Thanksgiving was quiet this year, actually a very good thing. The long awaited galley proofs of my novel Elysian Dreams were delivered on Wednesday. Here it is Sunday night and I am finally done with my part. It’s mind boggling the long and detailed process a manuscript will travel before it is ready for print. The version I received had already gone through sixteen different edit and proofing procedures. To the untrained or casual eye, nothing had really been changed. But, as they say, it’s all in the details.
Spelling aside, it takes several pairs of trained eyes to catch every little grammar and punctuation nuance. A swapped synonym or relocated comma can completely change the meaning and strength of a sentence. And of course, the final say as to what is being said lies with the author. The gang at Brighton Publishing did a great job with the lay out, editing and proofing of Elysian Dreams. And yet, by the time the polished manuscript reached my hands there were still a few errors that had slipped through. Hopefully, by now we have caught them all.
When I was teaching creative writing I gave my students some well worn and proven tricks to make the inherently formidable job of writing a bit easier. When it comes to revisions, I urge future novelists to read their copy out loud. Reading silently, the mind automatically scans and skips, filling in obvious words and phrases. Reading aloud forces pronunciation of every word, every pause, every breath, and every inflection. Spelling, usage and other errors literally jump off the page. And a well checked manuscript can benefit the author in several ways. The easier it is for an agent or publisher to read your copy, the more likely he or she will be to actually read it through. And, once you have sold your manuscript, the easier the editor’s job, the quicker your treasure will make it to print.
Even in this day and age of spelling and grammar checkers and typing ahead and auto replacement and auto thesaurus, mistakes do happen. In the end, it is up to the author to see to it his or her words are exactly as they intended.
Look for Elysian Dreams on the shelves of your local book store in about a week to ten days. If you don’t see it, ask for it by name. Thanks.