Spellcheck editing – a fiend or foe?

As a reader and an author, accurate and detailed proof reading is paramount.
There is little more annoying when reading the work of a debut or new novelist and finding those irritating little mistakes that make me have a mental hiccup; where a misplaced or misspelt word throws out the narrative flow while I have to think what should have been said.
So many novels encase and envelope the reader in a world of fiction, fantasy, erotica even; the beautifully crafted words weave wonderful worlds to immerse in, to flounder, to let the adrenalin flow – and then there’s a gross spelling mistake that dumps the reader back in a mundane world of black type on white paper. It’s a shame.
I can handle mistakes involving, for example: the, then, they, their, there, they’re etc. What is less easy are the more blatant problems, such as:
• Vicious and frightening ‘rouges’ – where I presume the author means ‘rogues’
• ‘My my’ – where the author, I think, means ‘my’ not the mildly surprising double use of the word.
Unfortunately, at times of high literary drama mistakes such as these are a disturbing distraction for the reader.
It is a dichotomy. We need more publishers prepared to invest in authors, but they need to survive in a fiercely competitive climate, so costs must be minimised. What is, I believe, vital is to invest in a professional proof reader, and then also to inveigle critical friends on the clear understanding that their reward will be in heaven.
My debut novel may have unintended grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, but it has been physically proof read. I’ve done my bit, even though it may not be perfect.
My plea is: Can we dump the computer spellcheck and go back to human eyes.

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