I recently decided to have a few copies of my novel printed off, courtesy of Pen Press, for friends and family to read - whether they like it or not. No seriously, they want to. They DO.
I decided it might be prudent to have it professionally copy-edited first. There's nothing worse than reading a book filled with typos and grammar glitches - though I can't 100% guarantee a few won't have slipped through the net.
It seemed like a lot of money to invest, but I figured if I don't secure a traditional publishing deal, I may want to self-publish at some point so it's money well-spent, and writers services offered what I thought was a reasonable rate, and did a first class job.
They rather flatteringly said there wasn't much to do (hardly surprising when I've revised the damn novel about a million times) but I was shocked - nay, embarrassed - by my considerable overuse - and misuse - of the humble hyphen.
Dear-oh-dear. I had NO idea I used it so indiscriminately, and completely without thought. On every page they leapt out - car-park, pork-pies, hair-brush* to name but a few.
I had no idea. I do now. After a good old trawl on the Interweb, requainting myself with their useage, I've realised these cheerful chaps, with their constant interruptions, have got to go.
I'm so glad I had the edit now. My mum's a devil for punctuation and once she'd seen my faux pas I'd never have lived it down.
(I had to check there wasn't a hyphen in faux pas.)
* This isn't a fair representation of what my novel's about. I promise.