Editing lettuces

A short (for me) follow-up post on self-publishing and editing.

On the last post I gave out some proofing tips for those of you who are silly enough to think you can manage to proofread and/or edit your own work.

There is a difference between good editing and proof-reading.

Let me add some context from a journalistic point of view.

When I worked on newspapers, using both tripewriters and computers, our stories went through a lot of people.

You write a story, you check it for errors. You then send it to a news editor or chief reporter and they publicly slag you off in front of everyone if you have got something wrong. This is one reason why journalists are thick-skinned. It is mortifying, I tell you. Because everyone stops to listen, even the ones who are on the phone.

Next they send it to a subeditor. And maybe the chief subeditor. So they all go through it too while they are creating a title and deciding on layout. One of those might slag you off too. Maybe the editor looks at something and walks out and gives you a blasting.

Then it goes to the compositors (comps) who set up the pages for printing. They do their bit and then we get galley proofs for further checking.

Now back when I started, we had demarcation. Comps would not change the copy. (Copy means text in journalese). They were not writers, they were compositors. They would check for errors according to what they had been given.

But you also have subs working on the stone who double-check the proofs, and that’s for sense and anything that might have been missed in all the earlier checks. I used to love going on the stone, I thought it was really exciting. Just nearly ready for everything to roll. Plus comps were always really nice men. They were all men back then.

So, proofreading (proofing) is basically checking for spelling, punctuation, that is incorrect. Editing implies a lot more. Editing can change what’s been written.

Doesn’t matter whether you are talking about novels or newspapers.

So back to self-publishing. Or any publishing. An author needs a good editor, but equally as important, an author and an editor need to establish a good relationship.

An author needs to be like the journalists I’ve quoted above. They need to accept the editor might ask difficult questions or criticise their writing/spelling/grammar/whatever. They need to have confidence in their editor and not feel that they are being picked on. Your editor needs to be able to challenge what you have written, without either of you having a problem with that. Better for an editor to query your work than people to be disappointed after publication.

The editor should not impose their view or their style on the author. It is the editor’s job to basically clean up the copy, check out what the author has missed including factual errors, retain the author’s style, understand what the author is trying to achieve with their work, and then proof it, proof it, and proof it to high heaven. And then proof it again.

How do you find a good editor?

A story from a blogging ‘friend’ (?) who knows? the other day, is an interesting example. Someone had been recommended, so s/he went to look at their website. Apparently it had errors on the opening page. S/he thought that was an interesting marketing technique and commented on it. It wasn’t. They’d just made errors.

So recommendation doesn’t always work.

Me, I offer to look at a few pages for free. If I can’t find any errors there (and even if I do), then I’ll ask for a few more pages. Or if people send me free copies of ebooks I’ll read them and then say how good/bad the editing is.

Self-publishing isn’t easy. Neither is editing when you don’t know what you are doing. Writing, proofreading, editing are very different. Few people can do all of them at once.

If you want to use an independent editor, much as I hate doing anything for free, I actually think it is reasonable to provide an example of what I do. You also might want to ask what relevant qualifications and experience editors have. When I can be bothered, I’ll add a CV page at the top, so you can have an idea of what to look for.

So, onto today’s book which I finished last weekend.

Almost Dead in Suburbia by Douglas Pearce

I don’t know where to start with this!

Plot perhaps? An accident leads to a confusion about who should be dead, with the dead person jumping into the other person’s body, who then is basically in limbo – because it’s not his time to go. Blank bookcover with clipping path

The story takes us through – suburbia, obviously – and adds police investigation, some unfinished personal business from the past, and then big bucks computery business. Totally surprised me.

That’s enough about the story as I don’t want to include spoilers.

Why was it good? Well, I fell in love with the talking cat, Hendricks, of course. Animals always make more sense than people do.

I liked the fact that a lot of characters got equal airplay. There were quite a few key characters, well drawn out, and the secondary ones were good too. It’s pragmatic and honest. Even if it is humorous.

I had no idea what was coming, which is always good and makes for an interesting read. I certainly couldn’t have solved the riddle in there. Luckily it was explained in an author’s footnote. Thank goodness, I would have burned up with curiosity otherwise. Curiosity killed the cat? Fortunately not Hendricks.

While I read it over a couple of days (it’s a shorter read but I had other things to do too sadly), I just had to stay up on the last night – well past my bedtime – to find out the end. It’s described as satire. I’d describe it as a good read. Enjoyable, intriguing, and recommended.

His blog is here (a decent read with two gorgeous dogs) and you can find info about Almost Dead on his sidebar.

Note, as before, Almost Dead was sent to me as a free PDF, and I don’t work for Douglas.

When I wasn’t reading Almost Dead, I was admiring my lettuces.

Not sure I can eat so many lettuces. Even me!
Not sure I can eat so many lettuces. Even me!

And cooking bean slop.

Butter beans (granjas), fresh peas, young carrots, potatoes, white turnips (nabos), - yum - and parsley out of the garden
Butter beans (granjas), fresh peas, young carrots, potatoes, white turnips (nabos), – yum – and parsley out of the garden

Spot the deliberate error/s?


348 comments on “Editing lettuces

  1. The dreaded sub editors. Their title brings me chills and their extension number is 262. They are the final check now and even though they scare me at times I feel better they are there. Did you know the push to digital looks like removing them from daily print? My employer is rolling towards journos publishing direct to the net over the next 12 months.


  2. yes, I agree with you. Self-publishing isn’t easy and I cringe when I hear of authors who do their own editing and proofing. Oh boy, I don’t advise that at all. But it is expensive so I understand. I’ve learned so much from my editor. For me, that’s worth the cost. And we have a wonderful working relationship.

    Almost Dead sounds like an entertaining read.


    • I knew you would, as we’ve discussed it before. If you have written before for years, and proofed, and edited, you could chance it. But another pair of eyes doesn’t harm. Might cost, might help. As you say, Karin has been a help to you.

      Almost Dead is clever. Worth a read. No vamps, but there are undead :D It’s very British in style though.


    • So many self-publishers out there, I thought it would be helpful to give some insight.

      Yes, can’t imagine you overeating on my adorable lettuces :D Not without some ghastly greasy fry-up or whatever. Silly man. Lettuce is good for you, you know it.


  3. A post featuring three of my favorite things: mystery books, animals and food. The lettuce looks gorgeous, and bigger than I’ve ever seen lettuce grow. But then, I rarely see the home grown type.


    • The lettuce is brilliant, the other type has bolted can’t remember what variety it is, must look it up, leaves still taste ok though but the green one is brilliant.

      I love talking animals. If you read ebooks, give it a go.

      My Spanish life is simple and so is my food, doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious.

      I have so much I think lettuce soup is called for.


  4. Quite impressive the amount of procedures a piece has to go through, or does go through, before it becomes public. It makes one wonder how any ever gets printed and published. Again I have learnt some and enjoyed it and knowing more on how a piece of work gets to shelves…Oh by the way I love lettuce, edited or not… ;)


  5. The last lettuce I edited was smothered in ranch dressing and accompanied by a baked potato, drowned in butter, and an inch-thick sirloin. Yum!

    And before you weep, the cow died for the sins of cowkind – it was preordained, so don’t blame me.


    • It sounds utterly disgusting. I am sure my dressing would be far better and so would be my organic potatoes.

