Letter from Paula

Dear Todd

I have just recently read Dragonheart and I am disappointed with the grammatical errors throughout this book.

I ignored these mistakes for as long as I could but as I read further I became more and more annoyed. I am going to type the page number and the sentance, or part thereof, so you know precisely which areas of your book that are incorrect.

I am starting with:-
> >page 71 as this was a ‘repeat’offense.
“Melanwy was tired, so I BROUGHT her back to her quarters to rest” Todd, the word should be took, I TOOK her back to her quarters to rest.

> >Page 84 – gotten??? This is not a word, it is a lazy and incomprehensible extension of the word got.

> >Page 111 – The last two wingleaders came last to the Council Room……..surely the last two would come last…

> >Page 145 – “We’ll use slings and Hoists to lift the body out of the weyr, and then dragons will BRING it between.” Bring should be TAKE, “then the dragons will TAKE it between.”

– “It’s too dark to do it tonight,” M’kury observed……
– “No, we’ll do it first thing in the morning,” Cisca replied…..

tell me, was she agreeing or disagreeing with the man? Cisca’s reply should not have started with NO.

> >Page 155 – “UNCLEARHEADED” what sort of word is this?

> >Page 158 – “In this great chamber WAS the fate of Pern decided.” WAS should not be here it should be after Pern.

> >Page 459 – “those wanting to sleeping with Talenth” even when these words are out of context they do not make sense.

Also on this page a reference was made about “…grabbed Nuella…”. No-one GRABS blind people unless a threatening situation is imminent and you have to move quickly.

I would also like to state that commas should not ever be before the word and.

There you have it, Todd, errors that should have been picked up by a proof reader/editor.

You wrote several times throughout the book about “deeper voices speaking from behind”. This expression became a little tedious.

I would really like to know what happened to the other dragons, the dragons with the plague, did they just cough up and die?

I was not very happy with the ending.

I hope that you and your publishing company make note and ensure that your future novels do not contain similar mistakes.

If you wish to contact me to discuss this further, please do so.

Dear Paula,

Thank you so much for writing. Every manuscript has some typographical errors (“typos” in normal parlance) that get through multiple passes by trained eyes. It’s the nature of things when editors, copy-editors, and even proof-readers find themselves under ever-increasing burdens of shorter deadlines and larger works.

Some things, however, will not change.

I will use “bring” where you might want “take” because that’s my choice. It is not grammatically incorrect in the United States of America and it never caused me much grief with my teachers when I attended secondary school in Ireland either.

Some punctuation differences are “house style”. Random House, of which Del Rey (the US publisher) is a subsidiary insists, for example on capitalizing the first letter of the first word after a colon. I find this annoying but it’s their way.

I make no apologies for “gotten”. It was the way Fiona thought internally to her dragon. Dialect and word choice of characters varies and should be allowed to vary lest all characters sound the same. Diction and grammar are not well-observed among young people and Fiona has only thirteen Turns at this time. Also, I tend to write “Irish” style where I am willing to stretch the language to get a good rythm. So sometiimes I’ll say: “He got up quickly.” And sometimes I’ll say: “He’s gotten quite unruly.” It depends upon how I feel the words flow. My editor and copy-editor sometimes call me on word choices and I often accept their corrections. When I do not, it is my personal choice. In this case, I can’t remember if they took issue with the matter or not.

As for your comments about page 111… I don’t know. Looking at it, it might have been a poor word choice to use “last” twice redundantly. It may also have been a conscious choice on my part for emphasis, possibly in an oblique sly reference to “last” as also inferring “least”.

With regards to page 145, Cisca speaks in her own manner. In fact, sometimes Cisca speaks in shorthand and I suspect this may be such a case. It would needlessly stop the story, obfuscate the plot and, I think, bore the readers to explain all that rather than letting her speak her own way and expect them to follow it (which, believe me, she often does!).

“Unclearheaded” is a perfect word for someone who can’t think straight and can’t find herself a better description. So Fiona:

“She was furious with herself for her mistakes — it wasn’t like her to be so unclearheaded.”

The strange made-up word emphasizes her state of confusion. With regards to your question — “what sort of word is that?” — I would say that it’s a perfect illustrative word.

Page 158. Sorry, but with regards to your correction, I believe that I’m following in the footsteps of many before me in the genre of sweeping fantasies. It’s rather Germanic, when you think about it, moving verb away from past particple.

Page 459. Well, that’s flat-out a mistake and it’s all mine. The correct sentence should be (obviously):

“Mother Karina had been speechless when Fiona had suggested
that the trader children spend the night in her weyr, those wanting
to sleep with Talenth.”

With regards to Nuella being grabbed, the nearest reference I find to such a thing is on page 463 when Nuella grabs Fiona’s hand.

With regards to commas used with and — many manuals of style are now of the opinion that in comma separated lists commas should come after every word, even if the next word is a conjunction such as “and” or “or”.

For example: “I like apples, oranges, bananas, and pears.”

You may find Dragonsblood answers your questions with regards to the dragon sickness. Also, Dragongirl, the sequel to Dragonheart will answer the question of the dragon sickness and more.