Well, we find ourselves here again, don’t we? Thought I forgot about my promise for weekly editing advice, did ya? Nah, just was busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest today and have just sat down!
A moderately busy day, I got new kitchen appliances I’ve been wanting (yes my exciting life), and my book Enchanted Immortals made it to the #2 spot on the free fairy tale chart today on Amazon and has been downloaded over 1,400 times since this morning! Gotta love Freebooksy. That site rocks! Oh, and then I got my taxes done. NOT part of my exciting life, and I will be reluctantly answering the phone tomorrow to find out how much I’m gonna owe *cringe*
Anyhoo…. sooo… hmm what kind of horrible errors and problems shall we discuss today? How about the use of wrong words? Let me give you a list of words you MUST do a search of after you’ve finished writing your book. It’s gonna sound strange, but just hear me out:
– There and their
Let’s start with bought. I cannot tell you how many times people use this word instead of “brought” – I see it in almost all the documents I edit. They are two completely different words with different meanings, yet a lot of the time, the R is left out, and of course spellcheck isn’t gonna catch it. If you do a search of your document for this word, you can read over the sentence and see that you’ve used the wrong word.
Next, search the word Chapter in your document. Why, you ask? Because a lot of times, people’s chapter numbers are wrong. They will put two chapter 4s or skip chapter 7 or something. Searching the document for the word “chapter” will line them all up in order on the left side of your screen, making it super-de-duper easy for you to see if you have duplicates or skips. Viola! Problem solved!
Onto the word “your” – I’m sure you can guess why I’m telling you to search this. Too many times, this form of the word is used wrong. Your is a possessive term, meaning it belongs to you. If using the contraction “you’re” – to mean, simply, “you are” – you cannot use “your”. Like, EVER. Contractions like “you’re” and “it’s” are so easy to understand, yet so many get them wrong. The solution is so very simple. If you can substitute “you are” then it needs to be “you’re” – if you cannot, it’s just “your.” Search your document for this word and then determine if you got it right. Got it? Awesomesauce.
There/their. Again, there are actually three spellings of this same word: There is the most widely used spelling of this word, even if it’s wrong. There is a place/location. Their means to belong to group of people. They’re is another contraction like mentioned above, meaning “they are” – if you cannot – or need to – use “they are” then use “they’re.” I think most people grasp this, but it’s the there/their that get mixed up. “Shake there hand” is not right. It’s “Shake their hand” – just like “Their are lots of people here” is not right, it’s “There are lots of people here.” Again, search your document and let see if you got it right.
Lastly, is the word “who’s” – not to be confused with “whose” – this again is simple. If you can say “Who is” instead of “who’s” – you go it right. Whose is also possessive, and most of the time, if someone is starting a question with this word, it’s most likely “Whose” – like “Whose bed have your (combat) boots been under?” (yep that was a shameless plug again, sorry). Another example would be “Who’s bought my new book” – in this case, you could substitute “Who has/is” with “who’s.” Doing a search of the word “who” will help you out here once again.
And, people, listen to Word’s little green underline suggestions. Sometimes they’re not always right, but there is always a reason for them. They’re there for a reason, so don’t ignore their suggestions.
C.J. signing off. Tune in next Wednesday. I may tackle lay/lie/laying but it’ll depend on my mood. PEACE!.