My Obsessive Compulsion Is Really Weird

There are those with obsessive compulsion disorders like constantly checking the stove to make sure the burners are really and truly off, or always washing their hands, or rechecking the door to make sure it is locked when leaving the house, or always looking at their legs to make sure you did not leave the house without pants.

Mine is different. It has to do with quotation marks.

No I am not kidding.

Here is how it works. I write say ten chapters of a new novel and I decide to proofread these ten chapters before continuing the novel. I try to read close, often word by word, comma by comma, but those quotation marks get to me. I will read a chapter twice, three times, looking to see if the quotation marks are there. Not only that, but to make sure there is a comma, as in “I don’t know what to say,” he said. Sometimes a period sneaks in before the closing mark, so I need to see the marks, see the comma, then of course there is the split quote, as in “I don’t know what else to say, ” he said, “but I can tell you show you something.” That is four quotation marks and two commas to confirm.

Sometimes happy fingers hit this – ‘ rather than this- ” and I must make sure I have the correct mark.

The thing is, even after checking two or three times in the first chapter, if I find a problem in the second chapter it makes me think I missed something in the first one, especially if in the second chapter I found the error on the second or third reading. So I reread the first chapter. This could go on for years. Honestly.

Some writers have a mental block about writing. I have a mental block proofreading with quotation marks my bugaboo, my white whale, my Waterloo. I could give quotes about this disability, but I would have to check to make sure the quotes I used are correct.

If you find any quotation errors in these books, please forgive me. Sometimes I miss the quotation tree through the forest.

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