      As far as I can see you are just conspiring with those uncivilised beings who consider they were put on earth to use and abuse appropriately. Including killing defenceless animals for food.

      But should you choose to defend fairy tales, that’s your choice. :)

      Wasn’t I kind to Ark? He doesn’t deserve it of course, but I am basically nice. Well, sometimes. Although he has just called me a coke head so I may change that review signiificantly.


  6. I supposed they were deliberate.
    I remember times when editors cut copy from the bottom, when font meant the receptacle that the printing ink was housed in and when we counted column inches and did our measurements according to ‘m’ and ‘n’ spacing. Oh those were the days – when the unions went out on strike at the drop of a hat and women couldn’t buy their own drinks in Fleet Street. How times change.


    • Oh I’m loving that comment about cutting from the bottom. Class. I’d forgotten that. Oh, it doesn’t fit, so we’ll just cut it until it does. Priceless. No-one on here will understand that apart from you, me and Jillian (in NSW) unless there are some close journalists out there who are that old.

      Who would understand m and ns? Mind you I thought it was a pain :D Or even an em or an en?

      Fitting copy in on paper and measuring wasn’t easy though. At all. Much easier to mess around on a computer I must say. I preferred reporting to subbing with paper.

      I always used to vote for strikes :) Bought our own drinks in Yorkshire, although I probably got more bought for me.

      Age and nostalgia eh?


  7. On cutting from the bottom, I heard a journalist’s technique was to write the most important stuff at the start, because few people read a report to the end- but you could read an editorial last paragraph first, and if it said something new to you read the one before.

    John spotted the mistake (?) I spoted. Grammar mistakes are a grey area: is the writer bending the rules for effect?


    • In theory, your intro should have the most salient points in it. We used to refer to the Sunday Express style which is basically a delayed or dropped intro. Delayed or dropped so far that it was right at the end of the story.

      Of course, if the comps cut from the bottom (which they would do) that totally negates the effect of leaving the impact to the end.

      Tripewriter was an in joke. I nearly wrote typewriter but decided against it. There are two or three others.

      Grammar is grey. As is correct vocabulary. That’s why, referring to editing, it’s important that an editor knows a writer’s intent.


  8. Lovely review.
    A tiny sparrow informed me that the explanatory footnote almost had to be inserted over the author’s dead body. He wanted people to suffer – or he thought the average readership was very bright.


    • S’not true…you bugger. Besides, my email was in the printed book and a couple of people actually did write to me. And one of them was probably you, and you knew the answer but just have a more lousy memory than I do. ;)
      I was the one that insisted the answer be included in the ebook.


  9. Wished we could have the benefit of liking posts here. Just feels good to offer that kind of feedback. I read a lot, I don’t always comment.

    RS, that was very enlightening/educational post. I had no idea about the stringent process of publishing. It was a nice review of Ark’s book. It piqued my curiosity.


    • Oh I’m sorry. You can read the post and then go back to reader and click on like from there :D I got sick of all the spammy likes from people who never visit/read/comment. I think it is a worthless addition. So it went :)

      But do what others do. Read, enjoy and comment when you feel like it. Yes, some people comment on pretty much every post, as I do on most of theirs. Others leave a comment from time to time, but usually say they read most posts, just don’t comment on them all.

      Perhaps I will do a poll. That will be fun. Doesn’t mean I’ll implement the like button though :D

      I was talking for the sake of the example, specifically about newspaper publishing, but editing books *should* be equally as rigorous. Which it isn’t, and that’s why so many books these days have errors. For example, I’ve priced for five run throughs of the book I’m currently editing. I’m already on five and it will get at least another two. I’ll only stop when I’ve gone through once or maybe twice without seeing anything that needs changing. I’m also editing in English rather than Americanese so I’ve needed to check for all the Americanisms and change those. They don’t look ‘wrong’ to the eye, so it’s easy to miss them.

      We’ve made some additions as well, so that’s happened recently, I’ll need to double check those. I said I’d cap the price for five which *should* have been enough. So I’m doing the extra in my own time, but I prefer that to having the thing published and then seeing an error in it. Even one missing full point would drive me up the wall!

      Still, one of the additions was a dedications page and I get to appear on that, so who’s complaining? Not me.

      Forgot to say, it’s a good read, and if you know and enjoy his style, you are likely to enjoy it. I think he’s got some excerpts kicking around in blogland. Do a search on his blog for Almost Dead and they should come up.


  10. I remember the great days of the workers on ‘the print’ when it was still in Fleet Street who rejoiced, for tax purposes, in the names of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck….and also remember Neville Cardus’ story about the Manchester Guardian compositors lamenting that they could no longer set his quote from Classical Greek in the original as the font had been broken up in the War (which one I no longer recall).

    I have assembled my material for the ramblings about my time in France but have no clue at all about how to organise it for a reader otherwise than myself….let alone edit it…..let alone proof read it in two forms of English…let the morning bring counsel…but which morning…

    I am on firmer ground with lettuce.
    I was once remarking on an earlier blog that a French neighbour bottled courgettes the size of the gherkins one used to see leering from large jars in fish and chip shops and a reader commented that her neighbour bottled lettuce…the mind boggled then and boggles now.
    There, at bottling, I draw the line.
    However, I do use lettuce in samosas, make rolls of them with satay, braise them, make soup..’le potage du pere tranquille’… according to the old recipe book given me by one of my elderly neighbours when first in France and shred them into stir fry.


    • Comps were great. They had no side about them, and they were always incredibly friendly. Most of them were probably ten or twenty years older than this young journalist at the time, so had years of experience, but they were always incredibly patient and charming. Even years later, when I did have more experience – just the same.

      Is this the counsel for the defence or the prosecution? Email me if you want some advice (free) or editing (cheap). I can edit in more than one language although your French will be infinitely better than mine. However, as I pulled a cracking Portuguese error the other day (about which I am still feeling smug), any glaring French ones will no doubt stand out.

      Bottled lettuce? Amazing. Braised, yes. Soup, definitiely. With fresh peas and young onions, of course. Stir fry, I tend to use spinach but lettuce would serve if I had no spinach (actually I have just cut it all back). Oh, and I occasionally put them in salad. ±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±±

      Sorry, Snowy snuck onto the keyboard while I was checking breakfast. I’m not sure what he was trying to write.


      • Costa Rica is awake now too….bet that doesn’t figure on your time zone alert area…

        Whatever Snowy wrote would have been worth reading….I’ll have to let one of the dogs take a look to translate for me…

        I would be most grateful for advice….the ramblings describe how life in rural France seemed to me…but how to present it!
        It’s not in the genre of ‘how I hung up my high heels (just how does one do that) and swallowed a septic tank’ with a damn silly cover showing hapless foreigner (woman) with baguette under one arm and leering Frenchman under the other….more about things observed than about me.

        Sonel’s post reminded me of how my husband got on in South Africa when he was there years ago…he had no Afrikaans but found that people generally understood him if he spoke the Flemish dialect from his family’s home town – Tienen in Belgium. He loved it there, Rhodesia even more if possible, but no way would he go to live there these days, a feeling reinforced when a friend who lives in Cape Town visited us here and asked if it was all right to walk up in the cafetal above the house…would it be safe? We boggled. The only human risk up there is finding Don Antonio sleeping it off in the ditch and being rash enough to wake him without a bottle to give him.

