Monthly Archives: September 2017

Beriberi doesn’t cause diarrhoea. Try dysentery.

Phil: We’re hard at work on the Kate vs the Navy’s edits thanks to some really superb work from proofreader Catherine Fitzsimons.

All the way through the manuscript, Catherine has annotated changes and made suggestions. Working on these is a little like the days of handing your work in to a teacher and seeing what they have written at the bottom of the page.

We’d expected little more than a tidy up for the grammar and spelling plus some useful text formatting. What we have is far better. Catherine has read the book and provided all sorts of plotline advice. There are notes about references that appear later in the book, the sort of the things you only know when you have fully grasped the structure of the narrative. To be honest, I think she knows our book better than we do!

Along the way there are also technical points such as the sort of illness one of the characters could have suffered in the past, although Candice was glad to have read this AFTER eating her Warwickshire Rarebit lunch (It’s like Welsh, but with local ingredients since you ask).

Once you get over the idea that someone has criticised your work, then the process of applying many of the suggestions is great fun. For a start, we have to really think about sections of text, some of which require a bit of head-scratching. However, the result will be far better than we’d have managed on our own and makes the service well worth every penny.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Phil, Writing

Lurning too use a spelcheker

DuncePhil: A news story that Brits rely on spellcheckers to stop them from making embarrassing mistakes!caught my eye this week.

In part, this was because of the line “Phil Parker vowed never to sign off his emails with “regards” after mistakenly writing “retards Phil” in an email to his boss.”. It’s not me, but I have been frustrated by autocorrection when posting from my phone or tablet in the past.

I’ll admit that I do like a spellchecker though. Yes, I should be able to spell perfectly and know my grammar inside out, but even if you are perfect (and if you are, you’re probably so smug people want to slap you) then you still make typos. I know I do when my brain is working faster than my fingers can rattle away on the keyboard.

Some words seem especially prone to problems – snadpaper and sodlering (sandpaper and soldering) are particular  bete noires of mine, along with obvioulsy. The wiggly red line appears time and time again, not because I’m stupid (mostly) but simply slow fingers.

Of course, not everything has a spellchecker. There are a couple of forums I frequent for work that don’t. This leaves me with a choice to either risk typo time, read everything to death, or write in a tool that does check spelling and then paste it into the forum. It kind of ruins the spontaneity (interesting that WordPress checker was happy with spontanayity), although sometimes that’s no bad thing!

Spurred on by adverts on YouTube, I’m now trying Grammarly which sits on my computer and checks stuff. The basic version is free for the moment, which probably means it’s reading everything I write and spiriting it away for a master criminal to read in his volcano lair. Sadly for him, I counter this by writing a lot about nerdy subjects, any master plan revolving around rather more juicy information!

So far, this is all pretty good. It doesn’t always switch itself on when I want it but that’s not too bad. The thing I hadn’t expected was a weekly results e-mail.  Apparently, I’m more productive than 95% of users with 12504 words written in the last week. Sadly, I’m only more accurate than 37% of users, and that score has gone up a little bit. I blame my prodigious output.

Did I say “prodigious”? Yes I did. That’s because, with 2734 different words used, I use more words than 98% of users.

Smug face on!

Leave a comment

Filed under Phil, Writing

Shut up and write something

Writers blockPhil: When you blog, it’s important (so I’m told) to do so regularly. That way you keep your readers interested.

Good advice, but sometimes finding a topic isn’t easy. Perhaps this should be called “Bloggers Block”.

BB is a syndrome similar to the sort of block affecting proper journalists. There is a deadline, I have to make a post today, but the screen is blank and so is my brain. Real journalists will have the same issue when the deadline for publication draws near. An editor will be hovering, wanting to know where the copy is. All I have is the Nolan nagging me – but she’s on holiday and unlikely to be reading this on the sun lounger.

I suppose I could give you another status report on Kate vs the Navy – the copy edited manuscript arrived this morning but I need more tea before I open that one up. Hopefully, this will all look good but it raises another issue – laying out the pages. In theory, I have the tools to do this properly now, let’s hope it’s quick and easy…

First, there is some work with glue’n’stuff in today’s programme of events as there is another editor waiting for my copy for work.  The stuff I get paid for, so I better do it.

And the sun is shining so I’d like to go out for a walk.

Oh well, perhaps another cup of tea will help. They say the solution to Writers Block is just to write something, anything. It seems that this also cures Bloggers Block, or at least fills up a little bit of the Internet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Phil, Writing

Do TV adaptions kill book sales?

WS20141221_6082

Phil: As I watched the final episode of Strike – The Cuckoo’s Calling, I wondered about the sales of the book it’s based on.

Obviously, JK Rowling (writing as Robery Galbraith) isn’t worried about the royalties, but I’d certainly be interested to see how the sales fare. Surely, most of the joy of any whodunnit is trying to work out who the criminal is, and once you’ve seen it on telly then the secret is blown. OK, you might still enjoy the read but part of your brain is always going to be shouting, “The butler did it!” as the characters bumble arnound trying to solve the crime.

Or does knowledge of the outcome allow you to get on and enjoy the story?

(Note to broadcasters – This isn’t an issue for Kate vs the Dirtboffins, there’s loads more to the book than the whosdoingit aspect, which is why any adaption will be so succesful the other channels will just switch off to save electricity. Please start the bidding war for rights now.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Phil, Publishing, Writing