When the Shirt Hits the Fan: More Musing on Typos, and the Sortmind Editing Passes
There’s not much more to say other than that we thoroughly despise typos, as they momentarily jerk us out of the reader’s trance not only necessary to a fictional story but to any writing; in order to fully sink into the manuscript, we want reassurance that the author is truly in command of every mark on the page.
To my chagrin I generate some of my worst typos when editing a final manuscript. I won’t say in which of my novels my worst typo appears, but it’s enough to mention that in desiring to make “The gravity was astounding strong” into a pithier statement, I merely lopped off the fifth word without noticing I needed to change the fourth, to come up with: “The gravity was astoundingly.” And of course a sharp-eyed reader caught that after publication.
There are numerous recommended methods for self-editing and proofing, including reading the manuscript backwards and reading it aloud. Sometimes I’ll read sections aloud, but I’ve never tried that for an entire novel. Just now I took the manuscript of my unpublished novel Jump Grenade and sorted it in ascending order, to get an amusingly random succession of paragraphs. That may be worth looking into as a proofing method.
But the main topic of this post is the image of the Sortmind proofing hash marks before publication. I really wanted to find errors, and as you can see my beta reader and I found more than I would have assumed. Most were fairly minor, but I often made a little dot on the mark to indicate an astoundingly groaner. During the passes I variously made an eBook of the draft to experience the text in a different mode, turned grammar check pitifully high, and magnified the text to 220% to slow myself down.
But at some point you just have to let it slip into the world. I hope there are no blunders in Sortmind, and if anyone finds them in any degree, please let me know, for in having Total Artistic and Publishing Control I can always issue a second edition.
copyright 2019 by Michael D. Smith