Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Writing Wednesday: Words

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of "Writing Wednesday"s. While I'd love to tell you that I will do this every Wednesday, I just can't make that promise. So, you will just have to be content with what you get. ^_- I plan to make either observations on writings or perhaps a tidbit or two of my own writings to help me get writing a little more -- goodness knows I have quite a few stories that need finishing!

As some of you know, I do like to write, though truth be told I'm not prolific enough nor do I practice enough to probably ever make it to a published work. I mean, I still have a NaNoWriMo novel in the heavy editing stage (that it still needs a lot of). So, instead, I have contented myself with being a proofreader, and of course am attempting a freelance career with that skill. So far, I have only had one job, BUT it's better than nothing. (To be honest, I have had a good deal of responsibilities at church and home things that I haven't had the time that I would like to devote to this career as of yet, but things have seemed to calm down a little, so we'll see.)

This book that I'm currently proofing got me thinking about words. The reason I bring this up is because this author, bless his soul, has a real problem with some of them. It's interesting, because every so often he puts a word in there that makes me think his vocabulary is actually better than some of the misused words he puts down. Unless he used a thesaurus. Oh that he had also used a dictionary.

The most misused word he has in there is "chuck." He writes about a "chuck of clear ice" or a "chuck of metal" or "chucks of matter floating [in space]." Clearly he meant "chunk" and I couldn't for the life of me figure out how he could have gotten this so wrong! Interestingly enough, he actually did use it correctly in another place. Hmm.

Sometimes, while proofing, I thought that maybe some of his misused words were words that he knew what they meant, but as he was typing them, he either had an auto-correct function (sort of like when you're texting and you get suggestions for what your phone thinks you want to say), or he just spelled it as close to what he thought it should be, and left it as is so long as spellcheck didn't tell him it was wrong (or he did run spellcheck and he chose the wrong word to correct his spelling mistake). Here are some examples (with my thoughts in italics):

A mummer swept the room.
(Now, out of context this might seem okay, except why would a mummer be sweeping a room? Turns out the author meant "murmur." Yep. AND, he made this mistake very, very often.)

Morris Code echoed from the speakers.
(First off, "Morris"??? And it echoing? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of Morse Code?)

She is temporality unavailable.
(Darn, don't you hate those temporal displacements?! A few shifting of letters, and some additions makes it "temporarily.")

The palace was inundated with bright flowers, aged wine, garment food, and colorful musicians.
(There are a few things wrong with this sentence that make it a little odd, but the one that struck me first was "garment food." It took me a few seconds to realize the author meant "gourmet." Hehehe....)

Anyway, there are several more, but these were probably my favorite. The thing is, I understand typos. I even understand leaving out words as your writing (becuase your brain is thinking faster than your fingers can type). But the completely WRONG word? I wish I knew if he just really put them there wrong or he chose the wrong word while running spellcheck.

However, those weren't his only issues, as there were some grammar and tense issues as well (not to mention punctuation, and even some places where he misspells some of his own made-up words or even changes a character's name!). (There are also a few things that I think the author should have done a little research on, because they're not quite correct.) Brian thinks that perhaps he's not a native English speaker. It IS possible, I suppose. But if it were me sending this to be published, I would have had a friend I trust read it over for me. I also think the author should have read over it as he wrote it. I know I do, especially to make sure I didn't leave words out or used the wrong word (like the author of this book used "souls of his feet"), but especially to make sure the flow feels right.

I know some of you are writers, but many of us have blogs and the like. Are there words that always mess you up? Or are there words you see others mess up? I always think young children are funny when they're learning new words and don't quite get it right.

Any thoughts on this subject?


AND, this is a lead-up to a regular (I mostly promise) post: my First Friday Fanfic. This coming Friday (March 6), I will begin posting parts of my Stargate fanfic (which some of you had asked me to finish some time back). I'll be honest, I'm not done with it. I'm stuck at a little bit and don't quite know where I want things to go (though I do have a lot of the end mapped out in my mind, but I need to get there). However, I have enough written to start posting bits for your perusal, and hopefully so you can not only catch any typos I have (it's true!) but also help me in making my writing, and the story, better. Hopefully this will help me finish it so I can move on to the next one.

I also hope everyone will read it, and I don't believe you don't need to be a Stargate watcher (or fan) to enjoy the story. I think. So, stay tuned for this Friday, when I will post the first couple parts of my Stargate fanfic Dream Giver.


Melinda March 4, 2009 at 2:38 PM  

Very interesting stuff. My favorite is the garment food. Yum!

There are 2 words that get me; their and wierd. I can never remember what order those vowels are supposed to go in! Fortunately, spellcheck fixes them for me.

christinerains March 5, 2009 at 8:33 AM  

Hehehe! Sometimes mistakes like that are really entertaining. ^_^ I like your idea of Writing Wednesdays and Friday Fanfic!

One that I always seem to do even though I know better is "I use to go." I know it's suppose to be "I used to go." For some reason, I don't want to put that 'd' in there even though every editor always catches me on it. I still use 'just' a lot, but I'm better at catching myself with it.

I see a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. I don't even know where to begin with that! *laughs*

How is the editing going for Mystic Moon Press?

Charles Gramlich March 5, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

You always wonder where such errors come from. How does chunk become chuck and not get noticed or corrected? How does it linger on.

I just graded a student paper where they used phrases like "beck the question" or the baby "becks to be picked up."

Beck = beg I'm assuming. But how could such a thing happen?

stephsidestory March 19, 2009 at 9:50 AM  

I love garment food, especially pasta with crapers and sun-died tomaters.

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