The faulty magic of spellchecker

magic wandIn my limited free time, I’ve been reading a novel by an Indie author on my Kindle, and although the story is fine, I have to say that I am finding it just a tad irritating. Although we turn out books often with no budget and very limited returns, I think Indie authors still really need to do their best to make sure that the book reads just as well as one produced by a commercial publisher. In this case, the spelling is driving me bonkers! It really interrupts the flow of a passage when you have to stop and decide whether the author is getting a bit funky with a metaphor, or if they have just bungled the spelling.

This book has not only the ubiquitous ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, but also walking across a sandy ‘dessert’, and lifting his ‘shinning’ knife. Ouch! I can understand how the proofreader would have missed ‘mummer’ for ‘murmur’.

I’m not saying that my own work is perfect – every time I reread it I seem to find something which makes me cringe – but sometimes it seems as if people are relying on the computer’s spellchecker alone. Unfortunately, nothing replaces human eyes for picking up these bloopers. In an early draft of my novel, a character entered through the French ‘widow’ (window), which was rather unfortunate for both of them!

Enough ranting for now. I’ll calm down and keep reading, and perhaps you can join me in Visualising Whirled Peas.

6 thoughts on “The faulty magic of spellchecker

  1. You are very right! It’s unfair, but independently published writers need to be especially careful of these types of errors. The publishing industry still wants to paint indies as unprofessional and amateurish. Every mistake seems to count extra against the indie author when typos in books from big publishing houses get blamed on the editors. Every time I read my own writing, I find more mistakes :S I found very few in The Artemis Effect, though, if that makes you feel better!

  2. Proofread, proofread and proofread some more!

    I’ve read a number of self-published work over the last 18 months and generally the standard has been really good (yours included) I have read a couple that were appalling. Basic words, wrong. Like you say, they should be as good as any other published book and time and care needs to be taken before publishing.

  3. I don’t know if you’ve seen Taylor Mali, but I recommend all his poetry. As for proof reading myself, I cringe when I remember the mistakes I had in my book before I really scoured through it when I set up the print copy through Create Space. Characters had the wrong names and wore different clothes in the same scene. Ooops. Here’s Taylor Mali’s “The Impotence of Proofreading.”

  4. Every author owes it to herself and her readers to have a polished manuscript free of annoying typos and grammatical errors. They wrench readers out of a story, and interrupt the flow of the book. If an author can’t do that for herself, it would be worth every penny for her to have it professionally edited.

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