I Didn’t Mean That!

One of the banes of a writer’s life are typos.

Some of my typos are a result of bad habits, like when I write back in forth. For some reason, I always type it out that way, instead of back and forth.

Some typos are homophones, words that sound similar, but don’t mean the same thing, such as brake and break.

There are the lazy grammatical ones: mixing it’s/its, your/you’re, and they’re/their/there.

And, then there’s my tendency to misspell names, but you can read another blog post about this one because it’s something I do in my personal and professional life.

Others, though, make me chuckle. More often than not, they drastically change the intent of the sentence.

For example, in A Conflicted Woman, Sarah ordered crap alfredo, instead of crab alfredo. This typo slipped by several editors and many ARC readers, and I think the reason was, during the dinner, Sarah is freaking out about her mom’s new boyfriend, so when she orders the crap alfredo, I think many people thought I did that intentionally to fit Sarah’s mood. I didn’t, but this type of typo does give me some leeway to say, “Oh, I totally meant it that way.”

Others aren’t so easy to explain. In Marionette, I wrote free feels instead of feel free. Simply switching the word order and adding an s made the statement sexually provocative when that wasn’t my purpose at all.

Most recently, in The Date, I tapped out Lady in the Tramp, referring to the Disney movie. The actual title is Lady and the Tramp. When an ARC reader pointed it out to me, I dissolved into a fit of giggles because that simple tweak of and to in really transformed the innocent Disney movie into an X-rated flick.

While I hate typos, I know they’re normal for writers, and it takes a team of editors and readers to zap as many as possible. When they’re pointed out to me, I rather laugh over them; otherwise, I’d probably loose my mind. (Yes, I did that one on purpose.)

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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5 Responses to I Didn’t Mean That!

  1. Martin says:

    Hi TBM,
    One thing I regularly notice may be more of a way of speaking rather than a typo – quite a few American authors don’t put the word “of” after “couple”. So, for instance, they might write “a couple days”, or “a couple beers” or “a couple weeks”. All of these, and many other possibles, just look wrong to me without the word “of” written after “couple”.

    Is this a British versus American thing, I wonder, as I have never read a book written by a British author where the word “of” doesn’t follow “couple”?

    I love reading books by American authors, and I totally get that we use different words for the same thing (sidewalk/pavement, faucet/tap, trunk/boot, etc etc), but missing “of” after “couple” just seems odd.

    Or is it just me.

    • TBM says:

      Hey there!

      I’m not an expert on proper grammar (just ask my editor), but I think part of the issue for Americans is we don’t tend to say the word of when we say, “Let’s go grab a couple beers” even though we pronounce it in a way that combines couple and of, like coupla.

      Also, little words do tend to get messed up during the editing process. Sometimes when the track changes is on and the sentence structure is being heavily reworked, it’s easy to accidentally delete the word of or other two-letter words.

      I do love the differences between UK and US English. Even after living in the UK for many years, it still throws me for a loop when someone says, “I was in hospital” instead of “I was in the hospital.”

      This comment reminds me that I need to finish reading my book on the differences between the US and UK English. It keeps making me laugh or fondly remember my time in London with friends in the pub.

  2. Les M. says:

    Reading this reminded me of a short story I read a few years ago in one of those free anthologies you sometimes see on Kindle. The leads were having sex and I’m certain it was spell-check that inspired the woman to kiss her girlfriend’s angina. I’ve had two wives, and several lovers in between, but I’ve never kissed a woman’s angina. I suppose that’s more likely to happen now that I’m in my seventies.

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