        Prosecution or defence? Suffice it to say that I picketed Wapping.


        • Not good legal technique to make assumptions my dear. How does San José sound on my time zone? It’s pretty much in the middle.

          Snowy would make more sense than all of us put together. Run, hunt, kill, shred, eat. I don’t think he is a candidate for veg dog of the century.

          Send me some text.

          Totally safe in our pueblo and Gib too. We’ve often woken up and done dog walks at crazy hours.

          I’ve never been on strike. Voted for it loads of times though.

          Partner has. There are union tales on clouds I think. BL and that Canadian bastard came into it I think.


          • Which San Jose she asks…nit picking as always….
            As self employed I could not go on strike…but went to Wapping in solidarity.
            Thank you; I will send you some text over…that’s a super offer.
            The pernicious poodle – no longer a puppy – seems to have similar instincts and talents to those of Snowy; she could be described as a hunter gatherer – hunts something and gathers it in a secret lair to eat on her own then returns to sleep in her castle on top of the sofa back. Repeats as necessary.


          • Hmm, one of those in Costa Streaker I think?

            My mates – before my time – went on strike as journos and were supported by miners. In my time, we gave, as an NUJ branch, to every striking cause under the sun.

            No worries about the offer, in your own time. Send me the lot if you want, I just won’t proof it for free, but I will tell you what I think, and whether you need to pay for editing or not. You probably will, most people do, but who knows?

            Haha, top of sofa? Tell me about it, although currently on main sofa happily asleep. Just tell me how small dogs take up more space than big ones? More than half the sofa? Most of my side of the bed? Uh?


          • I would not dream of expecting a professional job to be done for nothing…but an opinion would be great. Thank you. And I’m pretty sure it will need editing…I’m a rum coot and have no idea what is expected of a book.
            Let me get over the hump of the post Semana Santa tour of government offices armed with a horsewhip and I’ll send you a sample.
            The poodle starts on the foot of the bed and the takes over my husband’s pillows – his head then dropping between the two piles thereof. Then she extends over his face. Then he wakes up and returns her to the pillows and takes half of my pile.


          • I just want people to be clear about what I will do for free, eg an overall opinion and some comments about quality of proofing for literals (eg speeling and punctuation), compared with editing a book/letter/report/CV/whatever.

            The reason I offer to look at something for free, and proof a few pages is that I think it is very difficult for someone to know what quality of work they are getting, especially over the internet.

            Sure people read my blog, but that’s all they know, so I think if someone is prepared to pay, they need to have an idea of what is involved. I can usually tell from someone’s blog how clean their copy will be. Your blog is actually pretty good, so your memoirs might be too.

            It’s the rest of it, format, feel, what you are trying to convey that helps to have an outside eye on that helps.

            Anyway, in your own time when you’ve put down the whip.

            The Podenco does the same. He’ll start of at the bottom of the bed (my side, occasionally in the middle). The he decides he wants to get inside. Walks around me and then calmly onto my face or chest or both while waiting for Partner to lift up the sheet for him to come inside. Whereupon he lies on my legs or feet usually. Or just pushes me out.

            Then he decides to go on the outside again, and so the cycle continues throughout the night. Poor little thing though, never known a pack, chucked out at days old. Neither of us mind. Good thing the big dog doesn’t do all that though. He’s happy on his sofa/the floor/under his table.


  11. Great review and post indeed! Ark is a great writer and so are you. Thanks for the interesting info. I also had no idea there’s so much work involved. You do have your job cut out for you and I am sure you are one of the best there is. :D


      • Good morning and thank you Sonel for your lovely comment (s), although I would hesitate to describe Ark and I as great, possibly good. But he’s already told me off once for self-deprecation. I do enjoy his writing and his pithy comments, and I know you do too, so if you haven’t read his book, I am sure you would love it.

        I think the internet has spawned millions of people who all think they can write, and have no idea how much is involved in reaching a wider audience. Writing a good blog is one thing (not everyone even does that), but writing a book and producing a finished professional product is a whole nother ball game.

        I am really pleased with the lettuces, they taste as good as they look. I don’t like bland tasteless lettuce, but the green ones are perfect, they taste and they have a great texture too. Timing is critical in Spain though because of the heat. The red ones have already started to bolt. I’m hoping for a few more weeks from both though.


        • A lovely good morning to you too RS and from my point of view as someone who are no writer at all, I truly admire people like you and Ark and so many others who can. Yes, that is Ark for you and I agree with him. If you are good, then you are good and that’s it. :) I’ve read his book and loved it, but unlike you I could not and never will find the right words to describe how much I loved it. Your lovely review said everything I would have liked to say, so thanks again. :D

          I totally agree with you on that point and not only as far as writing is concerned but also photography, and being a hobbyist and no professional photographer, I guess we all try our hand at something to see where it leads us. I know I am doing it for fun and it makes me appreciate the beauty around me so much more. As far as writing is concerned, I will never even try my hand at it. My grammar is hopeless as english is my second language. It takes a lot of intellect, hard work, experience, and so much more, to write and publish a good book. :)

          You are lucky to have such beauties in your garden. I would love to have a garden like that myself, but with the Vervets around here, it wouldn’t last long. :lol: Not that I would mind. If I do it, it would mostly be just for them, as I love and adore them. :)

          Same here. I love lettuce and will eat it every day if I can. It does taste great and I love the texture. Sometimes our landlord will bring some from his garden in Pretoria and I would first see if I can’t find snails to photograph before I wash it off. :lol:

          Sounds like it can be very hot there as well? The only things I know about Spain is what I read on the internet and you sound like a great gardener as well. :) I would sure love to see the red lettuce when they have grown. :D

          Thanks again for the lovely reply and enjoy the rest of your day. :D


          • SA is on the same time zone as us as I recall? or similar. I tend to meet South Africans in the morning, early rising Brits and Aussies. It’s nice and peaceful and civilised until America wakes up later in the day.

            I should be able to write. I’ve spent years doing it, being paid for it, and at one point was known as the ‘organisational writer’ ie, the one who did all the writing for the organisation. And as I didn’t get paid as much as some of the ones who couldn’t write I got annoyed and put my foot down and refused to edit or write all the dross. They get paid more, they can do it. Badly, but still :D

            It’s very hard being brought up not to show off, to actually say you are good at what you do. I know I am, but I find it hard to tell people that I am. Surely they can see that? But some can, some can’t. I find it really embarrassing.

            Oh I’m glad you read it and enjoyed it. Now I’ve read it once, I’ll have time to re-read it. I also said I would write a couple of reviews on amazon and goodreads for him, but I’m a bit busy right now. Plus, I will need to write those in a different style, this was more of a personal one, because it was on my blog. I’ll need to think about those a bit more carefully as people won’t be aware of my blog style.

            But still, I’m glad you enjoyed my review. It’s good to hear from someone else who has read it :)

            I’m the same with you about photography. I have no intention of competing with professional photographers. I take some photos that illustrate my blogs, and soppy ones of my dogs. There are only so many things in life we can do.

            I didn’t realise English was your second language. It doesn’t show. It’s better then my Spanish, your writing is very fluent.

