Wednesday, 16 February 2011

I forgot to put a title.

Today I received the final, absolute last chance, seriously we mean it, last chance to fix any remaining errors in Jessica's Trap before it goes to print. I have read this damn story so many times now it's hard to keep my eyes on the screen. Besides, I worked out a perfectly plausible way to have a zombie capable of thought and reason and I want to do that now.

The 'Ghosthunter' dystopia is still languishing too, but that's because every time I think up a new means to oppress the imaginary world, our government uses the same thing on the real world. I mean, they're after caffeine now. Even I hadn't thought of that one yet, and if you read the collection of shorts (PDF is free, I haven't got it on Kindle yet) you'll know I'm capable of thinking some horrible things.

Instead I have to pick through every comma and apostrophe one last time, and if I miss a mistake I can't fix it later. It's going to take a while. This is just the first book. It's going to happen every time. No wonder people laugh at writers, we all think it's going to be an easy life but it's hell out there in Grammarland.

Anyway, no time to boost my blood pressure with the newspapers tonight. Instead, here are some of the interesting things I've read while avoiding doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

A new (to me anyway) blog on politics by Bruce, which will be worth revisiting.

Mummylonglegs deals with the Girl with the Portland Tattoo in fine style.

JuliaM reports on the medic who thinks hospital food shouldn't be quite so edible. Think of the savings if nobody ate anything, and think of the instant obesity cure it would mean!

Frank Davis finds a non-scientist claiming that scientists are not scientists unless they agree with him.

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist notes a rare outbreak of reality at the BBC. Savour it, it won't last. Follow the link and you'll see the most amazing comment ever:

the thing is the drinkers of this country my be drinking less but the reason that more drinkers are being treated for alcohol poisoning is not because of how much drinkers are drinking but because of the strength of the drink especially the beer if the makers made beer of a strength comparable with that that was made in the mid 1960s the pubs would not have closed like they have

Leave aside the definitive proof that prohibitionists know nothing of grammar and punctuation, and revel in the knowledge that it's the strength of modern beer that is now the cause of pub closures. The elephant has just been joined by a walrus, a blue whale and a flock of penguins. This commenter has not yet noticed.

The Pub Curmudgeon tells of a pub that flaunts the smoking ban on its last day open. As he says, what can they do, shut it down? Again, he has a commenter that claims the smoky atmosphere on that last day was the reason smoking was banned, ignoring the detail that the pub was at its busiest on closing day when the smoking ban was ignored and that the pub, like too many others, is now closed. Space for some polar bears in that room, maybe?

Dick Puddlecote reports on a letter we should all copy to our MPs, adjusted for profession and circumstance. Like his correspondent, I will earn no more until after April 5th because I will not pay higher rate tax. I've reached my limit for this tax year.

Subrosa points out why the NHS would like to set our old people adrift on ice floes.

Man Widdicombe discovers that smoking is dangerous... if you use a blowtorch to light it, and there's a leaking gas cylinder nearby. From the referenced article -

Councillor Arshid Mahmood said: "The defendant did not heed the warnings that health and safety officers had given him in an effort to assist the company.

Yes, you read it right. His name is Arsehead. What? Something else? Ah, yes, the 'efforts to assist the company'. What a wonderfully Soviet phrase that is.

Pity they didn't assist the company with gas cylinder security rather than smoking prevention, which is the sort of assistance a Shisha bar could do without, really.

Anyway, back to picking faults in my own work. As if there would be any!


JuliaM said...

"I have read this damn story so many times now it's hard to keep my eyes on the screen."

I hope your publishing company has provided a proofreader, or you've got someone else to help you with that.

Believe me, proofreading is a small part of my day job, and you won't 'see' your habitual typos, no matter how many times you go over it. No one ever does. That's why a second pair of eyes is vital.

And cheers for link! :)

TheFatBigot said...

The good Julia got in before me, but I'll say it anyway.

The author is always the worst proof reader, especially of material recently written. In part it is because our brains know what we intended to write and that is what our eyes see.

The buggers should be earning their cut by providing at least two proof-readers.

Angry Exile said...

I have read the short story collection. You're a very weird man, but you should take that as a compliment. Jessica's Trap will be on my wish list.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading a book on Kindle at the moment and so far I've come across several spelling mistakes and words missing.
I assume by what you have said nobody checks this?
Very important to get another set of eyes to check it for you.

Neal Asher said...

Writerly tip: read it backwards, a paragraph at a time. This helps you pick up mistakes without getting involved in the story again.

Hah! The word verification is 'verses'.

Neal Asher said...

Oh, and me too. If I hit the 40/50% tax bracket I will just hold off on publishing the next book. And if the tax man ever gives me any trouble at all I'm positioned to go non-domicile.

Anonymous said...

Would you like the book converting to Kindle and epub formats for you? I'll be doing that anyway, just to be able to read it on my iPad and Kindle, so it is no trouble.

Frank Davis said...

If you'd like someone to read through a couple of short stories, looking for typos, I'd be happy to run an eye over them. Typos are like potholes in a road.

Anonymous said...



