Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reading Myself, Myself...

John Ramsey Miller

Last week I uploaded a completed manuscript I finished a year ago to my Kindle and started reading it. After having read it numerous times on the computer screen and on paper, I was amazed how on my Kindle I found myself reading it differently as it was more just book-like. It was easier for me to spot my typos, see the weaknesses and flaws that I missed on the other passes. Of course correcting on the Kindle is beyond my understanding and abilities, so I will have to go back to the lap box. It's one of those novels with good bones, but it needs work. I know my strengths, but not as well as I know my weaknesses. My friend Phillip Hawley read it and made a lot of very valuable and insightful comments and suggestions. In fact he'd make a great editor. I've had four great editors, and they made my books what they were. No doubt about it. In fact, sometimes I feel like I am one of them singers who's records are only great because of the producer's mastery of soundboards and studio tricks that fool the ears of just about everybody.

Speaking of my Kindle, I noticed one of the novels I read by Ken Follett (A Dangerous Fortune) contained several typos--probably put there by the typesetter. Just made me wonder why they weren't caught in the years since the book was published and lately transferred to Kindle format. There's nothing more annoying than finding typos in your book that were put in after the final edits, or missed by the final set of checkers after everybody else missed them. Worse still is finding them early and then having them "not" be corrected.

Of late I've been reading a lot more than I usually do. Maybe it's the time of year and the gloomy days. I think I should be reading less, living and writing more.

I hope everybody reading this had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was Norman Rockwell perfect until the first shots were fired across the table. I'm looking forward to our annual Christmas fiasco.


  1. It's reassuring to learn that mine isn't the only family that fires shots, even on holidays :)

    I'm nearly finished with my nano story (moving beyond 50k) and have printed off nearly 200 pages of what I call 'the soft bones' of what will hopefully become a strong, healthy body one day.

    It is easier to spot mistakes when they're in some form other than a computer screen. I find it's also easier to 'hear' how it sounds.

    The voices sound differently when they're bouncing off paper than they do when they're bouncing around in my head.

    Maybe by the time I get finished with the second or third round of editing, I'll have a kindle and view it like a real book.

    Happy reading! And thanks for the idea!

  2. We're a repressed, people-pleasing family at gatherings, so whenever someone fires a shot (Like, "Remember that time you threw a boot at my head and it went through the window, shattering glass all over the place?"), we just nod ruefully and pass the wine.

  3. My sons are so competitive that the first shot has to be topped and before it is over they are wrestling in the yard.

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  5. We start Thanksgiving with a family football game. That way, the body blows are disguised as good clean fun.

    And by supper time, we're too tired and hungry to think about anything but turkey and pumpkin pie.

  6. Those nasty typos, they're like weeds. You keep pulling them up but some always find a way to survive. I haven't found a book yet that didn't have them, even my own.

  7. I love this blog! I've been reading it for weeks now, marveling at how good you all are at acting human. Yet this post makes me wonder if you aren't the alien masterminds that I ussumed you were.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Your post couldn't have come at a better time. I'm currently struggling with the F-bomb issue, because there are so many voices (i.e. blogs & books) that insist that writers "tell the truth" at all costs, meaning that it is a lie if we do not write truthful dialogue that mimics reality - words that I hear quite often in the work place. Definately something to consider, otherwise I might have to start using a penn name.

    And thanks for being real here. Your transparency makes us literary hopefulls feel as if our DNA isn't so different from ours afterall.

    Jeff Bennington

  8. Seems like typos write themselves into my work. Not possible I make that many mistakes. Having recently hired an editor to clean up a couple of mine I was shocked to discover how they apparently added so many incorrect commas and apostrophes. And somehow they even got to my original and added them there too...right on my home computer, past the firewall and over my internet security system. Man...those typos are diligent.

    As far as holiday shot taking, half the adults at my holiday table have limited use of English, so if the barbs start flying I just smile and nod and stuff my face.