Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Your Turn

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You're mailing a manuscript to an editor or agent. How careful are you? Find one mistake and comment on it. If all mistakes are found, comment on your favorite or one not mentioned.

Hear goes:
Its two late to correct you're manuscript after you've submitted it, so be careful to check and correct mistakes a head of time.

Did you decide not to number the pages because you couldn't figure out how?

That's a lovely font, kind of like script. It's not the one asked for in the guidelines, but the editor or agent is sure to love it's look and also appreciate the lovely scent of the perfume you sprayed on the page.

Did you leave out little word?

Are their any words that spellcheck says are okay, but the spelling is incorrect for the context in yore manuscript?

Did your manuscript sit on the kitchen table and get all greasy before you put it in the male?

Did you remember to tell the publisher how great your manuscript is?

Since you didn't number the pages, maybe you should fasten them together with a giant staple.

The publisher has plenty of envelopes. You don't need to send one of your own for the response. Your manuscript will be excepted anyway and youll get that phone call any day very soon.


Morgan Mandel, Author of the Chicago mystery, Two Wrongs and the romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams. For more from Morgan, see


  1. Ah, Morgan, come on! You don't expect a fellow editor to just point out one error, do you?

    Sticking with the rules -- and it is hard to do -- I'll go with the first.
    "Hear goes" -- change "hear" to "Here."

  2. oh man, that's making me cringe! And I'm a terrible spellchecker/grammar guy.

  3. Morgan, I had to read the first three sentences a few times before I realized what you wanted folks to do. Not sure if that was part of the exercise, but as an editor, the first thing I would ask the writer to do is clarify that the following post is filled with mistakes and it is the readers' challenge to find them and leave comments.

    And I laughed out loud at the lovely font. Why do so many new writers think that they are exempt from the guidelines?

  4. >>>Did your manuscript sit on the kitchen table and get all greasy before you put it in the male?

    What I could type!

  5. Honest, I did put all those mistakes in on purpose so people who comment can catch them. On not really that hopeless.

    Except maybe when I e-mail someone really fast. My spelling does get out of hand then. (G)

    Morgan Mandel

  6. You've provided a great pubic service, Morgan! :D

    Whatever you do, don't leave out the S when typing blogSpot in your blog url!


  7. Morgan - great idea! Don't worry about mistakes, just let the readers find them - then congratulate those readers on a job well done. I wonder if I could get my whole manuscript edited that way?

    Reading this felt like nails on a blackboard. I wanted to use my red pen! But you asked us to point out just one, so I will.

    Yore's Truely,

  8. Great exercise, Morgan! My senior year of college a fellow English major friend and I edited the university journal together. All of our submissions were student written, and more than half of them came in with grease spots, coffee rings and ketchup smears on them. Both of us were returning adult students in our 30's with kids who were more respectable and organized, so we threw away all of the dirty ones without even looking at them. I bet we tossed some really stellar work, but we'll never know.

  9. Are their any words that spellcheck says are okay, but the spelling is incorrect for the context in yore manuscript?

    When my son was at Texas A&M he waned to study journalism so he could get into advertising. However, he was/is a terrible speller. Grammar is his second failing. A&M has a grammar, spelling and punctuation test that is required for admission to upper division journalism courses. My son took that test 8 times (there are only 4 versions of it). Practice and familiarity should have gotten him a passing grade eventually, but no, each time he took it, his grade went down. Finally, he transferred to a different university that didn't have the test and someone there taught him about spell check. His first letter to me boasting about how great spell check is contained Morgan's error "their" instead of "there" and I haven't let him forget it.

    Success, however, is the best revenge. He is a successful ad exec in Dallas and his main client is Texas Instruments. He's making much more than me, but he still can't spell.

  10. There are many people who can't spell very well, but they have other talents. Most of the time spelling seems simple to me, except for a few trick words, or when I'm writing or typing in a hurry.

    Others are incapable of spelling even the simplest words. It just isn't in them.

    That said, if you like to write but can't spell well, it would help to get a reputable line editor to proofread and correct your mistakes in your manuscript before you send it out to a publishing house or agent for consideration.
    Morgan Mandel

  11. It took me forever to figure out the it's/its. Finally I got it through my head that its means that "it belongs to it" and that it's means "it is" or "it has..."

    Okay, I'm totally lying. I just had to google "it's" and change my origianl comment. Stupid its.

  12. It's amazing how many of these things I've actually seen. Grin

    Thanks, Morgan!


    Libby McKinmer
    Romance with an edge

  13. *groan* Better to ask what isn't wrong with this than what is.

    As Helen Ginger said I'll be good and only give one answer.

    Unfortunately for me that little guy on my shoulder keeps whispering in my ear "fix it all"
    LOL. He won't keep his mouth shut even when I muzzle him.

    OK while he's not looking excepted sb accepted.

    Signing off before he starts typing here too. LOL


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