Tuesday, April 19

Editing and Proof Reading

Would it be wonderful if our writing was perfect from the moment it appeared on the page?  I do know of course, that there are few books published that have NO errors in them, and I tolerate the occasional "error", especially as I know that there are disagreements about the use of some words and some punctuation.  

I do hate it when a book is littered with errors.  I have a couple of funny stories about books and errors.  

Quite a few years ago, I read about a local woman who had published a book.  She had quite a bit of publicity about her publication, so I contacted her and invited her to be a guest speaker at a function for our local writing group.  It was an afternoon event on a Saturday, and I found one of the other members to chair the event, and I did the catering.  (I had had my own catering business some years earlier so it was an easy task for me.)

I was able to listen to the talk as I quietly arranged the food, cups and saucers, tea, coffee etc, and I learned that there were two printings of her work.  The first one had too many errors in it.  

At the end of the event, she asked if I had bought the book, and I said I had not as I had inadequate cash as I had used my funds for the catering.  She handed me a book and said, "Pay me later."

A day or two later I picked up the book to read it.  I was horrified at the number of errors I found in the first few pages.  I phoned the lady, assuming that I had one of the first print run.  She was adamant that there were no errors in the second edition and was a bit put out by my claim that I had identified many!!

I did go on to read it all, with my pencil in hand, circled all the errors I found.  There were many.  As an example, a character, a doctor, had his name spelled three different ways.  The protagonist had travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane in a car, which amazingly did the journey almost as fast as a plane, and a skeleton had a muscle spasm.  And on and on the errors went, and I sent an email to the author listing the page numbers and the errors.

She was not amused!!!  She told me to burn the book.  I did not, but used it for several years in workshops I conducted, as an example of getting a good editor.  In amongst our exchanges of conversation, she told me that she had paid $1000 for an editor's services!  OMG.


Another writer told me about her ebook, which I bought, and after a few pages, I found it difficult to read as error after error (spelling, punctuation, over repeated words etc) and I phoned her.  As she was a friend I visited her.  She took me to her computer to have a look at her words.  We found that (a) she had done a spell-check, but had not 'saved' her work, and (b) so many words were repeated over and over, and many other errors.

I know I make mistakes.  Often.  However, I use Grammarly.  
Each week I get a report on my writing.  Most of my writing is checked by Grammarly as I write.  My report for the last week includes this:  

"You were more active than 96% of Grammarly users."  

"
Your vocabulary was more dynamic (unique/total words) than 97% of Grammarly users."

I wonder what others get.  If you would be interested in using Grammarly, go to the link here or the advertisement on this page. 
I do "over rule" Grammarly sometimes!!!  Grammarly and I don't always agree on the placement of commas, but it is the only area of challenge between us!!





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