Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Runaway meatballs!

Years ago my children were watching a Sesame Street special. In the show a giant meatball rolls off of a table. Snuffalaffugus runs after the meatball yelling “Runaway Meatball!” as a warning to all in its path.

A scene or two later, Snuffalaffugus returns to the screen. This time he is being chased by the rolling meatball and is yelling, “Run away! Meatball!”

I was charmed by the way the writers were able to change the entire meaning using the same words. It made me wonder about writing and how what we write can often mean two totally different things, depending on how we place our words on the paper.

Occasionally, as a newspaper writer, I will bump into silly typos or headlines that change the entire meaning--such as "Student cooks serve parents".

But stuff like that never happens in books, right?

Hopefully not. Hopefully all the mistakes will be caught at some point in the editing process.

Yet, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, some mistakes will pass into print. Why is that?

Well, it has been proevn taht, if the fisrt and last lettrs of a wrod are in the rihgt positoin, the eye will fix the rest.

So that can explain most typos in print. Even the best eyes will fix a misspelling now and then.

But this is about changing the meaning of things, not misspelling a few words...

So, I do have a confession about what almost made it into my second book…

In the first chapter of The Lost Curse readers find this description: “Zippers sounded as passengers placed items back inside their carry-ons, seatbelts unclicked for last minute trips to the bathroom.”

Do you want to know how it almost read?

“Seatbelts unclicked and zippers sounded as passengers made last minute trips to the bathroom and put items back inside their carry-ons.”

Yeah, glad we caught that! It that would have produced some interesting visual imagery!

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