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7:44pm on Tuesday, 13th February, 2018:

Eighth Time


I've finished re-reading my Lizzie Lott #2 book for at least the eighth time.

So what I do is I write the book, re-reading the chapters as I go along, then (or perhaps concirrently) I let alpha-testers read it. After I fix it up based on their comments (well, the ones I agree with — and some of this disagree with each other) I send it to beta-testers. They make more comments and I fix it up based on those, too. I then read the book the whole way through on the computer, identifying any problems. At this point, such errors are either to do with punctuation, mistyping, grammar (maybe the tense feels wrong) or they're mild examples of continuity errors from having shifted the order in which some events happened or removing events entirely. Most changes I want to make, though, aren't errors at all: I'll have used a word multiple times in close proximity by accident, and will need to change it to something else that I haven't also used nearby.

Once I'm satisifed with the book, I send it off to be printed in physical form. I ask for a proof copy so I can read through it one final time and make sure I don't need to make any corrections.

I now have eight different physical copies I've read through, each of which has things in it I wanted to change.

So, as I go along I note in the front which pages have problems, so I can go back and fix them later. Here's how many there are per rewrite:
1    107
2    45
3    86
4    72
5    69
6    37
7    18
8    14

For the past three versions, I'd decided in advance that I'd only make changes if I came across something that was a show-stopper. On each occasion, I did. One was a typesetting error caused because I'd added or taken something from the text and screwed up the hyphenation (which has to be done manually). One was a continuity error (a character knew something they shouldn't have at that point). One was another continuity error (evening came twice).

I'm now deciding whether to publish the book as it is, or to make yet another "one final pass" to ensure there aren't any bugs I've either missed on previous readings or introduced in the latest round of corrections.

I think maybe I'll publish. That way, I can guarantee there'll be some howlers in it.

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).