With apologies to the pure-minded, want to know what really burns my ass (besides a flame about 3 feet tall)? -- Typos. Typos, whether in my book or someone else's, drive me up the wall. Nothing will pop me out of a story faster than my brain getting hung up on a misspelled word or the wrong word, because then I have to stop and figure out what I or the other author was trying to say. And what's really bothersome is the fact that my body conspires against me in this.
Let me explain. My body is really very helpful. It tries very hard to guess what I'm doing, and it goes out of its way to do that for me. (Kinda like Microsoft and their constant "improvements" to guess what we want the auto functions in their software to do.) I've been touch typing since I was about 12, so that's a few years. My fingers know exactly where the keys are. Only problem is, the paths of muscle memory are strongest for the most common words: the, and, for, etc. Very often when I'm typing, my brain knows exactly what word I want but my fingers, in their oh so willing helpfulness, type something else. I will get heat instead of head; going instead of doing, one instead of on. Because I think I have correctly sent the proper word down the path of my nervous system to the muscles in the fingers, I think I've typed the right word. Only later do I realize that my fingers have made their own decision on that, and they've guessed wrong.
Next the brain steps in. This is the same brain with which I thought up the frickin' word in the first place. It does not guess incorrectly, it knows what word I want. Only problem is, when I'm reading over my work, it very badly wants to do the right thing, so if my fingers have inadvertantly typed the wrong word, my brain convinces me that I'm seeing the correct word! I might read the same passage over and over, and it'll still look just ducky to me. Obviously this is a huge argument against proofing your own work.
And spell-checker doesn't help. Oh, sure, if I misspell a word, it does, and that's fine. But my problem 90% of the time is that I don't misspell the word, I type a different (very good) word than the one I want. I think I'm typing, "the top of his head," but my fingers guessed I really wanted to say, "the top of his heat." Spell-checker says, "Yup, that's a good word. Thumbs up." Wrong. You can see I'm going against the tide here.
So over the weekend, I re-read my book Queen's Gold for probably the 30th or 40th time. If you count all the times I read it over while working on it, all the times I read it over while editing it, all the times I read it over after all that was done and all the times I've read it since it was published (did I mention I like this book?), that's a lot. Is it enough to catch all the typos? Noooooooo. I found another one. Hard to believe, but it just popped right out at me. Why couldn't it have done that back when I was proofing the galleys? Grrr.
Luckily, since I self-published this book through Create Space, it's a small matter to correct it. That's one of the huge benefits of self-publishing over traditional publishing. I can simply correct my Word doc, create a new pdf and upload it. It takes a couple days for the process to complete, but then the book is fixed and available for order. I'm happy, the readers are happy and the book is one step closer to being perfect.
Until next time.