The Copy Editing Killed Me

The best thing about goodreads? The reviews! For every book I love or hate, a visit to goodreads is mandatory to confirm both my biases and the folly of those who have an opposing opinion.

Recently I was checking out the reviews for Copernicus Avenue, and one reviewer lamented that the book was poorly copy edited, a fact that ruined her reading enjoyment and raised her ire on behalf of the author. An “unforgivable” error was made on page 3, she wrote. Here’s the error:

They were loaded onto freight cars and shipped across their broken country to a station bearing the, name Kleinsaltz.

Yup, a misplaced comma — indeed a comma placement that cannot possibly be debated; it’s wrong, plain and simple.

I recently came across a similarly misplaced comma in another novel — not to mention a plethora of commas throughout that would have made Jane Austen proud (you have to admit that the woman needed a good copy editor).

Are these errors enough to make me stop reading an otherwise well-written novel? No way, but they annoy and distract. Are they enough to make me stop reading a report, blog, or online article? Yeah, they very well could be. Whenever writing itself is noticed and not the ideas being conveyed, readers lose heart — and interest.

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Filed under comma use, editing and writing, writing

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