errorsI was struggling for ideas today as I sat down to write this blog post. Normally I have a head full of ideas, but for some reason, this morning my mind was totally blank. So I did the only thing a writer can could possibly do. I looked for an idea to steal.

Starting with the news, sports results and then finally a read through some of my favourite blogs. I came to this story by Glynis, whose blog is one of my regular reads. So I have to thank her for todays inspiration.

I am currently writing my fourth book and having a wonderful time. Basically projectile vomiting words out as I let my imagination run rampant. Losing myself in the story and characters, the plot twists and imagery I want to create for my readers. All fun and the very best part of writing. Yesterday however, I realised that I am rapidly approaching the last few chapters of the story. Maybe less than a couple of weeks away from completing the first draft.

Now that is the word that makes my imagination curl up and die. Draft!

That means the end of imagination and creativity, and the start of a painful process of proof reading, editing and horror of all horrors, error correction. For my last three books, I spent so long correcting proofs, and re-correcting corrected proofs, and then re-correcting the re-corrected proofs that I thought I had tracked down all the little blighters.

“I found a few mistakes. Do you want me to mark them?” was the horror of all horrors I needed to hear after my wife read one of my books recently.

Hiding my shame, I told her not to worry. A couple of ‘typos’ would create little talking points for my readers. Show that I am not perfect. (Yes I know, a pathetic excuse.) However, as the book is now published and on sale, there is little I can do.

But it has taught me a lesson in self-publishing. The one vital part missing is not having an independent editor to work on the manuscript. But this can be very expensive, if you hire an editor. So for my current book, I am going to spend a long time correcting proofs, and re-correcting corrected proofs, and then re-correcting the re-corrected proofs again. But reading your own text over and over will never get all those typos.

So this time, after all that work, I will give my manuscript to a couple of friends to proof read and promise them a few free copies for helping me when the book is released. Hopefully, they will find those last annoying little typos.

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Writer’s Nightmare
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9 thoughts on “Writer’s Nightmare

  • 08/01/2010 at 7:28 pm

    I have the peculiar ability to memorize everything that I write verbatim. A very handy ability unless I'm proof reading, since I tend to read from my mind rather than the page. I might as well be blind.

    Not so sure the excuse your about your typos was unessential. I delight in the rare gem typo.

  • 08/01/2010 at 7:32 pm

    And what do you know…there's a typo in my comment. Geesh.

  • 08/01/2010 at 7:33 pm

    You needn't worry. There are many creative moments that occur when polishing the work. If you mean simple line editing, then yes, it's a chore.

    But sometimes during the editing, one gets smacked in the face by a line or paragraph that fits better elsewhere and voila! The story is better for it.

    And it's the one you really wanted to tell.

    And you can always go back and say admiringly, "Did I write that? It's wonderful."

  • 08/01/2010 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks for both your kind words of encouragement. I'll try and attack the task with a modicum of enthusiasm!

  • 09/01/2010 at 5:37 am

    Boy, do I sympathize. But Marisa's right about those wonderful inspirational moments that can take place while you're editing.

    It was when I was editing my only published novel (so far) that I realized the story should start with my second chapter, not my first. I was able to put the necessary information into a brief flashback in the former third chapter with no problem.

    BTW, when the book was first published, it was by a small press who hired an editor to go over it. And guess what? He and I both failed to catch a major error. In a scene where the murder victim's roommate is talking to the protagonist, he's referred to at one point by the victim's name. Oops! Someone pointed this out to me and said, "Isn't that the dead guy?"

    Even with editors, (big) mistakes can be made. :)

  • 09/01/2010 at 10:57 am

    Thanks for the warning Debbi. I haven't tackled murder before, but in my current book, I have ventured, for the first time, into some gratuitous killing. So I'll be careful with the dead ones! My main character has a number of aka's so I wlll pay extra attention now. Thanks!

  • 13/01/2010 at 11:47 am

    Catching up Derek, so nice of you to mention my blog. You can pinch my ideas anytime, you improve them!
    It reduces me to tears when I read through my wip and find mistakes, time after time. It shows me I have to read, read and read again.

    Oooh, I have to type in Kybusse what a lovely word lol

  • 09/09/2011 at 2:25 am

    Just think about all the books that went through the hands of agents and editors and are still full of mistakes. So just having an editor doesn’t mean that there won’t be errors.

    I once had the case where the typsetter or graphic designer changed a word in a text I’d translated and by doing so changed the whole meaning. So it’s not always the writer.

    Maybe you can find fellow writers or readers to help you out with the editing-process? Sometimes it really takes a new set of eyes to spot all the little things one has grown too work-blind to see.

    • 09/09/2011 at 8:47 am

      Good point Robin. There seems to be a tendency to deride self published authors for errors and typos in their books, but I have seen many errors lately in ebooks from larger publishers. It would seem that even those from the big end of town are taking shortcuts on quality as the price of ebooks is eroding margins.

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