Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Typos Of The World Unvite

Aocdrndicg to rscheearch at cmabrigde uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt thing is that the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. This is bcuseae the human mind deos not raed ervery lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.

I snagged the above paragraph from a post on fceaobok. I thought writers could relate to this because I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say, “so and so found another typo” or “I can’t believe I missed that. I’ve been through it a million times.”

I’m sure we’ve all done it. I know I have. I have on this blog, in fact.

If we have this built-in autocorrect button in our heads, imagine the other things we’re missing simply because our brains are one-step ahead of us, filling in the gaps and “fixing” our typos. This is a great reason to have a beta reader.

If you’re afraid of your feelers getting hurt, have someone proofread for mistakes and typos only. But seriously, if you plan on publishing and are too afraid of criticism—you have no business publishing in the first place. Sorry, but there are mean people out there who will eat you for breakfast just because. Then there are those who genuinely don’t like what you’ve written. A great example of this is a book club. Nice bunch of people—well read--and ready to find something wrong. I guarantee that someone will have at least one negative thing to say. Someone’s gotta bitch, right?

One of the highlights of critiquing or editing is finding one of those gems, the typo that made it through the spell check and into my heart. Nothing like a funny typo or a misplaced modifier to brighten up my day, especially when it’s one of my own.

I have to share a couple of my daughter’s typos, although she’s seven so I don’t think you could classify them as such but they are great nonetheless.

Not sure how well you can see the writing above, but for my daughter's birthday shindig at school the kids drew pictures of a gift they thought she would like. This kid thought a good gift would be "a dick." He must've realized his error and quickly scratched out the "d" and replaced it with a "b." 

Another one of her funny goofs was around Halloween when she wrote what she was going to be. 

"I am going to be a witche for Halloween. With a orange broom. And with my black boots. And a poofy scrt. Me and my mom is makeing it. And black tits.

The best part about her little story was imagining her teachers expression when she read it. I know I'd be giggling, but I am the mom who rearranged the flashcards so "under" always preceded "wear." 

Here are some favs from the web too. 

So is there any magic trick to avoid typo? There are a few things you can try, but no matter what typos are here to stay just like MC Hammer pants. (You know you want some)

--Wait at least 6 weeks and let your ‘script simmer. The time away might help see what you missed before.
--Write your script in one font, then switch for editing. I start out with Arial, then switch to Times or Courier. It might help trick your brain a little.
--Make sure you watch out for the “find/replace” trick. A friend of mine submitted her memoir to a publisher who didn’t like profanity. The most profane language she used was hell, so she did a quick “find and replace” and switched all her hells to hecks. Too bad she forgot to click on “whole words only” because she also changed a “Michelle” to a “Michecke.”

Do you have any tips or favorite typos? Please srhae. 


Rosemary Gemmell said...

How true that is about the first and last letter - I could read your first paragraph as quickly as ever! Even after my novel went back and forward to the very good editor the publisher assigned me, my (grown-up) daughter noticed one word which was used incorrectly. I was horrified as I do proof reading for other people! And that kind of thing normally jumps out at me, as it does my daughter. But because it was the correct word (just the wrong version of it) my eye read what it expected to see.

One good tip I've heard is to read your work from the end to the beginning while editing as it throws any errors up. Haven't tried that yet. Another is to always print work off and read it as hard copy instead of on screen. That's a good one.

lil miss Sauniya' said...

wow, I was reading the sentence at ease, the brain is pretty amazing!! i make spelling mistakes all the time thought and that doesn't really help. Your daughters ones are pretty funny :P :) but she is only seven so it's cute not bad (unlike mine's) :)
Thank you for sharing this! :)


Anonymous said...

When I try to type extremely fast, I usually get the letters out of place except the first and last one. Thankfully Word is smart and fixes those for me. I don't really have any tricks for catching typos. I love your daughter's typos though! :)

Misty Provencher said...

No tricks.
I'm too busy wondering if that card is available on Hallmark shelves yet. I think your daughter's brilliant and perceptive. I need a dick every time I go in to get my car fixed, whenever I have to argue with the insurance company, and especially for those occasions when the big truck on the expressway uses that lane that's ending to buzz to the front of the line and cut me off. Yes, a dick would make a wonderful gift.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

I wish I knew some more tricks. ;) Instead, I'm the person who misspells their own name. Heck, sometimes I type Elias instead of Elisa LOL!

Great post!

Tracy said...

I teach kids with Learning difficulties and I see them spell words incorrectly so much I sometimes have to really ask myself how to spell simple words; it's amazing how their 'wrong' spellings seem 'right' at times...then it's truly time to step away!

Ready, Aim, Hook Me said...

Oh, that's good stuff! Funny. Kids are awesome. Oh, and I love the first paragraph thing--it's so right on. Our brains will fill in the blanks, so it is a MUST to have someone else read through our work (or two or three people).

Love the post!

Angela Scott said...

The above was supposed to be from me--Angela. I forgot I was signed in under our other blog. Whoops.

Jessica A. Briones said...

Ha! Fresh crap, Love it! I read that first part without any difficulty, it's no wonder I have trouble finding my typos.

phyllis sweetwater said...

Check out it is almost as funny as you are!