When I first started writing, I hadn’t yet found RWA and the resources offered as a member. I did find a site for women that offered tips on writing, a place to submit and get a critique. I enjoyed it immensely and learned quite a bit but one woman didn’t really want to learn, she just wanted to be stroked on her genius idea of writing a book that would follow Gone With the Wind.
She consistently used knell instead of kneel and wreath instead of writhe. When these were pointed out to her, she had no problem with the knell/kneel but insisted that wreath and writhe could be used interchangeably. Slowly her critiques dried up, only new people to the site bothered to respond to her posts.
I see posts come through the Yahoo groups and cringe when I see all the horrible spelling or wrong word usage. Would they be offended if their incorrect word choices were pointed out to them? I’m going to say yes. Why? Because I’ve seen other posters point these things out and get shut down quickly. The most common response--“my email doesn’t have spell check.” Uh, okay but spell check won’t catch the wrong word, only the misspelled word. I sure don’t want to start any wars on the loops but it does make me wonder how many of us make those same kinds of mistakes and can’t see them.
In one of my college classes, we had to do a paper but the professor insisted we turn off our spell checker and get a proofreader. The example she gave--a previous student wrote a fantastic paper but instead of salon the student used saloon and she wasn’t writing about the old west. The professor had to mark the student’s score down, even though the paper was excellent in every other aspect. In the professor’s opinion, spell check isn’t always your best friend. I think we all need to remember that when we’re writing.
How many times have you seen right used for write? And we’re writers--honestly this one calls for getting the writer’s hand slapped with the wooden ruler. I always want to ask the person so you’re a righter, huh? Okay, I’m being sarcastic or as one friend tells me, a little too blunt.
I’ve been corrected for using blonde when referring to a character. Blonde does happen to be correct when referring to a female. Blond for a male, mixed group, or unknown gender.
I once pointed out gray/grey in a contest entry. Guess what? The coordinator sent me a note, reminding me that we had entries from other countries. I replied that I knew that but this particular writer used both spellings in the entry. If the writer had used gray all the way through, no problem. If she’d used grey all the way through, no problem. However, to use both spellings in the same manuscript, I don’t think so. If I caught it, you can be darn sure a reviewer or reader was going to catch it.