On proofreading

A post at Kill Zone Blog that made me laugh:

The librarian at an active senior community has been wonderfully supportive and included all my books in their collection. In Eyes in the Sky, she found a typo which she emailed me about. She noted the exact page where it appeared. I opened my copy to that page and read it over and over, searching for the typo. I emailed her back and asked which sentence the typo appeared in. She quoted it. I read and reread her email and couldn’t find a typo in her quote. Again, I stared at the sentence in the book for several more minutes and still couldn’t see it.

I was about to call her, admit humiliation, and ask what I was missing.

At last, my now-bleary, squinting eyes recognized it. The sentence was supposed to read: “Let’s go back to the hotel.” Instead, it said: “Let’s back go to the hotel.”

Wow, does that resonate. I’m chipping away at the proofreading comments for COPPER MOUNTAIN … it’s so tedious that I’m just doing it a little at a time. By now I’ve gone through the typos several of you caught, and I’m working my way through the comments provided by Linda S., who (of course) caught quite a few that everyone else spotted plus quite a few no one else spotted. As always, everyone caught unique typos, many egregious.

Anyway, my point is, if someone just quotes a problem sentence, then when I look at that sentence, I can sometimes stare and stare for AGES without seeing the typo. It’s EXACTLY like the experience described above. Suddenly, all at once, I see that the sentence says “off” instead of “of” or “his” when it should say “her” or whatever.

Sometimes I literally give up, come back later, and stare at a sentence some more before I finally find a completely obvious typo in that sentence.

I guess it’s good to know other authors have the same problem, in a misery-loves-company way. Or an at-least-I-know-this-is-normal way.

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2 thoughts on “On proofreading”

  1. I noticed that, a while back, when I proofread on my ereader and bookmark the page where I noticed something.
    When I went through the bookmarks later, at my computer, to make the typo list, sometimes I couldn’t find it anymore. Or I had to read the page several times, with some of the page before and after, before I’d finally see it again.

    I guess it’s normal

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