Tag Archives: reading

Proofreading Catalyst

A rough sample of the Catalyst Cover

The final edits are done. The picture cover has been designed by Bob Hobbs. All that’s left to do is the cover setup (the font will hopefully change), the formatting of the book itself, and the final proofreading.

The proofreading is tough. Even though I’m pleased with the story and believe it’s well crafted, by now I’ve read the darn thing at least five times in the space of a few months and, frankly, I’m a bit sick of it.

Soon I’ll have to read it again, and this time it’s a different way of reading. This type of reading is at the same time mindless and extremely focused.

It’s mindless because you can’t afford to read the story. Reading for the story is a different mode of reading. If you’re a moderately fast reader, like I am, you read ahead and anticipate the words. Even though you read the words, your brain doesn’t “see” them; it sees the story, the characters, the action, the setting. The words –if the story is well written– weave a picture, a mental movie of what’s going on. Even in a literary work, this vision building is the goal of writing.

With proofreading, you must focus on every word. Forget the computer’s spell checker. You are the spell checker. You must look at every word and make sure each is spelled and used correctly. It becomes a witch hunt for any spelling mistakes and false friends like “it’s” and “its”, “they’re” and “their” and “there”, “who’s” and “whose”, etc. Every word is scrutinized. If you fall into the trap of beginning to read the story, you have to back up and start over.

Granted, at this point there shouldn’t be too many spelling mistakes, which makes it even more arduous because, let’s face it, reading words for the sake of words is tedious.

And as a writer, when I get to that point, I must fight the compulsion to fiddle with the words one last time before it’s too late. This is a bad idea for two reasons: first, because major changes at that point can greatly delay the publication of the book and second, because there are chances that I’ll make things worse. The story is completed. Let it be.

And very soon, I’ll be holding a copy in my hands. Can’t wait.

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Expat Harem

A year ago through Twitter, during a discussion on literature at #litchat, I met a fantastic woman, Anastasia Ashman, a US expatriate living in Turkey. She was talking about her new book, Tales from the Expat Harem, and anthology of stories written by expatriate women living in modern Turkey. Tales evolved into a huge project and blog, a “neocultural hub for global citizens, identity adventurers, Turkophiles, identity travelers and culturati of all types.” It is a place where “common interest + experience defines us better than geography, nationality — or even blood.”

Expat Harem has its regular contributors but also visiting ones. I am such a one, discussing the feeling of being an expatriate in my own country because of differences in language, culture, behavior. The in-country expat forced me to inspect and introspect what it meant for me to live in a different culture, and it reinforced the empathy I feel for all new immigrants to our country, and to my town.

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The Future of Publishing

I Tweeted about this video and sent it to my friends, but I like it so much I decided to have it here for a while. Last week was Read an ebook Week and this video would have been most appropriate. For at least ten years I’ve said that content is more important than format. This video explains it in a very clever way.

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Read an ebook week

Until Saturday, 13 March, it’s again Read an ebook week, or as we fondly acronym it, REBW.

With Reader devices such as the Kindle, the Sony Reader, the Nook, the iPhone, and the upcoming iPad, ebooks have become increasingly popular as a medium for reading. If you’re an avid reader and love to own books, the ebook is ideal.

Yeah, yeah, I know, you love the feel and smell of a paper book. But you know what? Paper books take space. Lots of space. I currently have over two hundred books in my Sony Reader. At one inch a book (and that’s conservative), that’s 16 feet of shelf space.  Since I read on average three books a week, I’d add about 13 feet of shelf space a year to my bookshelf. Frankly, I don’t have enough walls for that.

I’ve been reading ebooks since they began, really, ten years ago. I haven’t abandoned the paper book; I consider each a different medium for words and both have their level of comfort. My Sony Reader fits in my purse easily. I take it with me when I wait at the doctor’s office or when I go to the park for a picnic. It’s ideal when I travel — I can take dozens of books with me and they weigh less than a pound. Plus, I feel righteous: I’m doing my bit to diminish my carbon footprint in the world.

If you’re not sure about which reader to buy, read this article at Wired.

Zumaya has jumped into ebookweek by offering free the complete text of five of their books, in .pdf format (which means they can be read on any device):

In the Service of Samurai by Gloria Oliver (YA Fantasy)

Synergy by M D Benoit (Science Fiction)

Kingdom of Dreams and Shadows by David Lynn Anderson (Fantasy)

Milky Way Marmalade by Michael DiCerto (Science Fiction)

The Dream Ender by Dorien Grey (Thriller)

You can also read excerpts of dozen of Zumaya Publications’ books at Scribd.

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