An odd experience proofing…

An odd thing happened the other day that I thought was worth sharing, for it isn’t something I’d either been told about, or read about or seen.

As mentioned before, I’m a fan of the big red/pink pen and always give my proofreaders and first readers one so it’s easy to see what they find or where they struggle. Though that requires a hardcopy, still nothing beats it – read through material on the screen and it’s easy to skip over errors.

But what if someone radically changes the format?

Sounds trite, right? But it happened. I was going through the editing cycle on a novelette (longer than a short, shorter than many novella) and had received red-pen markings, then rechecked, then submitted. The idea was that it was to be reformatted into PDF for the company I work for.

What came back looked really nice, so I read through it again, just in case.  The thing is, it was in a completely different format than that submitted: the submission format was fairly straightforward with 11pt text, 1.5 space, serif font, nice indents; the final format was standard line separation, smaller font, two columns, pretty borders and pictures…

You get the drift. What amazed me, though, was that even when reading it through in the much smaller font, and in two columns, errors leapt out at me. Words, missing apostrophes, quotation marks – all seemed to jumping up and down shouting “What about me? Look at me!”

Just the shift in format provided a compeltely different perspective and highlighted the errors. Of course, I still had to read through fairly carefully, but it was as if my mind had become too used to the standard submission format and had just skipped over those final, few, niggling errors that you wished you’d spotted. In the new format, perhaps I had to focus or concentrate more.

Sure, there may be an error still in, but the simple format switch meant I was able to correct some niggling things, some of which weren’t truly errors as such,  just clumsy phrasing. It meant a better final product…

…and something to consider in future endeavours.

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