I had to laugh the other day. I was poof reading a section of a client’s book I’m writing when something niggled out of the page at me. I couldn’t put my finger on it straight away, but I was aware that I had been burning a little midnight oil and was on the lookout for any interesting little errors a tired brain can easily produce.
Sitting at my screen late at night is not usually my preferred working style. However, sometimes a client may request reasonable additional work to a manuscript at the last minute. Rather than derail the timetables of others: editors, page layout peeps, proof readers et cetera, this glitch in the schedule is best dealt with expediently, and the task naturally comes to me, the writer.
I know many of my colleagues prefer to tap away by the light of the silvery moon, starlight, or guttering candle. Oops, forget the guttering candle bit—that’s my creative mind kicking in—it’s more likely to be with a cup or three strong coffees hitting the gut. But, that’s what works best for them—quiet time—no phones, TVs, kids or other distractions. If I tried that on regular basis I’d have QWERTY permanently imprinted on my forehead.
Oh, yes, my error. I did find it and, in the process, found another. They weren’t that dramatic, but they’d have made my editor’s day if they’d slipped through. I was writing some dialogue where a homosexual was being confronted and being accused of being a pouf. Yes, that’s the same pouf—an 18th century, women’s hairstyle, not the poof of my story. Then my eye caught the second gaffe. My gay hero was straining beneath the yolk of oppression, and I’m sure if he wasn’t careful about it, he’d have egg all over his face.
I felt quite pleased with myself. I’d avoided giving my editor something to laugh about and the opportunity to insist on my buying his coffee. But I still wasn’t satisfied, and in doing a little more research found that pouf, as well as poof, can actually be used as a derogatory term for a homosexual.
Now, should I leave the pouf in place and attempt to trap my editor, upping the ante and tricking him into buying my coffee AND a large piece of chocolate cake? What do you think?
And did I get you on that proof reading pun in the intro?