Formatting, Proofreading, and Editing

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September 9, 2012 by bck1402

A couple of weeks back, I was lamenting about reading through this massive piece of work that took a few years out of my life to complete. The simple purpose of reading through it wasn’t really a chore. I was looking for typos and errors in general, making a few corrections here and there, but not full fledged editing per se.

Also, since I had written everything in a .rtf format (mostly using TextEdit) and the pasted it onto a web page meant that my source files were in basic, unformatted text files. Considering that I had recently completed the last volume, I needed to still put it into Pages and format the thing to match what I had done for the previous volume (just because), and it needed it’s own run through, a first pass. I’m in the middle of just putting it in format first.

In any case, I spent over a week reading through the first two volumes (hence, a lack of activity here) and it was still harder than it seems. The few little errors should really just jump out, shouldn’t they? Read and write enough, one should automatically notice when a sentence isn’t quite right, or a word isn’t spelt properly, or the tenses are just that little bit off. Instead, I catch myself reading it just for the story instead of looking for errors, which lead to having to re-read portions at a time. Am I being too caught up in what I’ve written when I should be looking for how I had written it?

After all, I have no editor helping out, I have no friends who have been willing to give it a try – especially in a digital text form – and even when it was running as an online project, I had no comments. Okay, so maybe I was a little too protective of my characters (you hear all sorts of stories going on out there about character theft and such). And I do prefer to keep a lower than normal profile on the web and that may have hindered it some. Putting it on GeoCities at the time probably wasn’t the best place (except it did keep it hidden from most), especially after it changed into Yahoo360 and then morphed again. The Multiply was a little better in that I could spam my friends, and it did help track who would constantly take a peek at it too. But, still…

Anyway, while proof-reading through the first couple of volumes, most of the major beats within the plot were what I could easily remember writing, but some of the quieter moments seemed to have slipped from memory. It was interesting to rediscover some of that stuff (like, “Did I really write that?”) and I sometimes wondered just how much of myself was really in Syndi-Jean’s personality. Some of the thoughts and ideas are surely from my perception, but not all of that is me, right?

Just how much of our characters are intrinsically us, and would that impact on future characters? How much of our own knowledge do we infuse into them? How many of our own hopes and dreams do we vicariously live out through their stories?

When I started this project, I really just wanted to tell her story. i wasn’t trying to cash in on anything, I really wanted to see if I could do it – write a book. Really finish something that I had started. Now that it’s done, I really want to get it out there. It just needs to be read through and cleaned up of errors and typos, maybe a little cleaning up, nip and tuck here and there, check for repetitions (because of its semi-daily journalistic nature), that sort of thing. I just have to be careful about getting carried away with the narrative.

Now, however, what comes to mind is more, “Why did I write this story? What did I really have to say?” On reflection, I’m not that deep. I’m not trying to make literature. I just have a story to tell, even if I’m a touch long-winded and tend to ramble. If you ask my very few friends, however, they’ll tell you I’m generally a quiet person who doesn’t talk much. So I spill it all here instead.

And when I started writing this piece, I thought it would be a short thing.
Ah well, back to the grind…

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