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Monday, October 7, 2013

The Quest for Perfection

Reading "Where Power Lies" from the back to the front this morning, and doing this way does seem to help me find things. I've also had a few snippets of ideas occur to me at odd moments during the weekend, just details to tweak the setting a bit. I also noticed a few cases of repetition, but do I really want to go through the process of running the word frequency counter again? Some of the repetition I've noticed occurs in different forms or tenses of a word, for example, wary and wariness, intense and intensity, warning and warned.

It comes down to the constant question of when have I done enough proofing/editing. In all of my previous books, I have found more errors in the final product, from out-and-out spelling or grammar errors to those pesky repetitions. Working with a small publisher, I don't have the input of an editor who will go over every word and punctuation mark. I could hire the service of such a person on my own, but even in books which I've read that supposedly went through a professional's fine-toothed comb, I have found  mistakes. Sometimes BIG ones.

On the other hand, I have also read books, both best sellers and self published, that other readers raved about without a single mention of errors of any kind. That raises the question of the worth of the effort to reach perfection. If readers overlook the imperfections in books, then they certainly won't notice complete perfection either. Is striving for zero errors an effective use of my time or anyone else's? I think if the story is good, if people enjoy it and remember it and want to think about it, any errors they find won't matter.

I'm not making excuses here. Proofing is still necessary, and I'll keep trying to reduce errors and such as far as is feasible. But sooner or later, that manuscript has to be called "done" and head out into the world.

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