Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tips, Tricks and Tales - Lesson 4

Editing your Story: Using the Stylesheet Proofreading Trick

I am presently reading Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies by Suzanne Gilad, a lady of considerable experience in these fields. Now you might argue, correctly too, that the book was written for somebody who wants to pursue these activities as a career. I have no ambition to be either of those professionally, but I did quickly sense that learning how a professional did these tasks could also benefit my writing as a romance author.

Let’s examine the proofreading tips of the Stylesheet that I have posted here:
As a South African my English more closely resembles that of a British person, that is why the Oxford dictionary and the UK setting on my spell checker. It is a choice, but it has to be employed consistently (1).
Also, Keeper of the Dragon Sword is the second novel in a series. So any words that I used in Géra’s Gift during the magic battle scenes, I have to use again, in the same manner and spelling (1) and (4). So when someone reads Keeper after Géra’s Gift (which I sincerely hope they do) suddenly using a firestrike, instead of a fire-ball would be irritating my reader and that would be the last thing I want.
Employing the same substituted words (my characters have a more formal way of expressing themselves) is also essential in a series (3), and that includes the descriptions of my main characters’ designations (6). Going to great lengths to address Géra as ‘my lord Grandmaster’ in the first book, would really seem demeaning to just call him ‘the grandmaster’ in the rest of the series.
Something that I find particularly irritating in myself is my constant mistyping of words that the computer spellchecker would miss. Words like, ‘fro’ instead of ‘for’ and mistakes like ‘a the’ as opposed to ‘at the’. Since I do it with such regularity I made a list of them to check during editing. The list here (4) is incomplete, but I am sure you understand my point.

It is therefor important to be consistent, especially when writing a series of books.

In Lesson 5 we will look at the Copyediting tricks that you can employ using the Stylesheet.