Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homophones. Look it up.

I just finished Nathalie Mallet's The Princes of the Golden Cage, finally. I wasn't going to say anything much about it because I didn't really like it and there's no need to belabor the point--I mean, it's not like it was so bad that I wanted to chew the author's head off. It engaged me enough that I finished it, even if it did read sort of like a draft instead of a finished manuscript. No, it's the copyediting--or lack thereof--that I have to mention.

Typos I can understand. They creep in and they're hard to eradicate. And I'll graciously assume that the numerous punctuation errors are just typos. And even the most carefully edited book can have a grammatical error or two slip by, or three or four. But someone at some point should have noticed a little difficulty with homophones.

The words "bear" and "bare" do not mean the same thing. Neither is "retched" the same word as "wretched." "Shear" and "sheer" have quite different meanings. I could go on and on, but here's the line (from page 284) that threw me entirely out of the story and almost made me throw the book across the room:

"The creature's breath was as fowl as rotten meat."

Really, there's nothing I can add to that, except to say that no, I will not be buying anything else published by Night Shade Books any time soon.


Jameson T. Caine said...

Wow. The truly sad thing is, I am guilty at times of using the wrong word like that. My mind is racing at a hundred mph and my fingers are desperately trying to keep up, so muscle memory types out "there" when I wanted to use "their."

Of course, good editing should sort such errors out.

K.C. Shaw said...

Oh, I make the same mistakes too. I just hope that any editor who goes over my stuff catches that kind of thing. One or two slip-ups I can see, but in this book it was constant.

Aaron Polson said...

Rumor is, most editors don't do much editing anymore (just not enough editing muscle to go around do to cost cutting, etc). Big houses are relying on interns. Maybe I'm crazy, but that doesn't sound like a good idea, now does it?

How fowl. ;)

Jamie Eyberg said...

Wow, I am horrible at this sort of thing but that is downright embarrassing.

Richard said...

Perhaps the author was simply punning? Let me guess: the demonic beast had recently consumed a pesky chicken. Right? See, just punning around!

K.C. Shaw said...

Aaron--Maybe those editors are just chicken. (Ooh, I slay myself.)

Jamie--Yeah, it's one thing as a mistake on a draft, but another in a published book. I couldn't believe it.

Lertulo--Maybe the monster was evil because its chicken salad had gone bad. *badum ching* I'll be here all week, folks!