Please know that when I say I'm bothered, I don’t mean I'm angry. That would be sad. As a human being, I make spelling and grammar errors. Sometimes they slip past even though I’ve reviewed a post a dozen times.* Readers will use that one frakking comma you missed or that single misspelled word to claim that your entire argument is invalid. I don’t go to that extreme, but I can’t help but roll my eyes at windy tirades about “Lucasfilms.” I recognize that people can slip, but there is a difference between a one time mistake and spelling something wrong throughout an entire piece. If you’re taking the time to write about a subject, you obviously like it or you’re being paid to pretend you like it. Be professional and check to make sure you have Tatooine spelled right.**
But how can you check to make sure Kashyyyk has three y’s? Here are my tips:
- I find myself writing about The Clone Wars on a semi-regular basis. When I question the spelling of a character name, a planet, a plant, anything – I go to StarWars.com first. If I can’t verify it there, I search Google books and try to cross-reference anything I find on Wookieepedia. I also have reference books that I can turn to if I feel like walking across the room to get them (it's so far). It might be a little (or a lot) on the anal side, but I try to be correct. Once you verify it, add it to your word processing program’s dictionary. You can also make a separate reference list. It will save you time later.
- You can get every word just right, but what about when an editor changes your carefully researched essay on the Jedi Temple? Don’t be afraid to tell said editor that Padawan is indeed capitalized if one is using it within the context of the Star Wars universe. Provide reference in the form of a Star Wars book or StarWars.com. Argue with him or her if necessary. Remind your editor that you are a Jedi.
- Phone a friend. People are full of random trivia. You probably know someone that knows Star Wars in and out. I am lucky to know lots of these people. They are a great source for fact-checking.
- The most important tip I can offer: don’t assume. If you’re not 100% sure that you have it right, check it out. Use the Force. It’s totally meant to be used for academic purposes.
I’m going to try to organize a Star Wars spelling bee at the next celebration.
*And yes, I read this 100 times. I’m still paranoid that I missed a spelling error.
**This post is only half-serious. I'm not a Star Wars spelling tyrant. Promise.