Dagnabbit – Drat that Comma

A gazillion read-throughs aren’t enough!

I just found a typo in a story – after it was published.

So I thought I’d offer a warning to those getting submissions ready. Read it one more time. Out loud. You might catch a silly error and not have to slap your forehead and groan when it’s too late.

What was the error you ask? A comma. A silly little comma. But that tiny little blip totally changed the meaning of a sentence.

Now granted, I will never, ever learn all the comma rules out there. I’m glad I have crit partners who are comma-savvy or I would be in big trouble.

But this rule I know. I just goofed. I can’t even say why or how that comma got in there. Sad thing is, no one but me would catch it because it was a passing mention of two people from the backstory.

Why do I worry then? Because I hope someday to have a whole series about these people published, and that comma confuses the grandfather with the grandson.

Here’s a made up example to explain what I mean:

Correct: Samuel the Prophet’s grandson.

Incorrect: Samuel, the Prophet’s grandson.

You see the difference that little comma makes?

So read your stories carefully before submitting them. Then read them again!

originally published in The Sword Review 2005-07-12

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