Red-pen’s Revenge

This week, I have managed to take myself on a short break, just for the week and just across the channel to France, and I am leaving you in the (?)capable hands of my proof-reader, so if you notice any mistakes then please let me know so that I can ask for a refund on her fee! So over to you, Krissi…..

……Thank you Ann, I think…..

Hello everybody! Golly gosh, I really feel as if I have jumped up two grades in school and been put in charge of the pencils and chalk all at once! Ann is taking a well-deserved break, and has asked me if I could fill in (gulp!) blog-wise ….. so here I am.

Red-pen's crew
Proof-reader’s arsenal

First of all, I must admit that I am not totally new to blog writing, I have my own at
auntykrissi.com
but when compared to Ann, I am somewhat of a novice. Well, let’s be honest here, Ann was the inspiration behind me joining the blogosphere, it is entirely her fault!

As Ann said, I am her proof-reader, which means that I get to read her novels before they are published, and aren’t they good? I know some people who think that their work doesn’t need to be proofed, “The spellchecker said it was fine…” they will say to me. Ouch! I really have to bite my tongue when I hear that! There is just so much more to proof-reading than spelling checks, as any of you who may have read a poorly-proofed book or article might agree.

Not being a proper writer like wot**Ann is, I have no experience of the creative side of writing. Ann has tried to describe her creative thought process to me as something akin to watching a film. The film plays in her head and she has to write what she sees and hears to tell the story. I think that is fascinating! Having very limited imagination, as I do, that sounds to me like magic. I like to think that I have a good memory, so I can write about things I have experienced, but summoning them up from thin air….nope, can’t do that.

I’m not sure how much faith I have in astrology, but I am a Virgo, and one of the things that Virgos are supposed to be, is perfectionists, is that a pain, or what! I do so wish that I didn’t get bothered when signs outside shops advertise “coffee’s and tea’s” or “apple’s and banana’s” but I do! (Just between us, apostrophe’s (sic) and their misplacement, are the pebbles in my life’s shoe) but anyway, the point I was trying to get to, is that, as a (sort of) perfectionist, looking for mistakes is easy peasy for me to do because I don’t need to look for them, they jump out of the page right at me! This is a double-edged sword, mind you, inasmuch as all mistakes jump out at me, even when I’m not supposed to be looking for them, however the bottom line is that proof-reading for me is sort of the same as story writing is for Ann, we both do it because it’s what we do!

You may be familiar with the idea that one cannot proof one’s own writing….even proof readers can’t. Very often, as the author of a piece of writing, you know what you mean to say, and when you read it, that’s how you read it, but a different pair of eyes might easily see a mistake, or a repetition, or quite simply where what you’ve written doesn’t actually say what you were trying to say. (Does that make sense?)

Anyway, I think that like so many other areas in life – with creative writing, we have habits, mistakes which we make again and again. Just as a writer has a writing style, so they also have a mistake-making style, and I’m hoping that Ann won’t mind me sharing with you her trademark mistake, so to speak! Hyphens, hyphens hyphens! If I had a pound/dollar/currency unit of choice for every hyphen I had ‘red-penned’ from the first draft of any of Ann’s novels into oblivion, then a rich woman I would be! When going through “The Angel Bug” I even threatened Ann, saying that I was going to remove the hyphen key from her computer keyboard! Conversely, sometimes (albeit quite infrequently) I have to insert a hyphen – and it does tickle my funnybone when that happens. (Sad, moi??)

So, I hope this has given you a little insight into my little corner of the Ann Foweraker world, enough to tide you over until Ann’s return next week, rested and rejuvenated after her recreational respite!


Let us know what your bête noire is, are you an apostrophe nerd like me? Or a hyphenaholic like Ann?

Do you think that correct spelling and punctuation are still relevant in 2013 and the world of the instant message?

We’d love to hear from you, and why not hop over to auntykrissi.com and take a look at what’s there! Oh, and I’m available for proof-reading commissions, just get in touch!

**whereas I might be a sort of perfectionist, I do like to keep a sense of irony in my writing. Of course I know that “wot” isn’t a word, and that even “what” would be incorrect in this context, but, like the Persian rug weavers who intentionally inserted a ‘mistake’ into their work, my ‘wot’ makes me imperfect, keeps my tongue firmly in my cheek, which in turn keeps my feet firmly on the ground and me firmly in the real world. (I hope)

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Proof reader, book covers and ultimate control

Okay, the decision has been made. I need to get someone else to proof read these and have found someone with the training who’s willing to do a deal with me, for a cut of each ebook sold, she’ll proof read for me now. Wow, that’s a commitment. I still have to work through and put in all the corrections, and that will take time, but I am hoping for a first book up by the end of September on my own website annmade.co.uk under Books. I guess that makes me a publisher as well, my publishing house :- annmade books. My logo, of 3 golden hedgehogs, would adorn the cover of any print book and as I have to design covers for the ebooks I suppose they will incorporated on that. That’s another whole new ball-game – cover design.

When you get into writing you hear all sorts of stories that you may not have paid any attention to before. I once heard a talk by a top Mills and Boon author.  At that time I had never read a Mills and Boon of any description, but don’t knock it as an author, this lady travelled all over the world on expenses, with husband included as he was her secretary and general factotum, doing her research and later her promotions as her books sold world wide, plus her writing had bought them a beautiful small estate in Cornwall. So, I thought, perhaps I could turn my hand to these shorter novels to a formula. Mills and Boon kindly give you their, quite strict, outlines of the types of book that they want for each of their particular division of print. I took a number of different types of Mills and Boon out of the library and read. It was, as is always suggested, formulaic, and a bit far fetched for my liking. I can’t say I really enjoyed them, they just weren’t my type of book (from a reader’s point of view) However, I thought I’d give it a go and with a sort of outline in my head I started in the ‘mills and boon vein’. I had to give up though, I just couldn’t control my muse enough to their patterns, or make my heroines air-headed enough / deluded enough / beautiful enough  for the style or my Heroes manly, domineering but sensitive, handsome enough.. it was all a bit too unreal. Dear reader, I gave up on my rags to riches Mills and Boon route. If I had been a different type of writer I might have been able to do it, but I would put myself under the ‘muse led’ group of writers and, frustrating though it can be, I am happiest there.

Oh! Quiet lost the thread there!! – Cover design. Sarah Steel (or was it Wood) told us that she had no control over her covers. That Mills and Boon had total control, to the effect that one of her books showed the handsome hero wearing tweeds, when anyone who read the book would soon discover that he’d never been seen wearing such attire, and as with that publishing house so it is with many others. The bigger stars may get a veto, but rarely can they stipulate what they want to see on the cover – that is deemed a separate art altogether .. and now I have to delve into that side of publishing as well….great ! I love learning things and this will be a learning curve!!

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Where I’ll publish my ebooks

I have to get someone else to do my proof reading, even if I still have the task of doing all the corrections, so that when the books do go online there won’t be so many gaffs on the page.

I’m lucky in that I can put my books on my own website, annmade.co.uk, which usually sells my popular range of slate ware. This business is in its fourth year and has been steadily growing. The books will go under a new tab, annmade books – I think it sounds like a publishing house already!!

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proof reading your own wrok … work :)

You can’t proof read your own work. I had thought that if I left a piece of work long enough I would be able to see the mistakes. After all, as I used to be a teacher it is second nature to me to spot the mistakes. I see them all the time in newspapers and books that I read. But no, I tried, but found that I was soon reading what I had intended to be there rather than what was actually there.

Note to myself… don’t be so critical… it’s hard to spot mistakes.

 

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