Monday, 26 August 2013

Proof, if proof be needed

So one of the important things to do when putting a collection together, or presumably any publication, is to proof it carefully.

If you're anything like me (prone to a lack of attention to detail, and very easily distra.... oh look, a sparrow!) you might want this to be somebody other than you. If you're lucky you could send your work to someone like David Bateman* for a quick comment on the generality of it and get back 3 pages of typos, spellos, syntactical errors and punctuational faux pas.

I just thought I'd share a couple of the things he picked up on in the first version of The Silence Museum:

untidy bottom of “previously published” paragraph

two different styles of ellipsis on same line

inconsistent capitalization of line-starts

'a lone parenthetic comma'    and    'rogue hyphens'

"For “Flambe” the “é” you need is in the Insert menu.(“Menu”! I made a funny! Ha ha ha ha etc.)"

"Almost unbelievably, this line definitely needs another comma.  Insert it bravely!"

I thought it would be nice to thank him in the front of the book. 'Thanks to David Bateman, who taught me everything I know about ellipses'**  Then I decided to include an additional short poem about him in the collection, but I didn't send it for re-checking because it really was very short, and mentions how he taught me everything I know about ellipses. You know what's coming here, don't you? I spelled ellipses with just one 'l'.

Dho!... I mean Doh!

What's the worst typo or similar you've missed until it was too late?

* David Bateman is an excellent 'silly and serious at the same time' poet, by the way. There's not much of his stuff on the web, but check out the link for his classic 'World's Greatest Impressionist' poem

** There's only ever three dots in an ellipsis


  1. I will do my best to look for further mistakes when my copy arrives.

    1. Sorry it's late. Had it in my handbag but forgot to post it for 2 days!

  2. In my woodwork essay about a tool lathe, I made a complete horlicks of the title, missing a couple of letters out until it was too late. X-)