Word on a Whim

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Still proof reading ‘The Rise of Serge and the Fall of Leo’

I thought I had been through it with a fine tooth comb but, randomly dipping into it, I spotted a typo that sent me back to the beginning to read the whole damn thing yet again … slowly … looking at the individual words rather than combining them into something I recognised, and yes, I am picking up one or two errors that I missed the previous time, and finding it hard to believe that I missed them.  Other people’s mistakes in prose jump straight out at me!

Yesterday I found one of my characters stoking a dog instead of stroking it.  Oops!  I can’t blame the spell-checker for that one – but I do get cross with it for arguing with me all the time about apostrophe use, to the extent that I begin to doubt myself.  In the book I have frequently used it’s as an abbreviation for it is and the spell-checker keeps trying to persuade me to remove the apostrophe.  That is just one example of the spell-checker being annoying, which prompts me to be a bit too click-happy on the Ignore button, so I end up skipping some of its valid corrections.  See, I do know how to use the apostrophe!   I also know this story so well by now that I have no idea whether it’s any good or not.  I believed it was good when I had just finished writing it, but I am too close to it now to judge it – it has turned into a grammar and spelling challenge.

I only hope that when it is eventually published, people will read it and tell me honestly what they think.


My duff cover design

Duff cover design

I thought I’d exhibit this here, since it will never be used.  If it makes anyone laugh then the time it took me to create it hasn’t been wasted!  I know it looks uninspired, but I probably would have used it if the print on the back had been okay.  The flask and champagne glass are supposed to represent Serge and Leo.  Serge has an attachment to thermos flasks and keeps one with him at all times, and Leo has had a life of celebrated success until his world falls apart.  A shattered champagne glass would have been more appropriate but I was not prepared to break the glass for the sake of my art. Well, I did consider it, but was worried about the dog’s paws – and it would probably have broken all wrong; either shattering beyond recognition or just snapping off at the stem.  I expect anyone who knew what they were doing with Photoshop would have used separate images of the flask and champagne glass and overlaid the glass over the flask at a more dramatic angle.  I simply put a coaster under the edge of the glass to tilt it as far as possible without it falling over!

I emailed the jpeg file to my chosen printing firm, Imprint Digital, asking is they could print it off on paper to see if the small print looked readable and they were good enough to print in on card and post it to me the same day.  I was most impressed with the quick and helpful response from Imprint Digital, but it confirmed the doubts I had about the quality of my file, as the writing was still blurry and pixelated despite the high-spec printer.  I was no longer able to blame my tools. Now I am glad that the print is blurred, otherwise I would have made do with it, and it’s really not very good, is it?

Loving my characters

‘The Rise of Serge and the Fall of Leo’ took me a long time to write, and I gradually grew to love Serge and Leo as if they were family. I would plan future chapters of the story whilst awake at night, or washing up, or stuck in traffic, and I missed them when the book was finished and they were no longer part of my daily life. The project had been shelved for months when real life events took over; resulting in some continuity issues which had to be resolved. And then, when it was all over, I wrote the synopsis!

The final proof reading is still ongoing but I’m finding I want to change things, which is annoying, as it introduces more scope for errors and I don’t want to have to go through it all again.  Particularly in the early chapters, I keep thinking Serge wouldn’t react like that, or that’s not a word that Leo would use.  I guess it’s because their personalities have developed and characteristics reinforced over the course of time, and I now know exactly what they would say or do in any situation.  Only they’re not with me any more …

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