TIP #10. Always proofread carefully to see if you any words out. (~Author Unknown)
I borrowed this quote from a blog shared by Brenda Remmes, a member of my writing group and author of the soon to be published novel, The Quaker Café. I chuckled when I read it because, well, just about everyone I know does this from time to time, including yours truly.
Case in point. One of the errors that I spied right away in Eve’s Sisters is from an essay about the differences between Jacob’s wives, Rachel and Leah, and between my daughters, Carrie and Elizabeth. I added a little psychology to the piece by referring to the five-factor model of personality developed by Costa and McCrae. The traits are easy to learn if you can just remember one of my favorite words, OCEAN, as a mnemonic acronym: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and, Neuroticism.
Here’s the sentence from Eve’s Sisters, a response to a question from Elizabeth.
“Well,” I said. “You both have dark hair and the same basic facial structure. And anyone who’s looking at the two of you would know have the same parents.”
I was upset when I first spotted the missing word, but I’ve calmed down a bit now. I’ve been told that even books published by “big” houses have an average of four mistakes in each. And recently, I talked with a former copy editor at Deseret Books who told me although three or four people proofread each book, most still have an error or two. I take comfort in knowing that even major publishers make mistakes.
In the meantime, I’ve begun reading my work aloud in the hope that I’ll spot missing words like “you.” I’ve also convinced myself that despite pesky little errors, one’s work still has value.