The editing chore
One of the things that has always irritated me when reading books is coming across spelling or punctuation errors: ‘You’d think that professionals could get it right!’ I would think. ‘Don’t they employ editing assistants or something?’ You expect this sort of thing in newspapers, when everything has to be sorted in a few hours. One that amused me yesterday in the “I” was a feature on an Egyptian woman who, widowed at 20, had disguised herself as a man for over 40 years in order to work and support her family. The first line ran: “A widower who disguised herself as a man …”. You’d have thought that they might have spotted that howler!
And then you come to edit your own work. I tend to edit as I go along, reading back over a paragraph and correcting any obvious typos, and I also read and re-read chapters, always surprised at the little things I have missed – a comma which ought to be a full stop, or vice versa. Finally, you think it’s perfect, but on advice you send the mss to a professional editor, who discovers all sorts of simple errors, as well as (thankfully!) pointing out lots of stylistic and other errors.
So then you go through the mss once again. Lo and behold, you find tiny mistakes which even the pro missed! Then you send the corrected mss to your number one son, who is taking care of the professional side of things, and he and his wife discover further errors!
Finally, you get the proofs from the publisher, and even now you discern the odd tiny mistake.
So, to all authors (and their publishers) whose books I have read and been critical of for the typos, my apologies, and please forgive the errors that are bound to sneak through in “The Brindavan Chronicle”.