The first crocuses in my garden bloomed today.So it shouldn't be long now.
On a level with York but closer to the Pennines.


Little Black Sambo said...

... a pub that flaunts the smoking ban on its last day open ...

Leg-iron said...

The book's been through editors and copy-editors. This is the final proof stage - only trivial changes allowed now, once that's done it's off to e-format and print.

Anon - this one's going through a publisher. You can self-publish anything as an E-book, some take the trouble to edit and proofread, some don't.

Going through a publisher, even a small one, means they take a cut but then they edit, provide professional cover art and do some marketing for you. Self-publishing means doing all that yourself.

Leg-iron said...

Neal - thanks, I'll try that.

Frank - the next one is 90,000 words. Hardly a short, I'm afraid!

Rose - snowdrops aren't even fully open here yet, but they have at least appeared. Where people are getting those red roses for Vamlentine's day is a mystery!

Leg-iron said...

Valentine's day. Vamlentine is an entirely different festivity, the patron saint of massacres.

Leg-iron said...

LBS - You're right. It was late and I'd already looked at an awful lot of words.

I claim Page Rage as my excuse.

Angry Exile said...

Hey, Leg-iron, I think I've found a review for it from someone in the US last October. I've lost the damn link now but I'm sure it was your book. Got a maximum score from the reviewer and favourably compared to Stephen King. Roll on April, I'm looking forward to it. Can you tell us if there's going to be an ebook version for us poor buggers outside the UK?

Richard White said...

LI, i have yet to read any book that doesn't have any typos or grammatical errors at all. Some of them are so obvious i wonder how they actually get past the editor's eye - i worked in a publishing house, i know how many times the book has to be read and by how many people. When all those people miss something, the author will never catch them. So don't worry too much, it won't be your fault.

Anyway if you do need fresh eyes, for this book or the next, i edit and proofread for a living so feel free to get in touch (

Who's your publishing company?

Amusing Bunni said...

HI Leg Iron, Good Luck with your new book. Thanks for the link to your short stories, I read a few of the really short ones already, and they are great.
I'll read the rest later. Thanks for the free download link.

It sounds like you've done all you can and have been very busy. I'm sure all will go well, and you will become more famous than Steven King ;-)

Anonymous said...

I really must share this with you.

I have a book called 'The Meaning of Relativity'. It is the printed version of certain lectures given by Einstein at Princeton University. It was first published in 1920 and re-printed several times - the latest (the copy I have) being 1974. In it, there is a typo:

If I may simplify the algebraic expression (much simpler than the original -

s squared + x squared + 2 xy + y squared.

The typo is that the first + sign should be = :

s squared = x squared + 2 xy + y squared.

(Don't bother about the maths - the typo is the thing.

Now, you would think that some student, mathematician or physicist would have spotted this typo and told the publisher and that subsequent editions would have corrected it. takes a little old man in the 1990s to spot it.

And here is the most amazing thing. Einstein wrote a simple description of relativity theory in the 1920s for the layman. This was translated into English and I obtained a copy of that through the internet.

I found it incredible to believe that exactly the same typo appeared in that document!

So when did the typo originate. Was it in the first edition of the book or the layman's guide, and how on Earth did it get copied on from edition to edition of the book?

My theory is this:

1. The proofreaders would not have been aware that the equation was wrong.
2. Mathematicians would have been so familiar with the expression that their eyes would have seen what their minds expected (as TheFatBigot implied).
3. That I must be particularly stupid to have spotted it! How humiliating!

JuliaM said...

It's just occurred to me that, for the first time ever, the books I'm awaiting are from bloggers - this one, Gadget's new book, and Ray Hewitt's...

Leg-iron said...

Angry Exile - it was probably Southern Writer.

Richard W - the book is with a small press called Eternal Press, an imprint of Damnation Books.

I checked the contract very carefully. There was no mention of eternal souls.

Leg-iron said...

Amusing Bunni - I don't want the fame. Just the money.

Junican - it happens a lot. In my line of work, there was a longstanding conviction that 'the colon fermentation was just like the rumen' which is patent rubbish. Yet it kept appearing in paper after paper.

I traced it back to the original, where it was an out of context misquote used by a scientist to justify the lunatic statement. The original said 'some aspects of colon fermentation appear similar to related pathways found in the rumen'.

It had been going on for 40 years when I found it, and I think it's still going now.

Leg-iron said...

Angry Exile - there will be a PDF available direct from the publisher, it'll be on Kindle and in print via Amazon initially.

Whether it gets into bookstores depends on how scared the manager is of smokers ;)

Leg-iron said...

JuliaM - I'm sure even Samuel Pepys would have blogged if it had been available.

In fact, wasn't there one called 'Chaucer hath a blog'? I wonder if that's still around?

Leg-iron said...

Oh yes. It's still there.

timbone said...

hahaha my late Mother's book was published on 1st November 2010. The editor sent me the proofs, I read it, picking up small errors like a missed apostrophe or a missing article. He proof read it before publication. My daughter got a copy, looked at page 3 with acknowledgments, and immediately noticed that my son's name was spelt wrong ARRRRRRRRRRHHHHHHHH

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