Mrs Wids is reading her way through our local library. Recently she came across a wonderful Australian murder/mystery series by Kerry Greenwood, The Phryne (pronounced ‘fry-knee’) Fisher Mysteries, set in Melbourne during the Roaring Twenties.
One day not long ago she (Mrs Widds, not Phryne) was sitting in her favourite armchair in our study with her broken foot perched at a jaunty angle on her favourite footstool. I was nearby typing away, rather noisily I must admit, in full creative flight when I heard a series of ascending indignant grumbles and harrumphs, followed by words somewhat coherent and entirely unsuitable for young ears.
I turned to her and asked, “Yes, dear?”
“Look at this!” she said, and poked an accusing finger into the book on her lap. I looked, and silently handed her an eraser.
I don’t write in printed books. It goes back to my childhood, I think, when books were scarce and precious portals into far-away worlds. Also it just seemed … well … bad mannered.
When I come across a big typo, I’m a little annoyed ( a helluva lot less now than I was before I started my writing career) because it stands out like a sore thumb and throw me out of the story.
But these weren’t just your everyday typo corrections.
These were editorial opinions, perhaps based on accurate personal knowledge, perhaps not. But someone else, other than the author, passed judgment and voiced their opinions in a way that forced EVERY SINGLE OTHER READER of that book to pay attention to them. Thereby also forcing EVERY SINGLE OTHER READER out of the story.
Talk about egotistical attention seeking.
Even in the days before the interwebz, readers had a way to contact an author, or their publisher, and inform them of such things as typos. Now, social media makes it so much more simple. We can leave messages/comments on author blogs, websites, twitter, youtube, facebook, whatever and engage the author in a dialogue.
But this? …
Take it away, Aretha