Chasing Commas

on March 7, 2011 in Misc

You know, when you’re really busy trying to get a manuscript ready for (self) publication, you don’t have time to do exciting action hero stuff.  And I really miss being more physically active.  Haven’t even done any nefarious lock picking lately.

On the other hand, this morning I did something totally new for me.  I rode in a big honkin’ tow truck.

Yes, that’s right.  My little red fart car wouldn’t start this weekend and it ain’t the battery that’s playing dead.  So off it and I went to the mechanic, who fortunately is only a few blocks away.  I haven’t yet received the engine diagnosis, but here’s hoping it comes in cheap and easy (like me).

Meanwhile, I’m driving myself crazy going through my manuscript (allegedly) ONE LAST TIME!

Yes, I know, I told you that I was finally done with the final edit of The Compass Master.  And I am.  But now I have to go through my overly large manuscript and PROOF it.  Proof as in copy edit and thus check every last comma, semicolon, dash, missing word, misspelled word, and so forth.  Certainly such fastidious attention is something every writer should pay to his/her work of art.  Then again, those writers who are lucky enough to have a traditional publisher can relax a little and know that the publishing house’s copy editor will perform this task.

Thing is, see, I couldn’t afford to hire a freelance copy editor, even the slightly cheaper CreateSpace’s editors.  But on the bright side my real life job title includes “editor” for the consulting firm where I work.  This means I copy edit reports and memos and you-name-it all the time anyway.  Sure, it’s a lot tougher to do this to your own work, especially when The Compass Master is so freaking long and has lots of Latin words, names of foreign places, and other pain-in-the-ass details.  But I have no choice – I gotta get TCM in PERFECT SHAPE.

For help I’ve turned per usual to the book pictured here — it’s the best and funniest book ever on punctuation.   Here’s a sample punctuated sentence from it:

Then he stroked my nose (I tell you, he really does love me!), and he mumbled into my cleavage, and suddenly burst into tears.

By the way, I’d like to inform you that All Souls’ Day is spelled just like that – with an apostrophe after Souls’.  This is the kind of stuff I have to look up.

Talk about becoming super anal.

Should super anal be one word or two?

4 Responses to “Chasing Commas”

  1. Hart says:

    I’ve heard it is easier to spot errors if you go through it backward because then you don’t have the context that makes your brain smooth over it… and then out LOUD is another trick (catches word repetition and run on sentences great, as well as helping with flow.

    I wish you a huge amount of luck with this polish (and with your car diagnosis! GADS I hate car stuff!)

    Superanal is one word if it is a really LARGE anus and super anal is two words if it is a really fabulous one *cough* (I made that up)

  2. Helena says:

    Hart — That’s a great idea about reading it out loud to get the flow. I talk to myself all the time anyway.

    As for my car — it needed a new fuel pump (ARGH!) which means a total of $500 (YIKES!).

    Love your anal definitions.

  3. Ciara Knight says:

    I’ve heard that too, Hart. :) Good luck with the last round of line edits. :)

  4. Helena says:

    Ciara — Thanks, ’cause I need it.