            I love the garden. I can manage living in a flat in Gib (I flit between Spain and Gib), but that’s probably because I have the garden to return to. Garden really = a terrace with a few pot plants :D

            My garden is organic. The snails don’t seem to eat the lettuces. If I find any I usually chuck them over the wall. Give them chance to go elsewhere. They probably find their way back to mine.

            Hot? We are coastal so do get sea breezes. Summers are high 30s and sometimes 40s. Inland it is definitely 40+. Gibraltar is cooler, doesn’t usually reach 40 but we do get warm 30s.

            I’ll be working for the rest of the day, when I’ve finished blogging!


          • Seems so indeed. :) I usually don’t keep track of the timezones as there are so many bloggers that doesn’t seem to sleep at all sometimes. LOL! Most of the times I am one of them. hahahaha.

            LOL! Those Americans are loud, aren’t they? *wink*

            I know what you mean I am glad you put your foot down. I wonder why it’s like that in life? Sometimes it’s so unfair…

            I feel if you are good at what you do, you have every right to be proud of that. You have every reason and you worked hard at it. So why not? The only skill I am really good at is typing, as I’ve been a PA and private secretary for most of my life and I have a ganglion in my wrist to prove that. It feels good to show off now and then. Bless the one who can’t see it. LOL!

            Oh, I am sure Douglas will appreciate that a lot and I think by that time we will have to get a bigger sarcophagus for Ark as his head will be way too big. LOL!
            As far as the writing style goes, you will know best for sure. :)

            When it comes to soppy photo’s, I have a lot for sure and I have no interest in competing at all with the pro’s but I love seeing their stunning photo’s and learn from them as well. I am blessed though with appreciative and sweet blogfriends. I am still in the process of going through your blog and answering comments on my latest post and visiting them as well, so it takes a bit of time. :D

            Well, thank you very much and coming from you I take it as a great compliment. You are very sweet. :) I love listening to other languages and would not mind being able to speak Spanish and French. Such beautiful tones. :)

            Sounds like you like to travel and I will certainly learn more about it on your blog for sure. Gardening is gardening – whether it’s pot plants or in a yard. Either way it’s relaxing and a lovely way to connect to nature. :) Since we moved into this house, I convinced the landlord to go organic as I don’t like using pesticides at all and he does have a compost heap, so it’s a lot of fun for him seeing all the critters returning to the garden.

            I don’t mind snails either and we have the Giant African Land Snails here and I love them. They are gorgeous! To me, in any case. :) I bet those ones you chuck away do find their way back. LOL!

            Those sea breezes do sound hot. We have hot summers as well and I do appreciate cool days more but love swimming. I would not mind living by the coast at all. Gib sounds like the ideal place to live for sure. :)

            Don’t work too hard and yes, I know what you mean about the blogging side. LOL! It can become quite addictive. :D Enjoy!


          • I do have a series of clocks on my computer dashboard from Vancouver to Sydney so that I know what time it is when I am writing to people! I haven’t got SA. I must add it. I just think it is courteous to know whether they are having coffee in the morning or falling asleep at night :D

            Hmm. You woke up Victoria!!

            I am pretty good at typing too. I inherited my great uncle’s typewriter, bought a book to learn to touch type and by the time I got a job in journalism I was totally proficient. Still am. I was a PA/secretary at one point too. It was an in-between part-time job, good boss though. I didn’t really have enough to do, which surprised everyone else, as the previous sec claimed to be stowed under.

            Lie him down gently and shut the lid, I think. That will be peaceful for all of us.

            Hey, I’m honest. It’s good. Better than people who have english as a first language. Every language is easy when you live there eh? I don’t have time to learn Afrikaans. I wd if I lived in SA though.

            No time to travel these days. Too busy working to save up for old age. SA has always been on our list though. Even before we got married. Just not got there – yet!

            Well done on persuading your landlord. Helps everyone.

            I swim in the Med sometimes. No time last year :( Might look up the linky of the last swim.

            Blogging was not so bad on blogger. WordPress is totally different. Much better in terms of discussion.


          • Now that is very thoughtful of you indeed. Well, you’ll always catch me having coffee. LOL!

            Whahahaha! Good! She can’t sleep while we work/chat. LOL!
            *waves at Victoria with a huge smile)

            Oh dear, don’t let me start on those old typewriters. LOL! Can you believe how far we came? I am glad for today’s techology. Just imagine us still struggling with the Tipex and paper. Noooo thank you! :D

            Strange indeed! Funny how some people always want others to think their workload is too much to handle and yet, when you take on the same workload, it’s finished in less than half the time it took them. ;)

            Whahahahaha! Let’s hope the the lid will close! I’ll get some ductape just in case. :D

            Great! I like honest people and thanks again. Gosh, if you go on like that, I will have to worry about my swollen head. LOL!

            Absolutely! We speak Afrikaans at home but I prefer reading English books and music. Most of us here are bilingual unless you want to learn Xhosa or Zulu.

            I don’t much like travelling and no money either. The petrol prizes are too steep and of course the roadhogs on the roads. I don’t have any patience but luckily hubby is very patient and not as crazy as I am. :D We would love to get a motorhome and travel along the Coast here in SA when he retires.

            Well, when you do decide to come over, you are more than welcome to visit. :D

            I am glad I did. Here were no spiders, ladybirds or butterflies. People don’t realise what pesticides do. Now we have the Hadedahs and owls and even bats and all the beautiful garden critters. I love that. :D

            That sounds like lots of fun indeed. Lucky you! Hope you get more time to do that. :D

            I agree where WP is concerned. All I hate on blogger is the Captcha. Can’t stand that. Urgh! I do have a blog on blogger as well but mostly for the tutorials I do for a Dutch lady where I translate them from Dutch to English. Haven’t had much time to do that either lately. :(


          • hahahahaha! Writing in caps reads as ‘screaming’ to me. So you say you were basically screaming and swearing at me! Whahahahah!

            Swearing does relieve pain! Believe me! LOL!

            *runs off to read*
            *trips on the way – falls down – swears – smiles at Victoria – hobbles off *


          • Now that was very interesting indeed! Now I know why I swear more than usual when I am in pain and why I feel better afterwards. I need to learn more swear words methinks. LOL!


          • Hehe — well when I was a Christian, I rarely if ever said swear words. Is it any wonder I was in so much pain? LOL I remember the first time my step-dad heard me swear, (after my deconversion) his jaw dropped. Not because he thought it was bad — but he had never heard swear before. I don’t swear that much in my ‘real’ life, but I do like to drop the f-bomb when appropriate. “Shit” is another recommended pain reliever word. ;D


          • I swear loads at home. (No kids). Not usually in public unless others do it first. I think it can be appropriate.

            I do think your americanism of f-bomb is weird. Why can’t you all just write fuck?!!


          • LOL! Well, I never was a Christian and I swore if I felt like this and no wonder. You should have been a Swearing Christian! hahahaha.

            F-bomb? Dunno that one! My favourite words are Fuck and Shit. Sounds better in Afrikaans though. The minute I start saying ‘Fok’ everyone around me starts scattering, including Simba. LOL!


          • Saw it there and associated it with swear words, not that swear word. LOL! Some usually just say ‘F-word’ to be polite. I’m not polite. I am from Souf Effrica. LOL!


