Errors of notorious proportions

Quick! What’s wrong with this paragraph?

Colin Lloyd Skorupski. His whole name including middle. Like John Wilkes Booth, President Kennedy’s assassin. People sometimes marveled at how notorious criminals are always known by three names. It was no conspiracy. It was no uncanny coincidence. It was a function of a reporter’s accuracy. By using an accused criminal’s full name, a newspaper avoided accusations of libel from some poor John Booth or Colin Skorupski who had nothing whatsoever to do with assassinations or sexual misconduct.

If you spotted it right away, you’re better than the seven people who read my manuscript before my editor. Find it? John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln, not Kennedy. I knew that, but it’s not what I wrote. I edited my own work and didn’t catch it. This is yet another reason why even great writers need good editors.

My editor changed the paragraph thusly:

Colin Lloyd Skorupski. His whole name including middle. Like John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassins of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. People sometimes marvel at how notorious criminals are always known by three names. It’s no conspiracy or uncanny coincidence. It’s a function of a reporter’s accuracy. By using an accused criminal’s full name, a newspaper avoids accusations of libel from some poor John Booth or Colin Skorupski who had nothing whatsoever to do with assassinations or sexual misconduct.

You’ll notice he changed the verb tense, too, which makes perfect sense.

Well done.

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