I’m here today to share the worst aspect of editing your book (and I’m sure other authors will agree with me.) The part about editing that sucks the most is not having someone point out plot inconsistencies, fluctuating character appearances, errors in timeline, unwieldy spatial depictions, strange behaviors from your characters, or inquiries into your world building. All of that is easy. The small stuff. I certainly didn’t lose any sleep over it. I welcomed those things being pointed out because it would make my writing stronger.
No, the suckiest part had to be finding and replacing the malapropisms within the text. They’re more difficult to spot than other errors because a real word sits in the place of the correct word choice. Spellcheck won’t find these words and suggest the proper replacement because a program like Word doesn't see it the error as incorrect. A word is a word to it. It would be amazing if it did find these wrong words and highlight them for you. (I’m looking to you Microsoft to create this handy feature… I would pay good money for it!)
Many eyeballs have scoured my story. You’d think this would be a safety net, but casual readers and hired professionals will miss things (although to be fair they miss way less.) I’ve found malapropisms sitting mockingly within my text even after all the edits were done. I think this is because readers, like the spellcheck program, will also skip over the malapropisms without seeing them. This is either because they don’t know better, or they do, and their mind replaced the wrong word with the correct word instantly as they read the passage.
For example in the original text of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest I found I had typed bypass instead of impasse, hoard instead of horde, took instead of too, new instead of next, the instead of they, and so on. Even after I put the book under more scrutiny, the little devils still plagued me. Luckily, I have an amazing narrator and she caught these errors (prosperity vs. posterity) before recording them.
What I’ve learned from Michele Carpenter is this… “When you’re narrating, it’s impossible to miss [malapropisms] because you have to say every word out loud and have it flow just right.” Lesson learned! Read your book aloud to find those pesky illusive mix-ups. But, even if you don’t, the contextual clues should allow readers to deduce what you really meant as the author. However I think it’s far better if the malapropisms are eliminated before readers get their hands on the book. It’s worth the extra effort (and here’s hoping that every malapropism has been caught!!!)
Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest
by Keira Gillett
Release Date: March 6, 2015
Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan
Narrator: Michele Carpenter
Series: Zaria Fierce Trilogy, Book 1
Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fantasy
Setting: Modern-day Norway
Page Count: 224
Word Count: 36, 200
On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win. Early Reviews: “With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian
Watch the Book Trailer:
About the Author:
Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.