Proofing Your Book

So you have this novel you just finished. It’s awesome. It’s perfect. It’s exactly what you wanted to write, from start to finish, even though it took over a year to complete. You’re done, right?

Maybe. I’m going to say, no matter what, you aren’t. Even if you are. Even if, strangely enough, your book is perfect, without sentence issues or forgotten plot points or even mistypes of any kind. It’s golden goose good, with conflict/resolution meted out exactly as you want (Nay, exactly how the readers love the most!), the arc is glorious to behold in partiality or entirety, and there’s just enough humor to keep the reader smiling. Nope. Get it checked out by another pair of eyes. A good, solid, trained pair of eyes.

Because let me tell you, my novels are perfect when I’m done. First draft. Light revisions. Perfect. Until I re-read. Until I show it to someone else. Until I sit on it for six months and grow as a writer. I’m saying this because no matter how awesome you think you are, you can always be moreso. Always always always. You’ll find falling into the revision process shows you how much you’ve grown since you started writing (or not. I’ve actually become a worse writer by sitting on my butt and doing nothing. Some of my earlier works are much better, in my eyes, than what I’m creating right now. Some). You can revise, then wait, then revise…

Which brings me to the coin reversal. Boom. Flipped. Tails. YOU CAN REVISE FOREVER, and it will never be “done”, if you are so inclined (obsessed). That’s what I did on the book I’m publishing in the near future. I’ve rewritten it, in its entirety, three times. I’ve revised it over ten times. And I still find so. Many. Errors. Stupid stuff. Blonde hair when she’s brown three pages later. Mistypes. Verb/tense agreement. Passive verb/word use (my LORD there’s so much of that going on it’s ridiculous).

And that’s AFTER I gave my book to a professional editor. AFTER he gave it five read-throughs and gave it to a grammartarian (grammarian?) to read through twice.

I’m not saying that’ll be you. I wrote this book over the course of some very interesting/trying times, where I was diagnosed with diabetes and all manner of creativity died. Yet I still wrote. So I had to clean so much up. But that’s beside the point.

The novel I wrote after that, I finished without revising once, then read through, revised a little, and was completely happy with it. So who knows what goes on from book to book?

Questions? Comments? Agreement? PLEASE feel free to email me at heissererwriter@gmail.com for your personal insight, or leave a comment below. Hope you have an awesome day, and happy writing.

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2 thoughts on “Proofing Your Book

  1. Sorry to hear you’re diabetic. I was diagnosed Type I when I was a kid, so I feel your pain on that one.

    Anyway, second you on the editor thing. If you can’t afford a professional, you at least need like fifty of your best friends. You might lose a few of them, hounding for advice and all, but hey. Out of fifty, a few are probably going to stick around. My grammar’s pretty good, but I still miss stuff in my own writing. After all, I’m looking at the text with the knowledge in my head of what I MEANT to say. An editor/your buddies, even if they aren’t the most grammatically astute of buddies, at least have fresh perspective.

    I had a horrible incident where I had a character who was supposed to be debating his life, watching the shadows make pretty patterns against the ground, sitting alone in the woods. Unfortunately I type so fast and so frequently obscenely that GUESS WHAT HE WAS DOING instead of sitting.

    Hint: a bear does it in the woods too.

    This almost went to print. I got lucky; someone caught it. However, the person who caught it was my mother. So, you know.

    • So instead of simply debating, he was ‘bating. For a guy that’s synonymous. It’s nice your mom reads your stuff. My family’s great and all, but only one of my two brothers spends time to read my stuff.

      The quality of a good “reader” friend is so valuable. Gosh. Good people. Good people.

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