There’s a Gremlin in my Book!

Happy Friday everyone! Be sure to check out my post over at the Scribes – Stagnant Brain Syndrome.

This week, I’ve been furiously re-reading my manuscript – The Undead Space Initiative so I can hand it in for final line edits.

And man, let me tell you, I swear there is a little gremlin sitting in my computer deleting words (that no one seems to notice are missing). The gremlin also likes to play with formatting and add extra spaces or delete space that should be there.

I know that all manuscripts have typos and missing words. It comes with the territory. Very frustrating, especially when you have a perfectionist personality like I do.

One way to combat the gremlin (besides the obvious thing – using spell checker liberally and often) is time away from the book. I haven’t read USI since last year. I’ve had time to forget what I wrote and see it with fresh eyes.

The other helpful tip: read in short, focused bursts. That way you won’t get sucked into the story and forget to check for those pesky errors. Any time I caught myself actually “reading”, I stopped and did something else.

Another suggestion: scatter the order of the pages. But, I converted the document to the publisher’s format and removed the page numbers. I had printed the entire book when I realized what I had done. Oops. Maybe next time!

Of course, time away has a downside – the urge to change everything. I nipped that in the bud when I realized I was letting The Doubt Monster mess with my head again. My editor at Pink Petal Books enjoyed the story and asked for minimal changes, so Doubty can go torment someone else.

You’ll have to forgive me today, if I answer comments later than normal. I’m having fun with my family and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Tell me about your gremlins. Perhaps you have one that eats the socks in your dryer or likes to steal your favorite pen off the table. Or maybe something more interesting?

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14 responses to “There’s a Gremlin in my Book!

  1. I have no gremlins currently, but I have a Doubt Monster. He can go suck an egg.

    I like to read my manuscript backwards to look for editing mistakes. It drives me crazy to find one after the fact.

    Looking forward to the new book!

    • Hi Rose, I’d be happy to give the Doubt Monster a beat down. I like the idea of backward reading. I will have to try that.

  2. I like the idea of reading out of order and in short bursts. I’ll have to try it with mine. Good luck finishing it up and getting it to the publisher!

  3. Read it aloud. That’s what I do. Then you can hear what works, what doesn’t, find the missing words and where the pause really needs to be. This is the method that works best for me. I find that reading it to someone helps because they will tell me when they are confused or ask questions which help me know I need to make a change. Try this … I swear, it works great.

  4. I do editing for pay. So I do the same thing for my own work that I do for others. I read it aloud. I agree with Gerri, it’s the best way to find what works.

  5. With my newest, Beauty and the Feast, sentences kept disappearing – at least half of a sentence would vanish entirely. Had to keep repeating my work. Definitely a gremlin in the system.

    • Yay, you made it today! Wow, that is a bummer – having to repeatedly fix the same thing over and over. That would drive me bananas!

  6. As long as the gremlin is in the computer, and not on the wing of my airborne airplane, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief! Yes, no matter how many times you go over a MS, or how many other pairs of eyes take a look, something always slips through. Your stories are good enough, Ms. Casey, that your readers will overlook any wee boo-boos! Hope you’ll let us know what fun thing(s) you did today!

    • OMG – that is so true! Gremlins and airplanes do NOT mix. No siree!

      As to the fun thing – we went to Mystic. The aquarium, village and downtown. The works. And I saw the owl that I use as my banner on this page. He is $445.00 so I’m not surprised he is still there!

  7. Don’t let The Doubt Monster in. Trust yourself and and don’t change the story.

    • You’d be proud of me Mrs. G, I didn’t change a thing. I wrote down the idea on a piece of paper and then promptly forgot about it. The only thing I fixed was typos and the occasional messed up word – like I had spurned when I meant to use spurred!

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