The Man Who Married a Bridge

Imagine my surprise when I came to the end of a romantic story (not my normal reading choice, but the book was free and so was I. What else need I say?) and found this paragraph:

Few present had ever seen anyone so radiant, they declared, and they may even have been right. Certainly her new husband thought so. He seldom took his eyes from her, it was almost as if he didn’t quite believe in her presence, so that he had to keep looking back to assure himself she was real. But then, few bridges had such creamy ivory skin to complement a creamy silk gown, and few still had such luxuriant midnight-black hair. 

Hmmm. An odd-looking bridge she was, to be sure. No wonder the groom had to keep looking back to assure himself she was real.

For the most part I am indulgent of an error or two or ten in a book. It’s the norm now in a publishing world where the bottom line is more important than the written line, and I know how hard it is to check every single word, but this typo was such a doozy it rated a comment. To be fair, the misspelled word was on the second to last line of the page, and was the last word in the line, and those are notoriously hard places to check. When you copy edit, as when you read, your eyes focus on the center of the page, so any words around the edges (the first and last lines, the first and last words in a line), end up in the hazy field of peripheral vision.

So, if you’re copy editing your manuscript or proofing a book, make a special trip around the edges of your pages, looking for misplaced brides and other anomalies.

Another way to check for typos is to temporarily reset the margins or type size so that the words that would normally appear at the top or bottom of the page end up in the middle. It gives you an entirely new perspective of your book. On the other hand, perhaps you like your grooms marrying bridges. I must admit, it does have an interesting ring to it. (Yeah, I know. Bad pun. But I couldn’t resist.)

6 Responses to “The Man Who Married a Bridge”

  1. Deborah Owen Says:

    Aha. I found your blog. Very nice indeed. I’ll be dropping in from time to time. Deb

  2. Sheila Deeth Says:

    I’m tolerant too. But that would have me finishing the read on entirely the wrong note.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You made a good point on facebook, Sheila — double and triple check the last chapter. And the first. It goes along with double checking the edges of the pages. We tend to skim over beginnings and ends. If I’d liked this book, that one type would have totally ruined it for me.

  3. Ann Says:

    Proof reading has got to be the most difficult part of the writing process. Auto correct sometimes makes changes we don’t want too. Thanks for the tips.

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