Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pooped Right Out.



Please forgive the potty mouth title.  The other day I was reading over an excerpt and realized I had put “pooped” for “popped”.  Not quite the meaning or imagery I had wanted.  I think these types of misspellings are the most dangerous.  Not only is the misspelling a real word and therefore there are no spell check red squiggles underneath to give it away, it’s close enough to the real word that when you read it, you read the word you want, not the one that’s there. 

You know how it’s always easier to notice things in other peoples’ work?  I think author intent has a lot to do with that. When we read or own work we are so familiar with the story and the emotions that we don’t notice the clunky sentences.  We end up seeing what we meant not what we wrote.  That’s why crit partners and beta readers are so important. 

Other good ideas to help see your work in a new way are try printing it out, reading it out loud, putting it on an ereader or in a different font.  Anything that helps you view it differently than the last dozen times you’ve read it.  Maybe then you’ll catch the poop before it pops and you hit the send button.

Have you ever had a mistake like this, and did you catch it before you sent it?   

39 comments:

  1. LOL I haven't made quite the same funny mistake, but I have made the typo mistake with correct words. And you're right. It's so easy to miss them. I find reading the ms on my eReader helps big time, and it saves me tons of paper. Also, reading the ms backwards help you catch a lot of mistakes.

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    1. I've read papers for school and short stories backwards but I don't think I could do it with a whole novel.

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  2. Yeah, I've seen it, especially at work. The most embarrassing is writing pubic for public.

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    1. I've seen that one, on signs for public schools. Oops.

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  3. Another technique is to read your work backwards, but that's easier said than done.

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    1. Here's an article about a typo similar to the word poop, except the author didn't catch it in time....

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/sep/12/shift-typo-romantic-novel-susan-andersen

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    2. That's hilarious. Made worse by the fact that grammatically either word worked so people may not have been sure it was a typo.

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  4. I once called a guy named Pepper, 'Pecker.' That was just hideous. No way to correct that one before hitting send ...

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    1. I'm always slaughtering words as they come out of my mouth. That's why I much prefer writing.

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  5. Oh my gosh! I make mistakes like this ALL the time. I have the wonderful ability to see what I think should be on the page. Printing it out and reading it out loud is the only way I catch my mistakes.

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    1. After reading it so many times it's easy to see what we want to see on the page.

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  6. This. Is. SO. TRUE...

    It's crazy how our brains are already programmed to see what we know we want to see... thank goodness for awesome betas and other devices to read our work on!

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  7. I just hate this type of mistake! I can reread and reread and never see them. Reading out loud helps me.

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    1. I rarely see them either. Leaving me to feel embarrassed when I get things back from beta readers...

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  8. All the time. It's good to put it down and do something else for a while. or stew ideas over on a pad of paper. Tends to help me out of a slump. And I hear you. Been tired myself lately. It must be Autumn. :)

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    1. Stepping away is another great way to get a new perspective.

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  9. Printing it out and reading aloud always helps me catch the areas that need work. Thanks, Sara!

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    1. I print it out too. I have a whole stack of printed drafts.

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  10. Your last line was hilarious, Sara! I'm just now leaving my critique group, it's not a fit anymore. However, I still have my crit writing partner - that second (and third, etc.) pair of eyes is essential!

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    1. Sorry about the critique group, but if it's not working time to find one that is. Good luck.

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  11. Well, mine have NEVER been that funny! I know what you mean though. Thanks for the laugh (and of course, the advice)!

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    1. No, problem, if nothing else I'm always good to laugh at.

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  12. Very smart post, Sara. I used the word "whole" when I meant "hole". The book went into print that way. However, I was able to correct the error in the next print run. But the interesting thing is that people said they didn't notice, and a ton of people read it before it went to print!

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    1. Even readers will see what they expect to see. They knew what the word was and it was close enough they just put the right word it.

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  13. I make typos sometimes in my writing. When I really make typos, it's when I'm writing my ideas down on paper so quickly that I don't catch the error.

    Great post, Sara!

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    1. Yikes, I don't let people see when I'm scribbling ideas on paper. It's a mess.

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  14. My most famous mis-spelling but not a misspelling is you/your. I mean to write your but I only write you. And like you said, the spell check doesn't catch it. I really like your mis-spelling.

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    1. Yea, I do things like that all the time. It's hard to catch them all.

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  15. Ahhhh! Catching the poop! Love it.

    It's amazing how easy it is to catch the poop in someone else's writing. And you're so right -- with our own work, we see what we *think* is there because we know what *should* be there.

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  16. I think innocent mistakes like what you'd mentioned happen to most of us. I might've referred to my blog as a bog once.

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    1. I think they're fairly common and often pretty funny.

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  17. Great suggestions! I swear by my beta readers for this sort of thing, but no one can catch every mistake (which is kind of scary).

    As for having a mistake like that, before we had spell check, I typed up a report to go with my history fair project. In it, I thanked my "Engish" teacher for reading through it and making sure everything was correct. Oops! My mom caught it right before the fair. She's never let me forget it, either. :-)

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  18. About 6 months ago I notice I type HIM when I mean YOU. HER when I mean THE. Very weird. I would love to have a tool that could look into my brain and see why I switched the words. Of course, as long as it wasn't physical. I'm just so glad I finally noticed ... because prior to that I even read YOU when I had written HIM. It was as if my brain refused to see anything other than what I had intended.

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    1. How funny! Though, everybody I've known with the name Liz I've called him, and every Kim I've known I call Liz. I wonder if there's just a wire that got crossed in in our brains somehow.

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  19. I can't see these things at all unless I read a printed version. For some reason my eyes glaze over on the screen, and I simply see what I want to see. Still don't have an ereader!

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  20. I hate mistakes like that! I heard a tip once to read your work backwards, in other words, read the last sentence first, and progress that way (not LITERALLY reading backward!). It works but its very hard to do this!

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