Writing

Note to self: You’re an idiot

Yesterday, I was celebrating the positives that I took from my, admittedly minor, achievements on publication day. To redress the balance, I decided that today was the day where I needed to give myself a kick up the backside.

You see, a friend at work pointed out an error in my grammar in Chapter Two of Monkey Arkwright. This shouldn’t really be a big deal, after all, I’m self-published and haven’t used a professional editor, so I was more than ready to accept that there would be the odd error in the text. However, it was the nature of this syntactical faux-pas that annoyed me:-

doorAfter scribbling my number on a sheet of paper…..

That’s how one of my sentences begins. I can only think that I introduced this epic howler whilst trying to type something in the “search” box, during the final stages of editing. Part of my editing process is to look at some of the notes that Rachel and I have marked up, and then search for some relevant keyword in the text. I was probably searching for the word “door” at some point, but ending up typing it in the body of the text, as opposed to the “search” box. That’s my excuse anyway.

During the six weeks before publication, I read my own book, front to back, five times. Can you imagine how that felt? I’m immensely proud of the book, but read anything that many times, and you start to be come a little disoriented and ever so slightly sick of the whole thing. So for the final few minor edits, I just re-read the odd random paragraph to make sure that everything still looked in order. After all, I would hardly introduce some huge error at that stage would I? I would have caught this error had I run Grammarly one final time.

Tonight, I’ve checked the text again, giving it a run through Grammarly. In addition to the above mistake, I noticed a “the” that should have been a “to”, plus a couple of places (one in the disclaimer!) where I’ve used historic instead of historical. I’ll be uploading version 1.1 of the manuscript to Amazon tomorrow, so you might want to wait a couple of days if you’re thinking of buying Monkey Arkwright.

[EDIT: After a meeting of the editing committee, it has been decided that all uses of historic were actually correct.]

I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out that my youngest daughter (and editor) Rachel is absolved from all blame here. I tried to save time by doing a few minor edits after I’d given her what was supposed to be the final manuscript.

The errors that I’m talking about are minor, and shouldn’t detract from the reading experience. But I pride myself on making my work as good as possible, so I apologise for any inconvenience.

Lessons learned:-

  1. Don’t make any final edits without somebody looking over your shoulder.
  2. Always run a grammar checker before final release.
  3. It’s not worth trying to save time if you risk upsetting your perfectionist editor (especially when she’s also your daughter!)

 

4 thoughts on “Note to self: You’re an idiot”

  1. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Happens to the best. I’m 40 odd pages into a Dostoevsky and I’ve spotted two errors.

    If this is some elaborate plan to get me to buy another copy it hasn’t worked. Someone else will have to fund your next sausage roll.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I know – that’s another option that was available to me. As I said, I can’t tell you how much care we took over the last few weeks as we sifted through the manuscript; just the last few minor edits let me down. Having said that, I’m pretty confident that such errors will be in single figures (hopefully less than five!).

      Like

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