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Sloppy writing in WM

edited May 2011 in - WM and WN
I have just been reading the Judith Spelman Interview with Rosamund Lupton in June's WM, and it contains some really poor writing.
The book under discussion is called Sister, and in para 4, p17, that word is repeated five times in three sentences.
We then have "Sister is the story of a bond between sisters". In para 5 we have, "In Sister I thought it was a good way of showing the bond between sisters". Repetition is sloppy.
There is also an editing lapse: "She goes home and as she gradually she learns..."
When we poor beginners are told that we must edit and re-read and make sure all is perfect when submitting something, this is really disappointing - especially in a magazine devoted to becoming a more successful writer! Perhaps Richard Bell could use his Red Editing Pen a little closer to home?


  • edited May 2011
    The ones I noticed – not that I’ve read it from cover to cover – are:

    WM4 ficiton

    WM29 pussy sores (it may be right, but it looks funny)

    WN10 Having been acquired by AOL for $315 million, Arianna Huffington intends …

    WM42 (Under the microscope, of all places) Quote: He … spends ‘free time banging my head … instead of actually doing this thing called “writing”. End quote.

    WM44 David Bowie’s Space Oditty (not sure if this is intentional)

    WM47 tenant framer AND writers brain (as well as two x incongruous AND disparate elements (pages 46 and 47))

    WM77 must seemed
  • [quote=Jay Mandal]pussy sores [/quote]


  • Can't find the appropriate thingy in the dictionary.
  • Jay, have you nothing better to do???! Only joking. There do seem to be an awful lot of errors for a writing magazine.
  • WM 47 (since we're on a roll here), "Ask somebody else to set you a person a place and an object to write about." Go on, try a comma - you know it makes sense.
  • The thing I hate most is when they say something is on a certain page and it isn't. Hate that.
  • Jay, you've got me at it now. WM 78, in a review of Oxford Modern English Grammar: 'Take all this on board, and you will have a much broader knowledge of the way that that our language works.'
    Mutter, mutter, hrrmph.
  • Oh dear!
  • What type of documents are these errors in? Are in they articles from freelancers, or what?
  • [quote=Jay Mandal]WM29 pussy sores[/quote]


    Sores oozing pus!

    I also noticed there were more errors than usual in this month's magazine. Let's hope July's (due soon) is better!
  • Dora, the sloppy writing was in the Judith Spelman interview, p.17
    The second was at the end of an article by 'successful author Simon Crump', though as it is in a box at the end, the authorship is not certain.
    The third is in Writers' Bookshelf, so presumably a staffer.
    I can forgive typos; though they should have been edited out, everyone is guilty of those. But the author interview was just amateurish.

    ('Pussy sores' is one of those phrases that says what it means, but can be misread!)
  • Now I know you thought what you read was what I thought I wrote for you to read, but I'm not sure if you're sure, that I'm sure, what I wrote was what I thought you would read as having been what I wrote for you to read! Understand now?
  • TooSlight, stop it, that's just plain boggling.
    I just realised the two irritants I spotted were in (sorry Webbo) Writers' Forum. In a winning story: piece of mind and councillor (peace of mind and counsellor) - and nowhere was it picked up. Ah well.
  • I'm almost crying with laughter at 'pussy sores'. Classic!
  • pbwpbw
    edited May 2011
    [quote=Jay Mandal] pussy sores[/quote]
    Count your blessings. It could have been 'sore pussys'.
  • Thanks all for the feedback.
    Re the "pussy sores", it's not necessarily a phrase I would write, but not really incorrect either. We do try not to edit the short stories, to keep them as true representations of the writers' work.
    For the others, there is obviously no excuse, unless we re-brand the whole magazine as a giant red pen exercise for you. I shall now dispense a post-Bank Holiday flagellation for all responsible (erm... okay, that would be me).
  • Perhaps we should have a (virtual?) prize for the most errors spotted!
  • edited May 2011
    It's something I have considered previously...

    ...check your account!
  • Honorary proofreader!

    Thanks, Webbo. I was (w)racking my brains as to why I had a medal.
  • Gosh, congratulations Jay, you'll be spending HOURS reading the whole magazine - you'll know EVERYTHING there is to know! We won't need to bother looking for stuff, we can just ask you where to look!

