Thursday Thought ~ The Importance of Correct Spelling

How many times have you picked up a novel and found a misspelled word right away?  How many times did you find another on page 20 and more on pages 31 and 32?  How many times did you start a novel only to put it down because the text, punctuation and grammar were all wrong?

I’ve started quite a few novels (sadly, most of them were self-published) that made my skin crawl and my brain hurt.  How could authors, who want to be taken seriously, not edit their novels?

As a beta-reader, it is my job to point out grammar mistakes.  Sometimes, especially with new writers, they gasp and say something like, “I don’t understand.  I used spell check.”

As an author, I’m here to say, spell check is nice, but you can’t rely on it.  There are so many words in the English language that sound the same but spelled differently (their/there), and spell check doesn’t catch them all the time.  It also doesn’t catch transposed letters.  For instance, you may have tried to write “won” but you wrote “own” instead.  Or you wrote ‘thread’, not ‘tread’.  Spell check won’t pick up on these mistakes.

Consider the following examples:

  • Many people believe he worships  Satin. (I think the word is “Satan”)
  • Placing big dames in the Mississippi River may prevent flooding.  (perhaps, but doing so may cause drownings instead)
  • The mom clutched her toe-headed son to her side. (poor kid has a toe for a head.  I think the word is tow-headed)

It is amazing how one little, misspelled word can change the entire meaning of a sentence.

It’s also important to make sure you catch your misspelled words if you are advertising yourself as an authority.  Take the follow example from a business card:

Inferior Fashion Decor

Not exactly a great selling point…unless you’re looking for ‘inferior’ solutions.

What it boils down to, if you want to be taken seriously in your field, whatever it is, your words, at some point, will speak for you.  When they do, make sure they are the right ones.  Remember, the pen is mighty, so take the time to edit.  The fulfillment of your dreams may depend upon it.