I just finished going through the page proofs for The Shores of Spain.
Page proofs are the last chance you have to correct something before it hits the bookshelves*. By this time, most of the edits should be done, so there shouldn’t be any large changes at this stage. Some writers do more, some less. All I can tell you is how many I’m turning in.
Interestingly, they take different forms.
1) Change incurred when copy-editor changed something: 3
Joaquim sat back in his ivory-brocaded chair.
I really don’t think that ivory-brocaded should be hyphenated. The chair is not brocaded with ivory, but rather it is both ivory and brocaded. I didn’t notice these hyphenations in the last pass, but I caught them now.
2) Change incurred when I changed something: 2
She’d only learned later that the Christianity practiced on the islands was different than** that of Portugal’s, shifted to better suit the culture of the sereia… OK, I did that one. It should read ...than that of Portugal… but I changed it when the copy editor was correct. Ugh!
3) Change that you have no idea where the mistake came from: 1
I don’t know in which version the missing ‘had’ disappeared. I could research it, but I’m not going to bother.
4) Simple mistakes (like missing words, wrong word, missing s on a plural, capitalization): 6
“Is there where he died?” Did I really write that? Ack! Most of these are like that. I wonder how I didn’t notice them before…
5) Repeated word: 12
What was left was a blistered, seeping mess, blood seeping from the torn spot. NOTICE THAT THIS IS THE HIGHEST NUMBER, and these are all on me. See that sentence above? These are all that kind of mistake, with a word repeated close together. Bad writing 😦
6) Unclear or unattractive sentence: 5
Dr. Serpa and Father Salazar, a healer, the duo who’d killed the prince of Northern Portugal, had also come from that prison. UGH. That sentence doesn’t work. Just….doesn’t….work….
7) Continuity error due to some earlier edit: 3
These will happen in any process. For example, I cut a scene where Marina lost her shoes, but later mentioned that she’d had to borrow some from Aga. Well, since the first thing was cut, the second needed to be as well….
Overall, I ended up with 31 changes in a 418 page document. I’m not going to complain about that. Most are just the removal of one word or the movement of one word, so I’m hoping my patient editor will be OK with that.
And from here, the next thing coming will be ARCs….someday soon. (The version I’m reading, with its 31 mistakes, will be what is in the ARC. Sorry folks.)
*If you’re going to have a second printing, as in my case a Trade Paperback followed by a Mass Market Paperback, you might have a chance to make additional corrections between versions. The last time I did that, I had 4 changes to the entire book. I figure that’s enough. (One was actually a typo that a friend had caught.)
**I’ll try to remember to talk about that ‘differnet than’ tomorrow…