wall is a writer submitting work to be editing that has multiple misspellings of proper names and brand names. How hard is it to look these things up on the Internet or in a dictionary? I think their reasoning is, "I'm paying you to edit, so just fix it."

I'm seriously thinking about buying several copies of my favorite grammar book as gifts for these stubborn writers.

A manuscript should be in the best shape possible before submitting to anyone (even your crit partners).

Okay, I'm finished ranting. Whew! I feel better now...

Jennifer Shirk said...

You know, that's true for crit partners, too. It should be in great shape before you have them look at it.

I mean, of course, you're going to have some mistakes and whatnot, but I want my crit partners to focus or the BIG picture and not get bogged down with rewriting my manuscript for me. LOL!

DD said...

Took me a minute to scrap myself off the floor from the laughing fit I had at the thought of squirrels as spys! The rest is definitely the truth!