I’ve had a bit of time for pleasure reading recently and, being as I’m a huge football fan and it’s that time of year, I’ve read a few romances featuring football players. Great reading for the bus since I pick them up and put them down easily.

But my experiences with two of these books made me grind my teeth because of errors. In one case, I don’t think the author knows much about football, so the lingo was just wrong. In the other, I believe there was an uncaught autocorrect issue that snuck through and it was so obvious, I was more annoyed than usual.

If you are writing or editing anything where there is the expectation of a lingo or specialized language being used then you really NEED to get it correct. True, in some cases only a small subset of your readers would know the difference if the focus is on a small or esoteric area. However, as with these football-based stories, there are areas where many many audience members may have a good knowledge of what should be in use.

Errors drive the audience nuts and you immediately lose a lot of credibility.

Part of me wonders, as usual, where were the editors in all this? The error in lingo could have been researched quickly on Wikipedia and the autocorrect error was immediately obvious on a brief skim of the text.

For those curious, in the first instance, there was a reference made to a penalty for “roughing the quarterback”. This was in the POV of the quarterback main character. Now, while you will sometimes hear this term, the official term and the one I see from pretty much all people involved in professional football is “roughing the passer”. (Quarterbacks are not the only players that can pass the ball, by the way.). It pulled me out of the story to ponder why the character was using a non-standard term when he should be deeply ingrained with the official verbage. Since I was doing that instead of staying focused on the story, this is a bad thing.

The other instance was when the author was referring to the male main character as the QB but autocorrect (I assume) changed this to QT. It was changed in multiple places and it was obvious from the surrounding text that it was meant to be QB. Ugh.

People are very touchy about errors and issues in the lingo used for their professions or hobbies and, if you are going to write about something you aren’t an expert it, please do your research and do some extra proofing. Maybe hire an editor, beta reader or proof reader that is an expert so they can tell you where you are going wrong.