Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Proofreader Found Dead Five Days Later

I have decided to completely pull my e-book versions of Aurora Rescue off the internet as I prepare them for publication in traditional book format. Part of the reason is that I have, once again, edited them and made some changes. For one thing, I took a chunk of the story out of one of the middle chapters and used it to create what I hope is an attention-grabbing prologue.

After I dumped the latest manuscript for Aurora Rescue into the formatted-for-print document, I, once again went about the process of proofreading. I found punctuation errors, dropped words, and awkward sentences. Not good.

Now, I know I proofed this manuscript many times before I submitted it as an e-book, including:
1.  Performed several proofs on the digital version, some of which took place after I had put the manuscript away for several days (one of the "sacred cows" of proof-reading the first and subsequent drafts).
2.  Killed a forest and printed it out in order to proofread a paper version
3.  Created an e-book file and read it on a reader to see how the final version looked in a different format.
In spite of that, I was surprised how many errors I found when I read through it again after not looking at this manuscript for over a year.

So, now, after proofreading Aurora Rescue in its entirety on the computer, I have killed another, albeit smaller, forest and printed out my manuscript for a final proofreading. What I did was copy and paste the manuscript into two columns and took out all the "white space". I am going over it with multiple colored pencils and pens to try to catch everything.

Proofreading is tedious, tedious, TEDIOUS.

I recently read about a professional proofreader who passed away at his work desk and was found only after several co-workers realized they had not seen nor heard from him for awhile. The coroner estimated he had been dead for five days when he was found. Yep! I can see how that can happen. I am five pages into proofreading my 84 pages, and I already feel like I am there. This morning I even looked forward with pleasure to the diversion of swapping out my laundry and folding clothes just so I could take a break from proofreading.

I am not a professional, but based on problems I have found in the past with my manuscripts, this is what I am doing this time:

1.  I use a light blue pencil to circle every period or sentence ending, as well as verify quote marks and proper punctuation on both ends of my dialogue sentences. I also use it to track commas on complex sentences to be sure the wording is not awkward, or the subject and predicate are not misplaced.

2.  I use a red pencil to mark errors, whether they be punctuation, or needed word changes, or changes in sentence structure.

3.  I use a FINE TIP blue ballpoint pen for jotting  any word changes or notes of what I need to check on in the style manual or dictionary. After all, I have very little margin space, so I need to write small.

Only 79 more pages to go. If no one hears from me in five days, please ask someone to check on me.

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