Startling Figures is almost ready to publish. I got the cover, spine, and back cover mock-up from the designer and I uploaded a “final” manuscript to CreateSpace.
The book looks very good on the document review screen, but here’s the reason for today’s writing tip, and the reason the word “final” is in quotes above:
When I read the manuscript out loud, I found a punctuation error in the very first sentence! This is after reading it countless times myself and having several beta readers go through it. It amazed me that I didn’t catch the error until I read a facsimile of the formatted document out loud.
Reading your work aloud forces you to slow down and enables you to catch “sour notes,” awkward phrases, and other writing blunders that the brain skips over when reading silently. (Another reason I was able to catch errors in the formatted, pre-publication mock-up may be that Times New Roman–the font I used to compose the stories–is very compact, but Garamond–the typeface I chose for the book–is much more open.)
Other errors I found:
Toward the bottom of the screenshot, at the left margin:
There are so many “wounds” in this paragraph, they’re stacked three deep!
The word “and” is missing from one of the sentences below:
Try reading this out loud:
John stepped toward Yvette with a sheepish smile. “What do you think, honey?”
I can’t even say “sheepish smile” once, slowly, let alone five times fast! I forgot to get a screenshot of “sheepish smile,” but here’s how I changed it:
I finished my third read-aloud last night — even then I was making corrections! It’s time consuming and your voice gets tired, but it’s worth doing to find problems now rather than at the first public reading of your work.
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