I used to think that typos and grammatical errors were my fault. Diligently, I would go through a story, correcting and re-wording, until everything read perfectly.

Then I'd come back to the story some time later and find more typos and more laboured English. I used to think I simply missed them on previous read-throughs, but now I have realised that is not the answer.

The truth is that typos breed. They may well reproduce asexually, like a nematode worm or even do it via spores - put your checked manuscript next to a book with a bit of dodgy typography and next time you pick it up there'll be an apostrophe against a possessive it, an 'a' instead of an 'an' and even a 'their' when you're sure you wrote 'heterogenous'. Whatever the mechanism, they undoubtedly do it.

Given this breakthrough in re-writing research, has anyone any suggestions for how to quell writing mistakes' reproductive instincts? Can they be neutered? Would writing at minus 100 degrees celsius do the trick? How about sealing up your word processor inside a bioprotective bubble?

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Sell the book as quickly as possible! And preferably to one of the many publishers who no longer invest in editing and copy-editing expenses.
never leave your manuscript in a dark, damp place.
I enjoyed your post very much, mainly because I'm going through 300 pages of edits today and finding it hard to believe I missed these when I sent off the manuscript. I can't even remember using apostrophes, yet I find them everywhere, hundreds of them! Oops!

Thanks for giving me a laugh.
They must reproduce by spores, considering the way their offspring pop up like mushrooms in the most unexpected places.

The best way to eradicate them is to have other people comb through your work looking for them. They seem to emit something that blinds us to them when they're our own.


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