Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everybody Needs an Editor, Part Two

Back in January I wrote about the unintentionally-amusing consequences when an author who doesn't know the right word gets the almost-right one, or lets SpellCheck take over instead of consulting an editor. (You can read that post here.)

Today we're back with More Head-Scratching Moments From Today's Books...

“Mildred, a graying brunette with hair as black as her son's..."

Really? Her hair is gray AND brunette AND black, all at the same time? 

The building was modeled after the Pentagon, though it didn't have seven sides.

I hate to tell you, Dear Author, but the Pentagon doesn't have seven sides either. Penta means five. Always has, always will.

Here are a couple of lines from a story set in 1949: 

He passed out after we hit the interstate. 

Nope. The first legislation setting up what's officially called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways -- no wonder we just call it "the interstate" -- was passed in 1956, and the original network wasn't completed until 35 years later.

We laid in a stock of MREs to eat on our camping trip.

MREs -- Meals, Ready-to-Eat -- replaced canned combat rations in 1981. These two characters could have gotten hold of C rations, but a couple of guys in 1949 wouldn't ever have heard the term MRE.

And these two from a Big-Six published memoir:

"My bedroom was kind of girlie, with a rod-iron bed"

Truly? Who the heck doesn't know about wrought iron? Are they hiring third-graders as copy editors?

"I'd hit the motherload of riches" 

After all of these, I feel like *I* hit the ... uh... mother lode!

Without naming names, what  are your favorite gaffes?

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