Years ago when I was writing a romance about a television reporter, I tried and tried to remember the name of the award in television that’s the equivalent of a Pulitzer. It was the Dark Ages B.G. (Before Google) – and in those days if you didn’t already have a pretty good idea of the answer, it was tough to look it up. (It’s a Peabody, by the way. I finally stumbled across it.)
But these days there is Just No Excuse for not looking it up.
In the example from the illustration, it’s Bellevue Hospital, not Belleview. If the author hadn’t been so very specific, it could have been glossed over — there might be any number of Belleview Hospitals in the country. But the one in New York City is Bellevue.
Her down jacket made her look like a stay puffed marshmallow man.
It’s Stay-Puft — or Mr. Stay-Puft — mascot of the fictional Stay-Puft Marshmallow Corporation from Ghostbusters. (Watching the movie doesn’t count as doing research.)
“I went to Berkley.”
It’s the University of California Berkeley, not Berkley – and if she really went there, surely they would have taught her how to spell it?
“Imagine if Harrison Ford had quit acting when he didn’t get his first part. We’d have no Hans Solo.”
And imagine the Star Wars fans who are turned off because they know it’s Han Solo.
“Talk about thrifty. She could squeeze a buffalo penny until it passed gas.”
Cute – but it’s ruined for readers who recall that it’s a buffalo nickel, not a penny.
“Her new car was a Mini Austin Cooper.”
A little more problematic, because technically it’s an Austin Mini Cooper. Still.
On our next vacation we’re heading for Chili.
Only if you’re taking in a Tex-Mex festival. If you mean the country, it’s Chile.
The South American country with the worst reputation for drugs is Columbia.
And that would be Colombia.
The necklace was 24 karat gold at a minimum.
lt could hardly be more, since 24 karat gold is pure gold. (The other karat descriptions note what proportion of the metal is gold: 14 karat gold means that 14 parts out of 24 parts total are gold, while the other 10 are a different kind of metal. And 24 karat gold is rare in jewelry, because pure gold is too soft to be durable.)
So if you’re in doubt — or heck, even if you’re NOT in doubt! — plug the name of that person, place or thing into Google, and get it right. The 1.4 seconds you have to wait is worth it.
The Snarky Editor comes out of hiding occasionally to comment on the awkward, silly, and sometimes hilarious editing errors found in published books.