As we come down to the wire I am receiving the final edits on Emerald Storm from proofreaders. As they do, I am adding to my list of mistakes I consistently make. I do this in the hopes of learning to avoid them in the future. Sometimes this actually happens.
I was a notoriously bad speller in high school, to a point where my friends referred to the stories that I wrote back then as being written in “Sullispeak” a language each prided themselves on being the greater scholar at. I was so bad that I spelled “evil” wrong. This was baffling to my friends who maintained it took real talent to screw up a word with only four letters. (I spelled it “eivl.”) This, above all, was what convinced me at the age of eighteen that while I had written three full-length novels, I could never be an author. That is how I ended up in the fast lane to artist. As you can see, I wanted nothing to do with a career where I might make money or even find employment.
It wasn’t until the advent of computers and spell-check that I contemplated writing again. Well, I never stopped writing, but for the first time I thought seriously about trying to publish something once I had a Sullispeak to English computer program. Back then, this was a DOS-based word processor called SAMNA. The intricacies of grammar came much later and I’m still struggling with its nuances. The good news is that, as an author, I have the Marvelesque superpower to defy grammar rules and even invent new words (like I just did with Marvelesque—impressive huh?) Still, it is better to know the rules before you break them; otherwise it’s just a mistake. Turns out spell-check is a great teacher. I can now spell evil…see.
As you might expect, as they come in, I watch for similarities in the editor’s comments. You would be surprised at how often professional editors contradict or debate each other. One editor will remove all the commas that another editor put in. As a result, I look for the commonalties, those aspects that all editors do the same. What I found was not a matter of grammar at all, and not a spelling error, not even a typo.
The one common standard I found consistent to all the proofers was their uncanny lack of any corrections in certain areas of the book. Always the same areas. It is as if there are little Bermuda Triangles in my story where editorial marks disappear. It could be that I merely succeeded in writing perfectly in these areas…but I know that’s not true because I found mistakes in the Triangles myself. No there’s a much simpler explanation.
They are the exciting parts.
I just hope my readers suffer from the same inexplicable phenomenon.