          • Are we the only two atheists who weren’t Christians? :D

            It’s one of those American things. They cuss over there instead of swear. If they are really naughty, they curse. And that’s it. And why do they curse? (clue: it’s a religious thingy)

            Fuck and shit are my faves too. I’ve written about swearing on clouds – you may get to it at some point :D


          • I’m a Googlist but I guess you can call me an Atheist as well. :D

            Oh, I see. Americans sure are strange hey? :P

            Glad to hear that! I am sure I will get to it. LOL!


          • The ones I don’t know are fucked-up crazy. You’re just weird. Like me. “nods head up and down”


          • Yeah, and is it any wonder Americans are fucked-up crazy? You pretty much have to work 3 jobs to make a living wage now, no thanks to the fuckers running this country.

            “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

            “Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.”

            “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

            ~Mark Twain


          • No wonder they are and I don’t blame them. It’s the same around here except there are no jobs. We have total ass-holes running this country.

            Great quotes! :D


          • So, assholes are universal, eh? It could be worse. They could be fundamental Christian conservatives assholes running the show in SA. You ain’t seen a ‘real’ assholes until you’ve seen these anal neanderthals. Don’t even get me started, lol. Sigh


          • hahahaha! I agree.
            Yeah, that would be terrible.
            LOL @ anal neanderthals.

            Vote Victoria for President! :P


          • That’s a fact! Don’t get me started on this side. That is why I don’t talk politics. I’ll go crazy and might just join Gaga as long as no animals are harmed in my video. :D

            PS: Wish I had her bod. *sigh*


          • I talk politics. Sometimes. So I issue a health warning on that one.

            Ah, come on sonel, you do eat some animals though. Cows pigs and chickens yes? I think they could poss be deemed as being harmed if they have been bred and killed for you to eat?

            We all have different standards and views about everything.

            Confess never seen her or listened. Happy with my body. It’s good enough for 50+ (hmm Victoria now how old are you again? :D)


          • Funnily I was thinking about that earlier. I was thinking about I must try and remember to send birthday greetings before the cusp. i will forget of course :D But still, the horoscope/astrology post calls. Makes more sense than sky fairies sitting on clouds.


          • LOL — yeah it does. I look forward to reading it. With you being on the cusp, and me being on the cusp in the same month, I can’t help but think what kind of dust we’d kick up if we got together. hehe


          • Guess then I will have to keep my low blood pressure pills handy. :P

            Some yes and if you’re not careful, I might just turn vegetarian too and blame you for that. If you think like that yes, but I was mostly talking about the doggie that ‘died’ in the video.

            I totally agree and that’s what makes us so interesting indeed.

            She looks like a younger version of Madonna, though I do like Madonna more. Happy with mine as well. Was just wishing for better. When I look around me and see some of the young girls of today, I am not complaining. I think I’m good enough for 50+ as well compared to most of them and then they didn’t even have 2 kids. :D

            Yeah Victoria. How young are you doll?


          • Shit! Not cool of you!

            Yeah, we know but mind you, I was first in line. Never forget that! :P

            You too hon! :D hahahahah


          • Damn it! Get them to deliver the pizza darn it!

            You too hon! Love & Hugs to Pippa and Snowy and everyone else that wants some. Thanks for the fun chat. :D ♥ Hugs ♥


          • “Wish I had her bod.”

            Gawd, don’t cha know it? Gaga’s video is brilliantly metaphoric. Same with the dog. I don’t talk politics that much, either, but I keep an eagle’s eye on what’s going on.

            “Politics, n: Poly “many” + tics “blood-sucking parasites” ~Larry Hardiman


          • Yeah, don’t get me going and I agree but didn’t like the dog part. Promise you if they start showing me videos of how they kill the cows to get the burger, I wil definitely go vegetarian and still blame RS. :P

            Same here but I have low blood pressure. Might just do something irresponsible and blame it on the moonlight. hahaha

            Larry Hardiman said it well! :D I hate tics.


          • I’ve got loads of them :D

            I don’t read ’em, but I don’t need to. Nor do I feel the need to quote Corinthians because it never affected my life. I am sorry for people whose life it has damaged.

            That’s why I can’t debate it. I really have no understanding of it. Stupid concept. Idiotic, therefore roughseas doesn’t give a shit about hell. Sounds like party time to me, warm and wicked. Who wants to sit on a pious cloud?


          • I never got that far. I just thought it was rubbish to start with so rejected the lot. Easy? No?

            Virgin birth? Adam and Eve? Creation? Ark? Resurrection?

            Do you take me for an idiot?

            Bye bye rubbish.


          • We had some good friends from San Fran. He was Maltese Canadian and she was Shawnee (?) something. He worked two jobs and she worked one. What a life. And this was more than 20 years ago.

            So why do Americans say they have a great life? Really puzzles me. Cheap houses? Cheap fuel? Gadgets? High state taxes?

            Invade the rest of the world, inflict their views on us all, claim to be champions of human rights, reduce women to slaves, and want to spend dollars in Gibraltar?

            I mean that’s a bit of a summary, but I can expound on it if necessary.

            Like the quotes.


          • Yep, saw that. Very strange.

            Maybe we should pest her until she re-activates them again or maybe we’ll get a b-slap. Let’s wait and see what happens. LOL!


          • Whahahahaha! *ducks again*

            Oi! Sounds like SA for sure! Luckily around here we know the electricians, so when the power goes out, the neighbourhood watch contacts them immediately and most of the time it’s sorted out quickly. :D


          • It’s always a grid thing here, so they already know about it. Great excuse to do nothing for a few hours though. Bit of a shock to come back to a few comments on blogs though. Power didn’t go out in SA or American did it? :D


          • Mostly the same here and of course the un-educated people they employ who don’t know shit. It is a great excuse though and the easiest way to get me outside. LOL!

            Not here. hahahaha. Maybe Victoria shocked them that side! LOL!


          • @Sonel and Victoria.

            Please don’t upset ”Blanche” too much or get her over-excited, and for god’s sake don’t overcharge those batteries…the noise will play havoc with her tinnitus.


          • Okay, so what are we going to do about that then?

            Bet he’s working on editing the size of his sarcophagus. :P


          • Not much you norty thing…
            Or should I say, Hey girl…what’s the Buzz?
            But that would be sexist ( I’m in enough dwang already) so I won’t say it.

            I am going to grab a cocoa, wind the cat up and put the clock out, find a nice book to read and not think of overcharged batteries at all. Not once.


          • Who me? Norty? Never! Gosh! Hell!

            Oh, I like sexist. More fun for sure. :P

            Shit nooooo! *grabs the cat and clock and hide them with the book under the bed and puts the overcharged batteries in his sarcophagus*


          • So does sextant. But unless you have really strange tastes and/or are very creative the only thing you can with that, as far as I an aware, is look through it.


          • Believe me, if it’s Johnny Depp holding that sex-tant we will make it two letter word. See, I’m creative. :P


          • Behave! Go and have a cold shower. Your husband won’t know what’s hit him, poor man.
            Just be careful you don’t damage his fishing rod. Those things are damned expensive.


          • Pfffft! Should have expected than answer from a cold old stone thing like you. :P

            I’m always careful. Don’t you worry. :P


          • I think she got stuck over in Australia. Remember, she went over with Saul her dentist, for some rugby? The miserable thing never even sent me a postcard.

            It was that x-rated chat about Duracels you ladies were having before that reminded me of the disgusting wallpaper on her blog.

            I must actually write and find out if she’s okay, I suppose?