    I'm looking forward to this!
  • edited May 2011
    I resing, I resing! :)
  • Just clocked my repetition of 'look/ing'. Very sloppy! I shall employ you to look over my work, so it looks good... oh no! Looks like I shall have to give up writing...
  • Join the club Liz. :D
  • Congratulations, Jay! ;)
  • [quote=paperbackwriter]Jay Mandal wrote: pussy sores
    Count your blessings. It could have been 'sore pussys'. [/quote]

    Now that reminds me of a cycling holiday I went on .... :)

    Yaaaaaaay for Jay :)

    And yaaaaaaay for Webbo making Jay waaaaaay haaaaaaaay.
  • I don't mind occasional typos, but bad spelling hurts. On the other hand, I get cross with myself for being annoyed when I see incorrect spelling, as there are more important things in life.
  • LizLiz
    edited May 2011
    But everything in life adds up to a whole, and getting small things right, attention to detail, often draws attention to major wrongs, flaws etc.

    There are many major oversights which could have been avoided if someone had been paying attention to details - and paying attention to detail has to be carried out in every activity, otherwise it's too easy to forget, or to become unpracticed and unable or unwilling...
  • I think we all have things we miss- I know I always find something after it's sent, even though I've gone through it numerous times.
    It must be ten times worse when it is the magazine with pieces by different writers, last minute updates as well as editing to house style and the printer's requirements.
    It only takes one phone call to make you miss something...:)
  • Actually - I think it's a lot easier to spot mistakes by others, than one's own... You know what you have intended to say and are convinced in eye and mind that it says what you thought it said. You become blind to your own stuff.
  • Yes I'd agree with that Liz.

    I know I've sent writing to friends to read through, convinced there are no errors, yet when they've posted them back to me I'm aghast at the simple things I'd missed.

    I suppose with a mag, the thing to do is have more than one person to proofread.
  • Even with several proof readers things get missed.
  • [quote=Jay Mandal]WM29 pussy sores[/quote]

    This just made me laugh out loud-I have no idea of the context, I haven't opened the mags yet, but whatever the context the words 'pussy sores' are just funny-thanks Jay I needed a good laugh :)
  • Even having read it, I've no idea what 'pussy sores' are or look like...
  • [quote=Carol]Even having read it, I've no idea what 'pussy sores' are or look like...[/quote]

    that's made it even funnier-I'll have to go and get it now and read it for myself lol ;)
  • [quote=dora]that reminds me of a cycling holiday I went on ...[/quote]

    Oh yes, when I did the C2C cyclew route I had a nightly date with a tin of Vaseline and a tube of Germoloids. I had to be very careful not to get muddled in the very dark, very small, tent!!!!!!

    [quote=Liz!]I think it's a lot easier to spot mistakes by others, than one's own... You know what you have intended to say and are convinced in eye and mind that it says what you thought it sai[/quote]

    I agree too, Liz. It's something I have said several to friends
  • [quote=Carol]Even having read it, I've no idea what 'pussy sores' are or look like... [/quote] -

    I don't know the context but would assume from what is written here that the author is referring to pus-filled sores as opposed to feline lesions, Carol.
  • Ah that explains it Patrick. Thanks.
    But I bet most readers thought cat...
  • I bet they didn't... :)
  • Well I was too polite to suggest the thing most people would have thought...;)
  • I clearly don't have that problem! :)
  • A few more questionable bits from June’s magazines:

    Writing Magazine
    Contents pages – I kept reading the 3s as 5s

    9 publihsed AND causeed

    11 laying fallow

    30 sitting idly in draws

    37 rattles our knickers (huh?) AND Do your writing reflect this?

    Writers’ News
    2 Womens’

    13 gardenng
  • Jay :D you have too much time on your hands obviously...
  • No, I have yellow highlighter ink on my hands. :)
  • Proud of you, Jay! And I agree about the 3s, even with my specs on.
  • [quote=Carol]Jay you have too much time on your hands obviously...[/quote]

    [quote=Jay Mandal]No, I have yellow highlighter ink on my hands. [/quote]

    But it sounds like a very sad life, Jay! :P
  • Could be worse, it could be pink highlighter...:D
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