Monday, December 7, 2009

Editers Are Invaluable!

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter.

Such banners splashed across newsprint are never, ever funny. And yet…


If you have been a reader of mine for very long, you know that I have a warped sense of humor. I can’t help it. I’ve tried to curb my natural tendency to snort at inappropriate times…I truly have! But it’s a losing battle. So, while I am horrified by the implication of the headline, I admit to chuckling at the actual wording of this declaration. If I’m not mistaken, someone should have had a proof reader!

As a writer, I can attest to the value of an editor. No matter how competent an author might be, it is almost impossible to compose without making a mistake, once in a while. Remember, too: we writers already know what we’ve written; therefore we have a propensity for skimming right over what might be a glaring mistake to a pair of fresh pair of eyes.

My pal Jack is an exceptional proof reader. He’s a pathetic speller, but luckily, we have computer programs that eliminate the need for proof readers who can spell above a fourth grade level. Thank goodness!

In all other aspects of editing, however, Jack knows his stuff. He has definately saved my sorry hide countless times. (And I know without a doubt I’m going to pay for that crack about his orthographical ineptitude…)

That’s o.r.t.h.o.g.r.a.p.h.i.c.a.l., Jack. Shall I use it in a sentence? Or give you the definition, first?

I wish I’d had this fellow a few years ago, before I submitted the following advertisement to my local paper. I most particularly wish I’d had Jack around to read it over before it was printed!

This lovely house has three dicks from which to enjoy sunrises and sunsets…

Yeah, I could have used my pal back then…

My good friend Linda has provided me with some other prime examples of headings and captions that should never have gone to print. The publishing world is cut-throat, and blunders like these can derail a serious writing career in the blink of an eye. It’s a good thing I’m not taken seriously, that’s all I can say!

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say
(Sheesh… can you imagine what the amateurs might have said?)

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
(And I thought we were trying to discourage the use of corporal punishment…)

Enfield Couple Slain. Police Suspect Homicide.
(Ladies and gentlemen, our tax dollars at work!)

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges.
(The yellow tape was completely useless…)

Local High School Drop Outs Cut in Half.
(I told you you’d get in trouble for skipping school!)

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
(There’s no doubt about it…those meteorologists have the cushiest jobs!)

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
(And the reporter won’t be on the picket line, he’ll be in the unemployment line.)

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
(You’ve got to wonder what the kids’ll look like…)

Yup, the publishing world is rife with uncaught bloopers and bonehead moments. Is it any wonder I feel so comfortable here?

Oh…ineptitude, Jack? Why, that’s spelled i.n.e.p.t.i.t.u.d.e. You’re weclome, pal.

This blog posting contains more than one mistake. The first person to email me at with all the errors wins a free MAINE tee-shirt. (Well, I suppose you wouldn't really be 'winning' it if you had to pay for it, now would you?) Anyone can, friends, pets, proof readers and editors, critics and reviewers! This is your invitation to pick me apart, so don't miss this rare opportunity...