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Last Proofing


My fingers are itching to include a comma in that heading and add the word, hopefully. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I have gone over a manuscript, painstaking checking each word and sentence, I always miss something.

Thankfully, as you can see I have Grumpa the puppet on the case. Well it is his next book that I am checking over. Then it will head back to the formatter and onto the printers. I suppose it is only right he gets the chance of a final check.

Honestly, Grumpa is as likely as me to spot any mistakes. It’s not that my head is stuffed with old newspapers (or a recycled plastic milk bottle in Grumpa’s case); no it is that age old problem many writers have. We tend to read what we think we have written which often isn’t always what we have actually put down on the page.

Thank goodness for proof-readers and editors. Although I often feel like I am back at school doing one of those horrible interpretations you got in English. Those of a certain age know what I mean. A passage, to be read twice, ha, I barely had time to read it once. I would painstaking race through the text at the pace of a snail just waking up. Jumping the words that appeared like gobbledegook, there always seemed an inordinate amount of those. My fellow classmates would have by then devoured the text at least twice and would be sprinting down the finish line to the questions.

As a writer now, I await in anticipation knowing deep down that there is hardly any mistakes in my manuscript. I had scrutinised and picked out so many of them beforehand that I know the story will come back if not clean, then with little to correct. Or so I believe, until it comes back with boxes of yellow text and suggestions on where I have gone wrong. On the odd occasion there is simply an (?).

All this scrutiny in the same week that the cover of my new Blàs book, Blàs; Roots in the Soil is nearing completion. In fact it is at a level that requires a waiting period, at least for the designer. This so I can get some editing done before it gets sent out for review. I’m hoping to get something positive back, the cover artist has even saved a nice little spot on the front especially for it.

My main two writing worlds have pulled me in opposite directions this week. Grumpa in the exhilaration of knowing that we are a step closer to publishing. Then the reality check that really the manuscript needs a bit more tiding up before that printer presses the button.

Blàs also lifted me to great heights of excitement. As any writer will tell you, seeing the cover lifts the spirits and makes the whole project more real. Someone has read your brief or blurb or even a few chapters of your work and has visualised and interpreted your story into an image that reflects that. However I am a far cry from being finished and ultimately pushing that published button.

My energies right now have to go into completing Grumpa agus na Nàbaidhean Ùra. This book is nearest its completion and has had the longest run in. Although given the circumstances, the quandary now is, do we launch soon or do we wait until our world opens up a little? Do I really want two books in two different genres in two different languages launching at the same time if I wait? I think not. Given that I have to look Grumpa in his unblinking eyes every morning, I expect Grumpa will be off and running first.

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