Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Edging Toward Release...

...and for the record, I've given up on the "Errata" page posted back in May. After four months of wordsmithing the MS page by page, paragraph by paragraph and line by line, I've found just TOO many edits to even contemplate listing them all. The Errata page goes dead, and along with it, the Replacement Book Offer I made there. Since I pulled the MS after selling just a single copy, I don't feel that anyone's going to be cheated out of anything here.

Suffice it to say that the whole "6th-draft" experience was humbling indeed. I begin to see more clearly with every pass through the MS the value of a professional editor to identify weaknesses and errors and get the author moving on them. By the time I completed the 6th draft run-through (with the grammar checker finally turned on, to point out my many grammatical and syntactical sins:(), I had found and corrected a minimum of 2,000 errors in the MS.

Generally, my errors - so easy to see now, with the benefit of two years of "cooling off" since I completed the first draft - fall into five categories, all of which I know better than to indulge in. The big categories are;

  1. Simple typos and word substitutions that the spelling checker didn't pick up (their for they're, to for too, etc) This one puzzles me. I must have had the spelling checker turned off - a lot..
  2. Passive Voice - I had no idea I so often resort to long, contorted passive sentences ("the box was packed with/He was slow in climbing to his feet, etc)
  3. "Null words" - LOTS of instances where I gratuituously used "that" and "which".
  4. Sentences beginning with "And" or "But". Really glaring stuff! I remember writing many of these, and thinking that (see, see?) I was doing so consciously, to add emphasis to the statement. But (see again?) there were just way too many of these. Many of these were edited to create compound sentences (and note the passive voice...)
  5. Run-on sentences. I had no idea I was such a wordy writer (well, actually, I did, but I thought I had already addressed that...). The good folks at Microsoft must have pointed out three hundred incidences of "Long Sentence - consider revising", and by combining those "And" and "But" sentences, I just created even more of these.
The bottom line is, I'm no longer very confident about anything regarding the novel. I just checked CreateSpace, and note that the book is now shown with the status as "Retired". I assume I can resurrect it, but I'm not quite ready yet. After getting burned with the first release, I really don't want to make the same mistake again - just one more pass through to check that I really did mean to write all those Sentence Fragments...