Freelance Knight

Proofreader Pet Peeves List #4

Proofreader Pet Peeves List #4

Proofreader Pet Peeves List #4

Since I started these lists of proofreader pet peeves, I have noticed a related pet peeve that has been growing stronger the longer I am a freelancer. It fits well with the origins of pet peeve.

pet peeve (n.)
“thing that provokes one most,” 1919, from pet (n.1) in the adjectival sense “especially cherished” (1826), here in jocular or ironic use with peeve (Source: http://etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=pet+peeve)

It is that “especially cherished” aspect of the origins. As my involvement in the game industry grows, the more passionate I become about games. Do I “cherish” games? Perhaps. It definitely goes beyond just liking them. So how can “cherishing” games become a pet peeve? Well, it is that love of games and experience as a proofreader that have merged into a pet peeve for poorly written game manuals and rpg books. If you are a fellow editor or proofreader, you probably will completely empathize with this. Without even trying, I naturally proofread and edit anything I read now. In fact, I even do that to books, newspapers, and magazines as I read them. I will be reading along wistfully and suddenly my eyes come to a screeching halt as I notice a spelling error, a grammatically incorrect sentence, or poor punctuation. Normally, I can quickly move past it and continue reading with just a tiny inkling in the back of my mind about the error.

But it is while reading a game that the emotions become so strong, because of that “cherishing” aspect, that I cannot just push it aside. My wife will often catch me wincing as I read the manual from a newly acquired board game. From the back of my mind, the thought creeps up quickly to the forefront, “I wish I had worked on this project and caught these mistakes.” I love games so much, I am passionate about helping designers and publishers with their games, that I become a little bit emotional about an error that could have been caught. I admit, I have missed some items that on later re-reads I am frustrated I missed in published projects. I understand errors can occur, but especially when a mistake is glaring, it really invokes an almost visceral reaction in me. If they are really bad, it can take me a while to read past that section and finish reading the game manual or rpg.

I just find it interesting that it affects me so much to find errors in projects I didn’t even work on. As I reflect on this, it shows how passionate and meticulous I am about my freelance work. I want the games I enjoy, and that you all enjoy, to be the best they can be. Do you find yourself noticing other people’s work more seriously once you become an artist, writer, editor, layout designer, or publisher?

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