There's always one • Lynne Garner

Spot the deliberate mistake!
Over the last few months I've done a lot and I mean lot of proof reading and editing. I also have a lot more to do. However, it doesn't matter how hard you try and how eagle eyed you (and your beta reader plus your editor/proofreader) are, there is always one that gets away. I'll admit I take solace in the fact that every so often I'll spot 'the one that got away' in a book that's been published by one of the large publishers. But that doesn't stop me trying to catch that 'one' by spending time honing my manuscript. Typically I read and edit all of my work at least three times before I let anyone else read it. I'll:

  • Check for words that are similar but not the same e.g. quiet and quite
  • Try to ensure the first line of new sections are justified right and not indented
  • Try to remedy my habit of over using a comma by removing them
  • Remove almost every 'then' I've used (that's one of my 'things')
  • Ensure all speech starts with speech marks and finishes with speech marks
  • Change words I've repeat simply because whilst I was working on the first draft I couldn't come up with something better 

Plus a lot of other stuff (I like the word stuff).

However this isn't the end of it. My manuscript goes off the the fab Hilary Johnson who picks up 'stuff' I haven't and corrects my misuse of punctuation (since working with Hilary she's taught me a lot of rules I never knew existed), poor grammar and clumsy sentences.

When I receive a clean copy it's pasted into a template ready for upload. Once uploaded the process starts again and the book (whilst in digital format) is checked to ensure:

  • Formatting hasn't been lost
  • Blank pages are where they are supposed to be
  • The index is correct
  • Headers are correct and there's no spelling errors (see picture above)

Plus lots of other stuff.

Then the paper proof is ordered and guess what? Yep, you've guessed it, the process is repeated. Once I'm happy almost every error (apart from the one we know will get away) is picked up the publish button is pressed. Finally, when the first set of copies are delivered that's when I resist the urge to check again. By that time if 'the one' has slipped through then I feel it deserves to stay there. Just as a reminder that there's always one!

Right, I'm off to do some more editing and proofreading on my next book.



Check out my latest two books (ebooks just 99p) - Ten Tales of Brer Rabbit and Ten Tales of Coyote

Paperback version also available
Paperback version out by the end of November 2017


Patsy said…
I've just finished reading an expensive hardback by a very well known author. The 'end' of one chapter is a half finished sentence ... or paragraph even. I've no idea how much is missing, but it's more than just the final full stop (I found that - a previous sentence had two!)

That kind of thing makes me feel a little better about the ocassional typo in my own work, but I'd still rather there were none.
Bill Kirton said…
Yes, it's such a familiar experience, Lynne, and infuriating when, after all the filters you clearly apply still fail to apprehend that rogue typo. In a talk on proof-reading their essays which I gave to students last week, I noticed - after umpteen re-writes, checks and double-checks, that the word 'original' had somehow acquired an extra 'i'. Worse, though, is in a book on essay-writing which I co-wrote with a colleague. She and I both edited and proof read it at least twice, as did two copy editors at the publishers. I sent a copy of it to me brother - an English teacher - who said nice things about it but pointed out that we'd either included or omitted the word 'not' from one sentence (I can't remember which) and thus comprehensively sabotaged the point we were making.
Fran B said…
Sneaky, having the typo in the header. Does that mean it was on every page? Eeek!

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