Proof reading – an angel stroked my brain.

Hi there and welcome.

What a wonderful day, sun, flowers and joy.

First – great day. I have  the pleasure of introducing  Nick Stephenson a phenomenal new writer who in only 24 hours gained  top place globally in a 50,000  promo download. He is featured on our Crime Thrillers page.  Enjoy.

I am determined to make the most of this wonderful day, it having spent weeks copyediting and proof reading…  I heard from Nick it is called the’ dreaded editing fatigue’. I shall look upon it as a syndrome from this day forwards. It is comforting to know that others suffered  the same symptoms, glazed itchy eyes, that eventually cross over so you’re seeing double; an early dowager’s hump – at my age!!! And, to top it all, my head bumping the keyboard with exhaustion as I search the screen for those little demons.  Yes, demons, it’s not me, it’s demons. They eradicate letters from words I so meticulously typed. Yes, I did write possess not pissess. Then they add phrases, repetition after repetition as if I have Tourette’s syndrome.

How can it be me?  I used  costly spell checkers and grammatical corrective programmes.  Still those demons climbed from the abyss, the writer’s hell to spit fire over the words, the phrases, the format – Oh God – where are you?

So what is involved in proof reading?

First, it is the only way your book will survive. There is no way anyone, unless they are completely out of their minds and obsessed  with checking, could present a book without  proof reading  or copy editing.  I expect they spend their time out of copy editing looking up where the sun doesn’t shine. Now that is a long sentence, which I will edit?

Secondly, always do one chapter at a time. Please don’t try to skim; I have, being a cock-eyed optimist. But – you’ll only end up in tears and a whole book to go through again. Because of this, I type and save my chapters in single files with a heading for each.

Thirdly, after checking each chapter, put it on zoom, font 25 and read it again.  I was so surprised at the revelations; it was a Moses on the Mount occasion. I found that inverted commas – the dialogue quote marks, have a mind of their own. They are continually twirling back and fore and back to front. Those demons had a real party with that one. However, that was not all, I am coming to that further on. But, if it isn’t demons, is it moi or it is it the programme? I blame it on the programme. I mean some people (me, including) get into such rage with it; they end up not only obliterating the programme, they throw the bloody PC through the window; that’s after putting a hammer through it.


To continue, after checking in font 25, and having a cup of coffee, or whiskey. You will see the demons are merciless, but you are now smiling as at last you’ve found a way to beat them. I for one am so glad I didn’t pick up the hammer.

So is that it? Not so – dear fellow writers – not so.  The demons are still fighting the angels.  One important point I discovered was ‘don’t pick up the hammer.’

The next and fourth step is to put the rectified chapters into one complete file.  What a wonderful feeling. I was on my way, and like my friends and countless other people, actually visualising book covers. But – but – have you checked to see if you’ve left any chapters out? Yes, it is done – and not just by me. I know of at a least two others who have got to chapter 67. This is where one of the invisible angels checked in and prompted us to check back the numbers to find we have left one out. e.g. chapter fifteen.

But, this isn’t the pits, not yet.  The thing is when you’ve finally done all checking, sent if off to the formatters and received it back. You think – or maybe an angel stroked your brain, and you decided to read through your wonderfully formatted book and once more, and to your horror find blasted chapter twenty-three missing.

However, don’t give up. You love your book and the angels love your book, otherwise you would not have those nudges to check once more. Trouble is they are not stroking your brain anymore they’re thumping it, and the headaches are excruciating. But, to use that awful cliché, no brain, no pain, no gain.

So, the fifth step. As you check the chapters, you are putting into the one file, write the numbers down with the short title. Once you have put all the files on, recheck them by starring each number you so faithfully wrote down on the first round. It seems obsessive but by God, it will save you rage and tears.

Now what’s left? Surely, I asked myself, surely I have done it all?  And, I’m fed up and I don’t want to check another …. (awful word left out) page. Now to send it off to the formatters to be reformatted with a big apology and hope they don’t charge a full fee for correcting the mishap and reinsert the chapter. Happily, I have great formatters with the utmost patience for hapless me. They even emailed me tissues to wipe the mascara running down my cheeks.

Now sixth point. Before re-sending it to the formatters, read the whole book on Kindle Previewer. You can download it free from the Net.

But – we haven’t finished yet.

Seventh point. The biggie. Read it out loud from the Kindle Previewer.. This is the final exorcism – the priest is packing his alb, salt and holy oil away and the angels are having champagne.  I won’t put it in capital letters as that would be shouting.  So please read it out loud. And, after that give it to a loved one and beseech them to read it. Maybe give a gift voucher to tempt them.

Conclusion: by now, you may be frazzled, cross-eyed, with battle fatigue, but you succeeded. All it needs now is for a reviewer  to start off saying how much they enjoyed your book, but it was spoilt by the typos and grammatical errors; It was one of those demons – still lurking.:)) I can understand reviewers having pen names.

PS I do not wear mascara – but it sounded good. Model from  Shutterstock.

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