By Skylar Kade
A publishing house runs like a well-oiled machine: the author writes, the line editor checks grammar and syntax, the content editor catches errors and polishes that sucker until it is a thing of beauty. Every person has their role—but how much should a writer rely on his or her line editor?
This is not to say an author should distrust an editor—far from it. But should an author be responsible for knowing basic grammar? Should a manuscript go to edits with “there” for “their” or comma splices adorning its pages? In my humble opinion, the editors are there simply to catch what we as writers may overlook—a misspelling we always misread because we know what it’s supposed to say or a grammar technicality that only grammar geeks (I’m one of them!) even notice.
But of late, I have found myself throwing books across the room, or vehemently deleting them from my eReader, because I can’t take one more error. Minor things, like a period where a semicolon is better suited, doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But major errors, like run-on sentences or homonym confusion (peek and peak) are truly frustrating—especially when they’re repeated so frequently it can’t be excused as an “oopsie.”
My first manuscript, Maison Domine, went through two edits with me and one with a beta reader before even being submitted. After that, Samhain and my fabulous editor Laurie gave it three rounds of edits for content before going to a line editor, who found still more errors! Maybe Samhain has extraordinary standards for editing, or maybe I’m a grammar snob, but I just don’t see how multiple errors can slip through the rigorous refining process.
So what do you think? Is it the writer’s responsibility to be knowledgeable about grammar and spelling? Are frequently repeated errors excusable? And finally, what is your pet peeve in a book, that one thing that will make you chuck it across the room?
I look forward to hearing your comments, and I hope, after all this, there are no egregious grammar errors in my first release, Maison Domine (click here for an excerpt).
Maison Domine, part of Samhain’s Binding Ties anthology, released on September 29th! To celebrate, my fellow authors Natasha Moore, Jenna Ives, and I are giving away a beginner’s bondage kit. To enter, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org