          • Tsk! Bet they got stuck or something! Shame on her for forgetting about you! Just shows you. Family sucks!

            Yeah, I bet you saw some bunnies jumping around. You dirty minded old stone statue!

            I think you should. I miss her interesting posts. Learned a lot there! :P


          • We’ve just finished dinner and my lot are watching TV. Nothing on I feel like watching. They do the whole Vampire Diary thing, and all the football has finished for the day.
            Just a bit of lurking… ;)


          • “if any man today were even to suggest a girl should be measured for an ironing board he would soon find out that a sharp crease is not the only thing we can put in his trousers, right girls?”

            A feisty one at that. LOL Love the background.


          • LMAO! Now I have to clean my screens. Coffee all over! Oh, is that what she claimed? Well, I’m surprised as well. :D

            I wish that was true. Guess there’s no hope yet! hahahahaha


  12. When I was employed staff would write reports and they would be sent out in my name. For this reason I insisted on editing rights. I was never comfortable being critical of the work of others in case I upset them.

    On the subject of lettuce. Last week in Spain we stopped at a small village near Zaragoza, We were probably the only English people who had passed through in months and this seemed to create some excitement. Eventually a man came to our table and practiced his English. It turned out that he was a long distance lorry driver who makes a weekly journey to the UK delivering lettuce and cauliflower from Andalucia. Two drivers complete the journey, non-stop (except for the unloading bit I expect) there and back in 4 days. Seems like a lot of effort just to deliver lettuce and cauliflowers!


    • Wretched dog was chewing my dog book! That will add some fuel to your anti-dog campaign :D

      I think the only thing I wrote for someone else were complaint letters, responses to MPs etc for the Chief Exec. I used to ask him to check the board minutes but he got bored (haha) with that. I had people taking minutes for me at meetings and it took me more time to correct them than it would have done to have written them in the first place. Don’t think I had anyone writing reports or me. Just as well, they would have been red penned to death.

      People like out of season veg. Most unsound. Shipping chilled veg all over the world. Unripe tomatoes. Full of some chemical to delay ripening and goodness knows what else. You should have asked your truckie if the lettuces came from the corrida in my village. It is one big corrida and gets trucks to-ing and fro-ing all over the place.


  13. I like lettuce in my sandwiches and it has to be edited before it goes in there otherwise it doesn’t fit. No good having lettuce falling over the edges of your bread with scraggly edges. It can be messy, pick up, god knows what and justs looks disgusting.

    Book editing is the same way…if you don’t have your book edited properly you’re going to end up with scraggly edges and a very untidy looking piece of work. :)


      • I didn’t realize you had done another post, Kate. It didn’t come up in my reader…then again, neither did the other. Good thing I check in on your blog. If you don’t hear anything from me on a new post…just holler! ;)


        • Reader is like that. Hey, I don’t want to hassle people. We all have things to go, people to eat, and others to meet. Maybe that’s not quite right.

          I tend to check on commenters and/or favourite blogs if I haven’t seen anything. Works for me. Reader is more cantankerous than me. OK maybe not, but nearly as much.


          • I’ve tried putting tags on the reader, but the tags don’t always bring people up that I visit often either…and I have so many that I just don’t get to them all and they sometimes get lost in the mess of ones I don’t care about…they ALWAYS come up in the bloody reader!


          • Technologically illiterate darling. Just get rid of the follow and refollow, or not as your choice.


            Anyway, just bother with the ones who bother with you in the short term, or spend all day on everyone if you are on a book promo. Evil world. Split social and business, even if they are blurred.


          • Pat has a tumblr…uses it for clothes though :D I do too sometimes when she’s not feeling well.

            I have started unfollowing some of them…those that post every two f***in minutes and constantly reblog stuff…how come they never reblog mine…they don’t even visit me, pfttt!


  14. I don’t know to what schools our journalists attend, but I can tell you that most of the newsprint here is pathetic. Maybe their audience do not notice and so they have poorly edited stories in print.
    What you describe in editing reminds me of my lecturers in architecture school who would come tells us our work is horrid and looks like dog’s breakfast and that is after we have spent sleepless nights on the job.
    If you are good at it, as everyone seems to agree, make money doing it and have fun while at it.


    • I think standards of journalism – what little I see – are pretty appalling too. It wasn’t just the block release college courses I did. I was very fortunate to have some extremely good senior reporters when I was a trainee, and it was implicit as part of their job to help and train us juniors.

      On the job training is as important as college, if not more so.

      Here’s a post that may interest you about critiquiing architecture students:


      Thanks, I like what I do, even better to get paid for doing it :) Freelance work is what it is, but despite the unreliable income, it suits me far more these days.


  15. All good points. I don’t think I’d ever try to self-edit or self-proof. I’m lousy at it. I write something, I know my intended meaning, and even in the spelling I tend to read what I meant; not what I actually wrote.

    Your lettuces are beautiful. I tried my hand last summer at some tomatoes and peppers and a tiny herb garden. I’m not terribly good at doing things like that in pots. I’m much better off if I can put them in the ground. I’m a poor substitute for mother nature.


    • Thanks Ruth. Apart from the obvious, like checking for literals, I think the real added value of an editor is exactly what you say, checking for meaning and intent. It’s far more than, you spelled their when it should have been there.

      A relationship is key though, and that’s part of the difficulty. How to get an editor out of the blue? And like the story I quoted, a recommendation doesn’t always work. Trial and error as is life.

      I’ve learned container gardening because I don’t have ground. It’s organic, and the chickens have helped hugely. Chicken shit is meant to be the best natural fertiliser/compost there is :) Really high in nitrogen.

      I love gardening, and growing my own veg without nasty chemicals :)


      • Where do you keep chickens if you don’t have ground?

        I can never remember to water adequately. That’s why I have a hard time with container gardening. I’ve tried different things to help me remember such things, even Ginkgo pills. I could never remember to take the bloody pills. :D


        • We have an animal finca ie that means we have papers to keep animals. There is a large corral at the back of the house, so although we don’t have grassy or earthy ground, we have non house ground, if that makes vague sense.

          Previous owners kept pigs, horses, chickens … in the corral. We’ve just had a small no of chickens in a shed, with a decent open air run. Somewhere warm and dry for them to sleep and fresh air to wander around in :)

          I water every day or every other day. Even when it rains. Commercial growers do the same too. I have a huge water butt, so the water gets time to settle before I use it, think the rec time is two hours before you use it straight from the tap.

          When I’m not around, my Spanish neighbour does it for me :)

          When I am, it’s get up, walk dog, come back, feed dog, water garden. Easy routine.


          • Now that I’m in the habit of walking the dog every morning I might add that to my routine as well. It would be an easy add…maybe. We’ll see.

            The Brit was doing it fairly regularly last year with the tomatoes we had. Then we moved and it all went to hell.


          • Dogs are great for routine. I’m sure the only reason Partner took in the puppy was to get my idle arse out of bed earlier, it’s worked mind :D I put the dog’s need to go out before mine to stay in bed.


  16. Great post! It’s interesting to get an inside peep into the machinery of journalism. And your lettuces look glorious.

    Thanks for the gorgeous review! He is a quirky writer, isn’t he? :-)


    • Thanks gipsika.

