Friday, June 15, 2007

Done. Done, Done, Done.

I just sent Jan my proofreading comments on the last chapter of her book. The very last chapter. I'd proofread the acknowledgments and the epilogue already, so do you know what that means?

I'm done. It's over.

What's funny is that the last word of the second-to-last sentence of the whole book was "ove." Yes. "Ove." It's supposed to be "over." So I marked it thusly and sent it on.

It's really amazing; so many eyes have pored over this manuscript, but it wasn't until I was looking at the formatted "galley proof" that all those little groaners and typos jumped out at me. I knew it would happen that way. I originally hadn't intended to look at this final pre-printer copy because someone else was lined up for that, but Jan asked if I would, and of course I said yes. I can't resist a good proofreading job.

Boy, am I glad I looked over it one more time. I'm sure I missed a few groaners here and there, but I sure caught a bunch of them. Missing instances of "of" and "and," and double instances of "that" and a few sentences that had more than one "which" clause. And oh, the semicolons. Like me, Jan loves semicolons. You know what they say about great minds.

I'm afraid I am not a good editor for whacking semicolons. Semicolons are Godiva truffles compared to the Hershey's kisses of all the other punctuation marks. Semicolons are the sweetest and most exquisite of the punctuation marks. We don't want to overdo them.

Only problem is, I think I could eat my weight in Godiva truffles, if I let myself. And I feel the same way about using semicolons.

So the proofreading involved a bit of semicolon (and comma) whacking, though probably not enough. I tried to make sure no paragraphs had more than one semicoloned sentence.

I tried, but I failed. Alas, my hope is that the semicolons work for you, dear readers and future buyers of Jan's book, as well as they work for me.

I rooted out some dangling modifiers, too. And caught some serious hyphen infractions where en-dashes should have been used.

What's really sad is that, after all this work, there will still be typos and groaners. There always are. I find them in every book I read, no matter how sophisticated the publisher.

What's even sadder is that I'm going to miss this project.

But I'm done. I've done my best at my first-ever book-editing job, and I'm done.

Time for bed.

3 comments:

  1. It's amazing that no matter how many times anything is edited, there will still be mistakes. Maybe not typos, or grammatical errors, or puncutation errors, but perhaps some part of the story not completely explained because the editor(s) knew the story so well that they weren't editing it from the reader's point of view. Editing is a very tough job!

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  2. I salute to people who do editing. I think it can be a challenging endeavour.

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  3. You, semicolon whacker, you! Actually, I've always wondered why the semicolon exists when a good period will do. Why string two sentences together when you can make them stand on their own? But, of course, there are those who say, "Semicolons are the sweetest and most exquisite of the punctuation marks." And it's precisely for these readers and writers and proofreaders that semicolons exist! (No wonder it's so hard for you to whack them!)

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