Grammar is a bitch: Those damned typos

Picture: a dark room. Faint moonlight creeps in through the closed blinds. Dirty clothes and magazines are in a mess on the floor. Pieces of fluff the size of wolf hounds hide in the corner, waiting to strike. The desk with the computer is covered with papers, electronic devices, and perhaps a plate that used to hold food, but is now more a Petri dish than anything else. And the computer is cluttered with notes and documents—an attempt to organize a scattered mind. A man sits in front of this computer. His eyes are red, bloodshot. Only a combination of Coke(ain) and stubbornness keeps him up. His mind is cloudy. His thoughts are sluggish. His eyes just want to close. But... "Just one more chapter." This is where typos are born.

The thing about those damned typos is that no matter how functioning you are, they have a way of sneaking inside, like rats. They eat your food and poop in... well, also your food.

Okay, not really. The thing about those damned typos is that no matter how functioning you are, they have a way of sneaking inside, like rats. They eat your food and poop in... well, also your food. Although, I suppose a better analogy would be mankind, rather than rats. We go wherever we please. We fuck whatever we can for our own immediate "needs" and cravings. We are destructive. My point is that no matter what you do, no matter how thorough you think you are, the typos will win… at least temporarily. They will always be there to ruin a good script, just like mankind will be there to rape Mother Earth. The only justice is that once we've "destroyed" the planet, we will die, but she will recuperate.

Back to the typos. With a full-length novel, over one hundred fifty thousand words, they are... let’s just say prolific. They punch you in the face when you least expect it. "I READ THAT DAMN SENTENCE YESTRDAY! So why didn’t I see it?"

Typos are easily missed, and quite frankly, they are also easily created.

It is easy to become blind to your manuscript, especially when editing it on the computer. Typos are easily missed, and quite frankly, they are also easily created. Perhaps you are reconstructing a sentence, and one word from what it used to be lingers, clings on for its very life. A typo is born, from the ashes of something else. Changing "A big lunch was eaten by the man" (yeah, I know: no one talks or writes like that) into "The man ate a big lunch" may yield the result "The man was ate a big lunch." And Microsoft Office Word thinks this is good grammar, so the typo survives. Fuck.

What can be done? Let me tell you, soldier! This war is won with stubbornness, a sharp eye, repetition, reading, editing, and, above all else, cooperation. I WANT YOU to help me in the fight against the enemies of literacy—those damned typos. Together, we can send them to hell. You and I we will do it. Yeah, I know, the last sentence had a typo: "You and I we…" I was just checking if you were paying attention. Were you?

But really, printing out pages or reading on a tablet can be helpful in finding typos, and of course being thorough with one’s editing, being meticulous to a level that's near insanity. Enlist help, people to read your script; they may catch something you don't. Granted that one is more thorough with a novel than one used to be with homework, it is still terrifying that if one or two typos can be present in a two-thousand-word paper, how many are there in a novel a hundred times longer? It’s a literary horror story.