      I don’t think many people realise how meticulous the process is (or was) and how much work goes into printing and publishing anything. As I have a number or authors and would-be authors reading my blog(s) I thought it would be helpful.

      It isn’t just here’s a bright idea, whack it out. There’s more to it than that.

      I’m pleased he liked the review. I’d use a slightly different style for reviews on Amazon/GR. What also worked well on this post was using the cover (I did ask him) especially as it sat next to the paragraph saying how much I liked the talking cat. It’s a good cover.

      Quirky? Who isn’t? I’d say interesting, GSOH though or at least he can make me laugh.


      • :-) Thanks. The cat is his own; the cover was done by http://irthling.com/.

        Yes, there’s a lot more to the whole writing process than meets the eye. There are books I read that have gaping holes in them, even though they are good stories – e.g. in a story I read a while back, though a great read, the author has the gypsy boy carry a violin and bow slung by a string over his shoulder through rivers, the rain, etc., and afterwards it still has an enchanting tone. I’d at least have let him use an oiled cloth to cover the violin up.

        But these holes creep up on one where one least expects them – that’s why one pair of fresh eyes is essential, two pairs are better.


        • The trick about editing is to ask the right questions. I want the author to think if that was really the message they wanted to convey, or if they realised it might sound different, or in same cases if they have actually got their facts correct, eg I’ve been checking out a lot of detail this weekend – the internet helps there :) – even simple things like street name spellings. I don’t know the area, but someone else might, and if it is spelled incorrectly …..

          Don’t suppose you have read Laurie Lee where he wanders through Spain with a violin (I think) not sure whether he covered it up or not!

          Oddly, I’ve just written virtually the same to someone else about a fresh pair of eyes. That’s why I tried to explain the difference to people between proofing for literals, and editing.

          The cat is quite adorable. Deserves cover status :D


          • :-) Absolutely.

            If Laurie Lee was/is a real-life violinist his violin will in all probability be inside a case, which these days have straps so one can sling them over one’s shoulder. The case is mostly of styrofoam (the old heavy plywood boxes have been replaced) and like a biker’s helmet, protects the precious instrument from more than just rain.

            Apparently Ginette Neveu cycled through Paris traffic every day with her Stradivarius on her back – of course inside a high-quality case. When she died at age 30 in a plane crash, her violin inside its case survived the crash.

            But gypsies in the old days didn’t always have access to such cases. In the middle-ages it was usual to wrap your “fiddle” into an oiled cloth to protect it from weather if you were a travelling musician.

            I’d love to read about Laurie Lee.


          • Can’t find anything decent that I wrote :( The post I’m looking for doesn’t come up on a search. Of course, I forgot you were into violins!

            I’ll have another look later, otherwise I’ll write something up next time I do a post about Spain. Maybe!


          • :-) I’d love to read it, when you do, pls drop a little line (I don’t browse the blogs a lot at this point, too much offline stuff going on).


  17. OMG what a lot of comments!
    I usually read through comments before posting, but I’ll pass on this one.
    I’m envious of your lettuce, mine are still seeds in the packets as it’s still far too cold for them outside.
    I have been busy preparing a slug proof (hopefully) raised bed for when the weather warms up though.


    • Yeah. I switch off on other blogs after 40 or 50 :D

      I blame Sonel and Victoria for chatting away the other night!

      There were some interesting comments, but 300+? No, no way would I read through those. I don’t even comment on blogs with so many comments.

      Think I’ll sneak off and write on Clouds as I don’t get so many on there.

      I am really really pleased with these lettuces :) must look up the pesky variety of the green one though. Marvelous or something? Think the reddish one is Four Seasons.

      So when do you expect your weather to warm up? :D About the time ours gets too hot to plant lettuces?


  18. Whew, I made it to the end… and quite lost track of what the post was about. Oh, I know, lettuce, proof-reading/editing/self-publishing info, a book review, and despite its inelegant naming, delicious looking vege food. Very generous of you to share your knowledge. Via WordPress I’ve gotten to know a few Indie writers, and others embarking on the traditional route. Regardless, it’s become apparent to me there’s a lot more to it that just putting a story into words.


    • Yeah sorry about that. I’m planning a nice boring post about the reason for my absence which she hopefully not spark off much interest.

      I really admire people with the guts to self-publish. And if they get that far, they need to know that it is very competitive out there and they need to look as professional as every other indie author/self-publisher.


  19. WOW! There are more comments on this post that there are on my entire blog! That’s what I get for being so late, I suppose. Fortunately the task of coming up with something that’s not been said so far is not as hard as I’d feared. Here it is: you are absolutely correct in the two main assertions (at least the two I wanted to see), specifically (1) a writer needs an editor and (2) the various tasks, especially writing and editing, though co-dependent, are quite distinct. That, in turn, leads me to my point: one of the best things about blogging is that it tends to invite the same kind of feedback that one might get from an editor. Both the kinds you eagerly anticipate as well as the rest. This, in turn, results in a deeper appreciation of the subject matter for both parties. And that, I believe, is why I find interacting with others in this manner so pleasant.
    What’s not pleasant is the weather over here. I just took a walk up to the lighthouse and nearly froze, despite having a jacket. It’s not quite one degree here. We had snow the last two nights. We got our first snow of the past winter in early December. That means we’ve has six months of winter. Now, aren’t you glad you are where you are?


    • You are exaggerating! But hey, I’m just the friendly hostess who lets people have a good time.

      I think it is hard to edit if you can’t write. You can, if you are sharp-eyed, proof without being able to write. But just proofing isn’t really enough. Proofing what is there without questioning content for style, factual accuracy, and consistency isn’t enough – IMO. But I would say that.

      Your blogging comment is interesting. I think constructive criticism/disagreement are invaluable done well. But it’s not easy to do. Praise is always nice but I am wary of the types who find everything wonderful. Or perhaps they live in a different world?

      As for weather, it’s rather passed me by. But I’ll try and get up a post to say why.


  20. Like EllaDee – finally made it to the end. (Lettuce! Looks great) Got quite a chuckle over the “publicly slag”. Everyone does stop and listen. Humiliating. Not much of that happening in the news room around here these days – what manages to pass through is truly appalling.
    “talking cat – animals making more sense than humans.” astute and witty. Keeps people coming back.
    Lots of great info here – will return in order to read through all the comments. What fun….but dog stomping on couch…and they do get you out of bed (earlier now so we can get walks in before it gets too hot outside). Great read. thanks


    • I know, I know. I try and post something new when comments get to 40ish. Everyone has their limits as to what they can read. I’ve not been able to control some posts though!

      I do worry about current day journalism. They clearly need the old fashioned newsroom treatment. Still don’t want to upset the little dears. In your words, everyone has to win these days however crap they are.

      Don’t you love talking animals? I do. I love the ones that don’t talk too. They still make more sense as well.

      Dog walks. Hmmmm. More to come on that one.

      Thanks. Enjoy those warm balmy days before they heat up too much. Or maybe it’s too hot already.


  21. This article is so true, loved the irony of the presumably deliberate use of “tripewriter”. Having been the author, editor and proofreader of my creation, I can tell you they’re all completely different roles that have individual approaches — you need to flick your headspace and either write, edit or proofread – otherwise you’re permanently writing. What’s more is I don’t think I’m a particularly good editor or proofreader, I had some light touch help but I found that my friends were almost afraid of being honest about what they really thought. I basically kept going until I was able to read the manuscript without stopping every few lines to rearrange sentences. The beauty of e-publishing is you can republish without incurring massive print costs.


