I just finished reformatting my 2nd mystery, Firebug, for uploading into Smashwords as an ebook. That was a worthwhile undertaking because, as in the 1st mystery, I found all kinds of proofing errors. This is after I had several people proof and professional editing. I had gone over it several times myself. The most common problem was using two words when they should have been combined into one. Second most common error was dumb little typos such as ‘be’ when I meant ‘me.’ A few passive sentences were caught (just like this one).
Two things often improve the accuracy of the writing process: multiple pairs of eyes and time away from the work in progress. It’s hard to catch everything when we proof immediately after writing something. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. It means we should do an initial proof, let it sit for sometime, and then come back to proof again. It’s amazing what an expectant eye will do to trick you that first time through. I am not alone in this problem—it is common in the profession.
The lesson to be learned here is that we are not perfect. We ere and we miss things. Because I have to do a careful line-by-line edit when reformatting into an rtf for Smashwords, I am more likely to see things the computer catches. Thank goodness for those wavy red and green underlines.
[Publetariat Editor’s note: also see these articles on editing and revision here on Publetariat:]
Choosing A Freelance Editor: What You Need To Know
Five Lessons For DIY Line Editing
Five Of The Most Commonly Misspelled Expressions In The English Language
Focus On Editing
How to Write Tight – Self-Editing Tips to Make Your Manuscript Ready for Publication
More On Revising And Editing
Phantom Editors and Writing ‘Mistakes’
Simple Math: Fewer Editors = More Mistakes
Ten Words You Need To Stop Misspelling
The 32 Most Commonly Misused Words And Phrases
The DumbLittleMan Guide To Comma Use
The Science of Editing
Why Do You Need an Editor?