ACW

ACW

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Hunt for the Lesser-Spotted Typo by Wendy H. Jones





Recently I have been taking part in an event known to a long line of writers. Its history goes back to cavemen writing on the walls. This is the hunt for the lesser-spotted typo. As I write I think about those caves, and also the poor souls who wrote in hieroglyphics on the walls of the pyramids. They got to the end of their magnum opus and looked in wonder at the newly-inscribed walls. Then in walked the head scribe, shaking his head.

"No. No. The bird comes before the snake. Didn't they teach you anything at school?"

This led to instant deflation, and in the case of our Egyptian scribe, certain death.

Typos are shy creatures and will find places to hide throughout any manuscript. They have no particular nesting site and can be found anywhere within a document. They are not fussy about the size or type of document, and respect no borders. The lesser-spotted typo can also transform itself and has been seen in a multitude of disguises. All this can make the hunt very difficult.

How, then, can the eager writer find one of these creatures? The only way is to proceed slowly through the habitat. Examine every character as there may be a lesser-spotted typo lurking nearby. When you see one you must kill it immediately. This is not only legal, but also enshrined in editorial law. One must exterminate them. Do not fear that they will die out. The lesser-spotted typo breeds rapidly.

Patience and persistence are the only way to find this creature. After hunting through your manuscript once, please do not give up: it is necessary to go through your work a number of times. As you are moving forward several more will have taken up position behind you. Please do not hunt if you are tired. The lesser-spotted typo will take advantage of this and burrow in deeply whilst you are not looking.

One useful tip is to hunt in groups. Find skilled professionals and more knowledgeable friends to join you. This is one of the best ways to eliminate lesser-spotted typos completely.

So for those who are embarking on your first hunt I hope this guide has helped you. For those more experienced I hope this will serve as a useful reminder. If you have any more tips on how to catch this elusive creature, then please comment below.

About the Author

Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer's Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Her second book, Killer's Craft, will be released on 20th July, 2015.












29 comments:

  1. Brilliant, and a sporting event we are all familiar with. I find it helps to get friends to read your work aloud to you. The lesser-spotted typo often breaks cover at the sound of its name, and your friends will read what you have written, whereas you will probably read what you think you have written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the tip.

      Delete
  2. This is very funny, Wendy and so true. I scoured the blog for any of these not-so-rare species. Not one to be seen. Then I read the beginning of the writer bio and found something. Of course, you may have put it there intentionally. You'll have to leave it there now on this post for other typo twitchers.:-) (if anyone needs a clue, it is butterfiles!) Sue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it Sue ;-:

      Delete
    2. I didn't mean to type butterfiles; it should be butterflies. The web is speckled with my comment typos! Sue

      Delete
    3. They lurk everywhere Sue :-)

      Delete
    4. But isn't there something intriguing about the idea of a butterfile? Shouldn't the l-st be lauded for creating new words? And don't we have to protect this (relatively!) harmless creature from the predations of the intransigent automatic spell checker, which changes not only what we say, but what we mean? Passing thoughts...

      Delete
    5. What an intriguing idea Anthea

      Delete
  3. LOVED it, Wendy and SO true. Reading aloud is often highly effective in hunting down this elusive creature; it's a task I often recommend to my young students

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it Hilary. It was fun to write

      Delete
  4. Lots of fun! And slightly nervous-making, as I've just merrily sent back the final proofs of my book, so any lesser-spotteds that evaded my nets will now be enshrined in history. The funniest typo I ever encountered was in the proofs of the last book, where every instance of 'Rahab' had been changed by some kind of automatic spell check to 'Rehab'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it A(me) I know that nervous feeling well.

      Delete
  5. Loved it. Endorse all of the above comments. Especially love the pun of its name of course :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I thought the name was rather good. I should be a writer :-)

      Delete
  6. Loved it. Endorse all of the above comments. Especially love the pun of its name of course :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Really enjoyed this post. I recommend reading work aloud to my students too. It shows up all kinds of errors and makes you see the text in a different way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading sounds like a great way to flush out those wily typos

      Delete
  8. Oh so familiar Wendy!The bane of writers.Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This was just so funny thanks Wendy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really glad you enjoyed it Tania

      Delete
  10. Love this post Wendy - both witty and useful! x

    ReplyDelete
  11. My favourite is from the old days of the 'Grauniad', in an article about Solzhenitsyn. It told us he was now married to the woman he had lived with for X years, 'who is the mother of his two sins'.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My editor is exceptional at providing a grammatical pat on the back. Two weeks later my manuscript is returned with more highlighting red ink than black.

    ReplyDelete
  13. How true. Having said that I know when Sue has fallen out with her husband as all the romantic sentences are highlighted in bold red. 'Don't like this or this!' 😊

    ReplyDelete
  14. It can be hard for authors to find typos or other items that should be fixed during the self-editing and proofreading phases. Our brains tend to "auto correct" and will fix many of these errors without us even realizing it. Authors are often too close to their work, and they know what is supposed to be written, which further compounds the issue as they read what is supposed to be there, not what is written (or typed) there.

    ReplyDelete