    • Thanks Nicola. Tripewriter was just a term we used in the newsroom, so yes it was very intentional.

      I think the author who can wear all three hats well for their own work is exceptionally rare. Maybe proofing – although it’s still easy to miss small errors – but editing is very different. I always ask my partner to look at letters, papers, notices. I want it to make sense without needing to explain anything so he’s always a good start to test my work.

      I’m not sure that friends are too good at the job. They might spot a few errors but that’s probably it. You are right it is difficult for friends to comment. There is something nice and formal about a financial transaction that doesn’t damage friendships but can include honesty.

      I think epublishing is good, and particularly your point about republishing a revised version at minimum cost. I’m not sure how much impact it has made yet on trad publishing but I can only see the reach of indie pub increasing in the future.


  22. I am looking — so far, unsuccessfully — for your accident.
    In the meantime I am enjoying your advice etc re editing and self-publishing (and yes, I know there are some periods missing). I teach writing to school kids. I have done a first-edit of a friend’s novel. I collect misplaced modifiers. And I wouldn’t think of publishing anything without additional eyes involved in the check. Even then, there would likely be oopses appearing in print. Editing is really tough work. Much as I love to do it, I’d hate to be the final pair of eyes, because I’d rather have someone else be the one responsible for missing mistakes.
    One of my colleagues (who is a good writing teacher) has just published her first enovel. She didn’t self publish, though. By working with an editor she learned an amazing amount of really good information and I’ve gleaned a little bit from her in conversation.

    Aside from that, I found one of the errors in your last line — didn’t find the second error though.


    • I take it you found the accident/hospital posts, the next three out of four are all related, as will be the next that I may write today, making it five out of four.

      I think with my background, I’ve just got used to being the last pair of eyes. I’m not perfect either, but I’m as good as anyone else. And better than a lot. I must write up some classic mistakes I’ve spotted by famous authors using big publishing houses.

      It’s not just about spelling errors or grammar though. Style plays such a big part, and an editor needs to make the most of someone’s style without taking away from their individuality by imposing rigid rules. I’m surprisingly flexible in my editing, and am happy for people to break rules. At the end of the day, it is someone else’s creation, and their call. Mine to advise and ‘recommend’ improvements. Not insist upon them.


      • Yep — absolutely agree. There are some things that I really like my students to do or not (and the director I work under is really stringent in her expectations) but if students have a preferred style (and few of my students do, yet) or don’t like the suggested changes, I remind them that their names are on the writing, so they have the final say. When I offer my eyes up for friends, they know they are free to ignore any or all suggestions — and I am really happy with that. So far.


        • Do you edit for fee or charge, Diana? Sounds like you are doing it for friends.

          It’s one of those difficult jobs that is undervalued, everyone with spellcheck can set up as an editor etc

          I charge a cheap rate because I would rather see someone have their book edited than not. As a reader glaring mistakes drive me up the wall. But as I’ve said, there is much more to it than checking spelling. That’s only the start.

          Anyway, where is that blog of yours?


          • I edit for free. So far. And I have “applied” to edit a book for another friend of mine who is currently working on one, and has said he’ll take me up on the offer of editing the next one (he’s already got someone’s help on his first). I am actually really really looking forward to this.
            Occasionally I’m tempted to offer editing assistance (for a fee — if I knew what to charge) to realtors who send out newsletters and advertising. Some of the things that appear in my mailbox are really sad.
            Agree with the “glaring mistakes drive me up the wall” sentiment. One trip I went on with some friends (one of whom you are familiar with) I took along a book that a colleague had recommended, and I spent the reading time on the trip ranting at the author and the editors. I also once read a book written by a woman who has many many books out, and is quite well respected, and the entire book was full of inconsistencies, missing words, repeated sentences, and errors of all kinds — which made be believe that the publishing company wanted to make some quick $$$ and figured that fans wouldn’t care about the oopses. Wrong! I have been hesitant to read any other books by this author since.
            blog. yes. well……


          • One author wrote in comments above about not seeing all the errors I inserted and said that reflected most people. I think that’s a fair assessment. I read three online articles over the last 24 hours about a TV prog. Each one had at least one error. I’m talking so-called respected media here eg the BBC. It gripes me that errors are acceptable and accuracy is not. I’m not talking about bloggers writing for free, I’m talking about people being paid for this, as ‘professionals’.

            If I pick up an old book, I don’t find errors. But since the advent of onscreen editing, accuracy has plummeted. I’ll try and remember to write up the examples. One might have gone, ie article been replaced, by now, but I found a good one this morning :)

            You really shouldn’t do it for free. If you are any good you are doing yourself – and the rest of us – a disservice.


  23. Heh, as a wannabe, I’m often asked why I don’t consider self pubbing. I have considered it. But a) I’m not seeing lit fic taking off in the world of self-pubbing, and b) if you’re going to do it, it needs to be done well. I agree, that means experienced, professional eyes to edit, create a cover, and do all the computer-y stuff to make the text readable through the various options. All $$ I don’t have.


    • Ah, that was the post on yours I was going to comment on… About publishing.

      I think a cover is essential, I don’t do that sort of graphic design, so I would certainly pay for that. Crap cover = crap book. But, once you’ve flipped the cover and got spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, not good. Next essential = editor.

      Formatting is the interesting one. I have read books that have been badly edited, or not at all, but with a not bad cover, and formatting has been pretty good.

      I’ll be writing about covers at some point, and I’m doing an interview with an author soon for a book tour, so I’ll be asking her about all of those too.

      I know people don’t have the bucks. I dread to think what some people are paying all up. And I seriously grieve when I read about how much people pay, and their book is still full of errors! Publishing is a real chancers’ market these days. Really racks me off how many people set up as ‘editors’.

      And most of my posts don’t attract 300 comments, the others should be an easier read – my commenters are usually pretty interesting.


      • Yup, all the parts are important, and that’s with the *huge* assumption that the book is well written with a good story. Any book, self or traditionally published, is a crapshoot in re to whether or not it will sell. But self pubbed still feels like a steeper climb.

        (heh, lots of posts rambling about writing and publishing sprinkled throughout Mrs Fringe) :)


        • I do my critiques of not good books by self-pubs totally anonymously. No name, no title, no plot. If they are well-known, then I’ll name them, Ellen Schreiber and Rowling being two that didn’t get the thumbs up from me.

          Self pub is what it is. I think so many people take that first step, become more confident and get more work out there. It’s the first step that’s hard I think. Plenty of help out there too.

          But even a good cover and a good editor won’t disguise a poor story or mediocre writing. Unless you are Rowling.


          • Some of the self pubbed books I’ve read I’ve enjoyed, many others, not so much. Honestly, I can say the same for traditionally pubbed. That’s why so much of it is subjective.

            lol, I think pubbing, regardless of method, is probably more the 29th step. Write the book, finish the book, edits, line edits, beta readers, queries….


          • I’ve read, literally, a couple of good-self pubs. I’ve read readable ones in the hospital waiting room, but mostly not good. And the errors have me tearing my hair out.

            29 steps, hmmm interesting. Don’t agree with that. But I’ll save it for a post, as it’s after midnight here. I need food and bed. Laters eh?


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