I’ve been reviewing the copy edits to UNEXPECTEDLY, MILO this week, and as I reach the halfway point in the manuscript, allow me to share some of my more frequent mistakes have been brought to light thanks to this process. The list so far includes:
1. A failure to realize that there are two different spellings for the words vice and vise, depending on the meaning. I always thought that vice was the only correct spelling for both definitions. I didn’t even know that vise existed as a possibility.
2. A chronic overuse of the word upon. I have so far encountered nearly two dozen instances in which I used the word upon when the word on was sufficient and grammatically correct.
3. An under-utilization of hyphens to an extraordinary degree. My copy editor has inserted dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of hyphens into my manuscript where there were originally none.
None I tell you! Not one! I conducted a search for them in the original manuscript and found not a single, solitary hyphen. Not even a dash. Lots of commas and ellipsis, but not a hyphen to be found.
4. Thanks to The Grateful Dead and their only chart topping hit, “Touch of Grey,” I am never able to remember the American spelling of the word gray/grey. Even after correcting the error this evening, I still cannot remember at this moment which is correct.
5. A persistent confusion of the words All right and alright, with a strong and apparently mistaken leaning toward alright. Is alright even a word?
6. An ongoing, nearly lifelong use of the British spelling of theatre, a mistake I have been making since high school. I have no idea why.
My copy editor, whose name I am currently seeking, was also kind enough to point out that a Jeep Cherokee does not have a convertible top, so the top-down Jeep in my book needs to be a Jeep Wrangler instead.
This is why my copy editor will be getting a mention in the acknowledgements of the book.
He or she (I’m guessing a woman based upon the occasional comment in the margin) is damn good.