“Typo”

A single letter stands between the title of this piece and that of the one that came before it. Sometimes that one little letter is all it takes – an “o” where an “e” ought to be, or vice versa. One little letter standing between what was meant and what you got instead: The dreaded typographical error.

            There’s a plethora of phenomena bearing the moniker “writer’s bane” (primarily because it’s just fun to call things bane, I think): Deadlines in conjunction with distractions, whole documents destroyed by the vile Technology Fiend, and long stretches of writer’s block, to name a grisly few. But the real shudder-inducer in my book is the “mistake in printing, typesetting, or typing, especially one caused by striking an incorrect key on a keyboard”; more to the point, I shudder to think that my reading material or written works will contain an instance or several of the contemptible things.

            Typos are sneaky little devils, slipping under a proofreader’s radar with a mastery of subterfuge. They gull our eyes with homophony, knowing theirs a decent chance there substitution will remain they’re unnoticed. They switch words around, betting our that automatically brains will rearrange so the sentence it reads properly. On that same token, they just decide take one or words out altogether. They play with punctuation, relying, on our lack? of confidence; regarding where exactly – bits, and pieces, like commas – and semicolons ought to go: in the first place” Typos are invisible until they don’t want to be, and then they are a serious distraction.

            I try to be careful, truly I do. I check, recheck, and triple-check every blog piece I post, every Facebook comment I share, every email I send (and that goes double for every book or short story I write). But sadly, I am only human. Not even a half-elf or a partial-elemental, as far as I know; fully, fallibly, lamely human. And even the best writer cops among us humans just can’t catch ‘em all. Inevitably, the occasional typo will get through. (And if you were expecting much help from the automated spell-check, think again; it’s been seen palling around with the Tech. Fiend one time too many.)

            All I can do – all any of us can do – is remain vigilant. Yes, it may be an age of text messages, emoticons, and deliberate abbreviations in the name of the vernacular. But when you take a piece of writing seriously, and when you want others to do the same, you owe it to us all to do the best you can to ensure that what you’ve typed and what you meant to type match up to the very last letter.

            So if you ever notice a typo in any of my blog pieces, please do let me know.

“Type”

Have you noticed a pattern in the sort of people you’re attracted to? Do they tend to have short hair, or curly hair, or light-colored lashes? Are they usually artistic, or scholarly, or reckless daredevils? Would you generally rather that they be taller than you, or shorter than you, funny, or serious, or so overly serious that you can’t help but laugh? Ideals will infinitely vary; even individuals will probably change their minds about what they do and don’t like, over time. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a particularly dire question, and yet it’s one we’ve heard before and will doubtless hear again: “What’s your preferred general character or structure held in common by a number of people or things considered as a group or class?”

            …Or, as perhaps you’ve heard it more commonly asked, “What’s your Type?”

            Physically speaking, my tailor fits my Type pretty well; other examples included a previously-mentioned former Backstreet Boy (bonus points for his lovely singing voice, and extra bonus points for when his hair was long), and Aragorn as seen in the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy (bonus points for a having a sword and wearing a cape). But that’s just one type of Type to have – the “Eye Candy Type”, if you will. Suppose you strip away the physicality, and even the materiality, leaving only personality as revealed in the printed word? (I’d say a minstrel took over that last sentence, except it’s all rhyme and no rhythm; my minstrels, they would have me assure you, have better meter than that.)

            We’re talking now about your “Reader Type” – the sort of characters you’re drawn to, that you love to read about. When it comes to my reading, I’ve noticed some patterns there, too – for example, my infatuation with thieves. Charitable outlaws living it up in the forests of medieval England (referring, of course, to Robin Hood and his merry band), ex-convicts stealing their way to a Victorian gentleman’s lifestyle (looking at and loving you, Montmorency), sociopathic kings of criminals who ruthlessly manipulate their way to whatever goals they set (Tirzah Duncan’s Syawn fits the bill; he even plays dirty by trying to pander to my Eye Candy Type, the punk), whatever. If there’s clever thievery going on, my immediate interest level spikes.

            Actually, I’m attracted to cleverness in general; reading about idiots tends to frustrate me no end. And I don’t like reading about people who are just plain bad, unless of course they are supposed to be the villains, in which case I say, “Never mind, bring on the evil!” I like reading about characters who hang around with awesome friends, and share laughs with them, and stick by them in times of exciting crisis. (Naturally, they should stick by their friends in times of boring crisis, too, but I won’t necessarily want to read about it.) And if these characters happen to be handsome, singing swordsmen on the wrong side of the law, so much the better.

            Do an author’s Reader Types influence their Writer Types – that is, the sorts of characters they find themselves attracted to writing? To some degree, I think. If I don’t want to read about it, I don’t want to write it (although I will admit, writing idiots in small doses can be fun). I enjoy writing characters who are cleverer than me (or at least sneakier and quicker on the draw), and who always have time for witty quips with their pals during escapades, and very sinister villains, and I’ve got a handful of thieves (including my own Merry Men, huzzah!). I also spend a lot of time writing musicians – particularly minstrels, which just goes to show that the Reader Type/Writer Type influence goes both ways: Buzzwords like “minstrel”, “bard”, and “lute” send my immediate interest level through the roof since I’ve written “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”.

            And what of you, Ever On Word followers and guests? When it comes to reading – and, if you’re an author, writing – what’s your preferred general character or structure held in common by a number of people or things considered as a group or class? (If you want something to be doubtless heard again, sometimes you’ve gotta say it yourself. 😉 )