The Absence of Editors

Like many lovers of language, I have bemoaned the loss of editorial help at publishing houses, and find my pleasure often marred by a series of misplaced apostrophes, for example.

But I’ve never seen anything as egregious as the dangling modifier that greeted me on the first page of a book called Brand Loyalty by F.M. Kahren. This is what the sentence said:

"Filled with a millennia of European art, her mother’s objective had been simple, to fire the child’s imagination, to awaken within her a sense of infinite possibility."

Literally, the sentence says that the mother's objective was filled with art, which makes no sense, and is not what the author intended, since the previous sentence mentions a museum. Obviously, it is the museum that is filled with art.

This gaffe stopped me in my tracks. How could I trust a writer who misused language? And why wasn’t this caught by an editor?

I looked up the publisher—Whimsical Publications. It describes itself as a royalty-paying house, not a subsidy press. It says nothing about its editing process, which the evidence suggests was either nonexistent or not very rigorous.

I am always aware that I have too many books and not enough time. I won’t spend that precious time on a product that isn't up to snuff.

Comments (2)
  • F.M. Kahren  - A splendid advertisement for your services
    Well Roberta, it's your web site and I'm certain it plays a key part in marketing your services. It also is a reflection of your temperment and your character. I'm certain this treatment of twenty-seven words from my work will bring you the business that you seek. The world over, creative people are looking for collaborators of just your ilk. It will also, no doubt, do you much honor within your field. Well done. I feel I know you. FMK
  • David Mills  - editing
    The critique here is vital. Whether you're writing a book, screenplay or teleplay, your copy needs to be perfect, especially near the beginning. Agents, editors and producers get so many submissions, they are prone to ignore material that has a misspelling or punctuation error in its initial pages. D. Mills
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