Edit the Write Way

I expected my Inbox to be flooded with comments today, but I didn’t receive one. Because I deliberately put in a huge spelling mistake on Friday’s post, repeated about 4 times, and nobody noticed it. Or maybe, you were all too polite to tell me. The word of course was “Responsibility”.

Now if I had sent a submission to an editor with that glaring mistake, he/she wouldn’t have bothered to read any further, because I would be dismissed as incompetent. These days most people have a spell-check among their computer tools, or at the very least, own a dictionary. There is no excuse for such an error, any more than if you quoted a date wrongly, or attributed a quotation to the wrong person. These are all mistakes that can cost you a reputation as not being reliable, and once caught out, an editor may never trust you again.

The other thing you need to watch with regard to correct spelling is if you are submitting to a British or an American publication, because in this case, the spelling of words will be slightly different. In England, Canada and Australia , the media adheres to British spelling, such as favour, ardour, flavour etc. An American submission would offer the words as favor, ardor, flavor . This is not so bad as an obvious spelling mistake, but editors appreciate it when you go to the trouble of saving them all the corrections. I had a problem a few years ago when the Jerusalem Post, to which I was a frequent contributor at the time, changed over from British spelling (inherited from when it was called The Palestine Post) to American spelling, which it still uses today – although their crossword puzzles use British spelling.

Take the time before you submit anything to make sure that not only your submission but also your “pitch” or query letter is perfect grammatically – the spelling, punctuation and data, and you’ll be looked on more favourably (or favorably) by the editor.

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5 thoughts on “Edit the Write Way

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Dvora, It should definitely have stared us in the face, but I probably wouldn’t have told you anyway. Firstly it was a busy Friday or maybe we have been so conditioned to read wrong spellings, not the least because of the amount of emails which show us ‘how smart we are’ reading words in wrong letter order spelling, that we no longer react.

    I enjoy your blog very much

    Shavua Tov Ayala

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Dvora,
    Posting deliberate mistakes on a Friday and then being surprised when nobody spots them? I only saw that posting today.
    I’m enjoying your blog. Keep going!
    Kol tuv and shavua tov,
    Ruth Pepperman

  3. Rebecca Goldsmith says:

    Hi Dvora
    I noticed it imemdiately, and just to be sure, checked the OED.But, I thought, why nitpick? I was not asked to edit- just to enjoy- which I do. Your blog is very interesting and relevant, as is your writing.
    Thank you
    Rebecca

    • Lovely to be in touch with you again. I think , like you, most of my readers are too well-mannered to correct me, but that isn’t the idea. I’ve had an e-book accepted by Prism, an American publisher. This one is a novella – no Jewish theme – it’s a romance for seniors with a gardening sub=plot, due out in a few months. If you’d like to read it, I’ll send it to you online. Dvora

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