Monday, January 14, 2008

Tales From the Slush

I'm cranky today because I'm finishing a line-editing project done as a favor for a friend in a bind. Normally this wouldn't make me cranky, but this manuscript is loaded with silly errors, and it's taking too long to fix, and I'm not getting paid for it. Plus I’ve been sick so I’m behind on my work and really don’t have time for unpaid extras.

This is the mood I’m in as I sit down to go through a stack of slush partials. I know this isn’t the best mindset for this task -- reading slush can be an exercise in patience even on the best days -- but there’s no help for it. My personal interior monologue is equally composed of expletives and reminders that I should keep an open mind.

Spotted in today’s slush:

"Lopped" used as a synonym for "loped," and then later in the same paragraph, as a synonym for "looped."

An author who routinely substitutes possessives for plurals: The dog's barked. She chopped the carrot’s.

An almost unreadable sci fi story that might take place in Europe, or might take place on a space station. Hard to tell.

In the same sci fi story, the author has an odd compulsion to avoid calling ordinary objects by their common names. Everything is either renamed or abbreviated. There's too much of this, and it's distracting. I can't follow the story because I'm so busy trying to sort out the nouns.

I can’t believe how many punctuation errors I’m seeing. This is pretty basic stuff. Commas are not end marks. And if you don’t know how to use semicolons, then don’t use them.

Wow. Someone thinks oatmeal is a proper noun and is capitalizing it.

I’m not even noticing plots or characters. It’s hard to get past all the distracting errors on the pages.

Now I can’t help laughing. The correct spelling is somersault. Not summersalt. From the same manuscript: he reigned in his temper. Maybe this would sooth her nerves. Tears leeked out of her eyes. *giggle*

Here are two partials for stories we would never publish. Not our thing at all, not even close. I’m starting to wonder if this is even my slush pile. It reads like a pile of auto-rejects.

Doesn’t anyone proofread anymore? Ah, well. Rejections all around.



Renee said...

I hope you get to feeling better soon. :)

Anonymous said...

I hope you get a better pile of slush soon, too. ;-)

Edittorrent said...

At least some of those errors are funny.... :)


PatriciaW said...

Actually, those errors were not only good for a laugh (or should I say, laff) but also for raising my hopes.

Anonymous said...

'he reigned in his temper. '

Seen that in a published book before now. 'Summersault' too.

Edittorrent said...

Sad to say, I've seen "reigned in his temper" in published books, too. It's the kind of thing we should catch during edits because it means the exact opposite of what the author intends.

Thanks for the well wishes!