Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Editing, proofing... and snowboard cross

A big thank you and good luck to Tom Curran, and a warm welcome to Vicki Delany on her return!

My tenth Inspector Green novel is due out in October 2014, and that means that this week I am in the midst of proofreading the galleys. Now. Right in the middle of the winter Olympics. I admit I'm an Olympic junkie. I love the thrill of aerials, the bedlam of short track speed skating, and the jaw-dropping speed of downhill racing. The explosive grace of figure skating. I love watching the best in the world put their hearts, and indeed often their lives, on the line. Training, training, training, all in the hopes of a few moments of perfection.

As a writer, my life is pretty dull and cautious by comparison, but even for us, there are commonalities. Practice, practice and polishing is essential in that quest to produce the best piece of writing we can. The road to publishing is a bit like snowboard cross. Rollercoaster ups and downs, moments of soaring, crashes, take-outs, missteps that take us out of bounds. Exhilaration at a contract or a good review, crushing defeat at a rejection letter. Writers, like athletes, compete first against themselves, aiming for their own personal best.

So here I am, with one eye on the men's snowboard cross and the other on my laptop, trying to concentrate on the words I have read many times, words I know so well that it's easy to gloss over them, to see the word I expect rather than the typo that is there. Proofing is mind-numbing work. No writer can read their own work without wanting to improve it. Change a word here, delete an adjective there. Rephrase or rework. But with the book already set for printing, this is past the time for editing or polishing. This is the time to catch those pesky typos. Not exhilarating, not creative, but all part of making the book the best it can be.

In the interests of watching snowboard cross while getting my quota of pages proofed tonight, I will keep this blog short. Otherwise, who knows what strange mistakes will trip up readers when they open up the printed None So Blind in October.

3 comments:

Rick Blechta said...

Read the book out loud. Oddly, even punctuation errors can be exposed this way, and as for repeated words and stuff like that, they fairly scream at you.

Or so I've been told...

(And awkward juxtaposition of words like "Oddly, even" won't get by your eagle eye!)

Barbara Fradkin said...

So true, Rick, In fact, the narrator making the audio versions of the Green books has found all sorts of typos!

Rick Blechta said...

The one who narrated The Fallen One, my one audio book so far gave one of my characters, an anglo RCMP constable a French accent! Wish somebody had thought to ask me...