Oops …

As someone who is often responsible for precluding errors in books, I don’t think I’ve let anything this embarrassing slip through (yet) …

The publisher is being very kind in not blaming the proofreader, who will no doubt wake in the middle of the night and think ‘Oh ****’. πŸ™‚

Author: Brendano

I am a 54-year-old freelance editor living in rural Ireland with my wife, Pauline; our 21-year-old daughter, Susanna (when she’s not away at university); and two terriers. Our son, Sean, died suddenly on 17 October 2010, aged 19.

21 thoughts on “Oops …”

  1. Ha ha

    I read this yesterday and thought of you πŸ™‚

    Om the same subject, I often correct people’s posts or comments here (sometimes without being asked or the error even noticed by the author) what does make me smile is how correct (with no typos) the request or apology normally is πŸ™‚

  2. Soutie, I’m always slightly shocked at how many typos I commit here … but it could be much, much worse. πŸ™‚

  3. Yes, Brendano, I can imagine the embarrassment!

    I am very very sloppy about typing comments, but it is usually because I am trying to do something else at the same time; or I’m in a rush. I do try to take more care when I’m writing a post but I think it is particularly difficult to spot one’s own mistakes. I usually notice them a couple of seconds after publication.

  4. Yes, Araminta.

    I think it is natural to skim over a passage of text in order to extract the meaning/gist, and hence our tendency not to be waylaid by typos etc. can be useful and save time.

    Editors/proofreaders need to be able to ‘switch off’ this gist-extracting function and see the trees as well as the wood. It can then be difficult to switch it back on, so that one hears the newsreader’s grammatical errors instead of the news. πŸ™‚

  5. I had a rather alarming experience the other day in a local shop, which proved that I really should try to look at things with a bit more attention, rather than chatting!

    I happily entered my pin number and was alarmed that although my pin number was correct the transaction failed, happily! The amount had collected a few additional; noughts somehow and it was for over a million pounds! 😳

  6. Hilarious, Araminta. Just as well it failed. πŸ™‚

    The largest cheque I ever saw was for over six million pounds, when I was working for a law firm in Chancery Lane. I suppose some people see sums like that all the time. 😦

  7. Yes, Levent .. nice one. πŸ™‚

    I heard a story (possibly apocryphal) about the perils of technology in publishing … a novel was at a late stage of production when the author decided he’d like to change the name of one of the characters from ‘David’ to ‘Fred’. So, the typesetter was asked to do a ‘find and replace’.

    That was fine, except that the writer had forgotten all about the reference to Michelangelo’s David somewhere in the book. πŸ™‚

  8. Apart being funny, this points something else too, IMO Brendan. All these technology gifts… are they making us “shallow”? When I (try to) chat with the new generation, I see they have a pinch of knowledge about almost everything, but can hardly be called they know the subject. I was thinking about the difference between wisdom and knowledge the other day. See my last post on my personal blog. You may find it interesting.

  9. It matters not how many people proof read an item and sign it of, errors will still creep through. As is my wont I always give certain items what I call a ‘final flypast’, before publication or production. Sure enough, one was on my desk yesterday waiting for me and within seconds I had spotted a boo boo that had been missed by three other people. It’s not that I’m a clever dick, but I do seem to have an eye for detail.
    To my mind it’s a thankless task being a proof reader, get it right 99.9% of the time and you are just doing your job, get it wrong and you are the biggest cretin on the plant.

  10. Yes, an interesting topic, Levent. I tend to find the same thing when I speak to my children. These days they don’t have the discipline for deep knowledge, I think.

    The other day I saw wisdom defined as ‘the intersection of highly developed knowledge, advanced cognitive processing, creativity, and a well-developed capacity for social, emotional, and moral reasoning’.

    Yes, you’re right, OMG … a thankless task. It’s always nerve-racking when you first open a publication you’ve worked on, dreading that some error will leap out at you.

  11. True, ZR … this one has brought the publisher some publicity at least (though possibly not $20,000 worth). πŸ™‚

    Hi Claire … Yes, many regional/local newspapers are compendiums of typos/mistakes. An obituary of my mother took an unexpectedly comedic turn when the writer quoted from ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, by David Frost. πŸ™‚

    Little Book of Clam … I love it. πŸ™‚ Chowder you manage it? OK, I’ll shut up now.

  12. Hey Brendano! Good blog…
    I was the queen of cock ups, me. People died in headlines when they were – er, not dead, people were brought to life or changed sexes in obituaries; ne’er do wells admitted to charges that had never even been brought in court…
    It’s a miracle I lasted as long as I did. πŸ˜‰

  13. The Irish Times prints ‘corrections and clarifications’ … the one I enjoyed most was along the lines of:

    We apologize for referring to Mr X and Mr Y, who entertained the audience at Variety Show Z, as ‘local gangsters’. This should have read ‘local gagsters’.

  14. ONG, was that deilberate:
    “…read an item and sign it of, errors will still creep through.” ?!

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