Wednesday, February 1, 2017
When to Proofread -- Always!
When I was graduating from high school, years ago, I was writing hurriedly through several of my friends yearbooks. One of my friends got hers back and burst out laughing. I looked at her puzzled as I didn't think I'd written anything terribly funny. She pointed, "Never remember? Okay, I'll make sure to never remember the good times. After all, we've only known each other since elementary school." I had been switching between "Never forget" and "Always remember" when I came up with that gem. I was not happy with myself and horrified that she refused to give me her yearbook back to correct it.
Several years later, keeping touch only off and on, we made a date for lunch. Surely enough time, marriage, and kids, had passed that all was really forgotten. She greeted me with a hug and a smile and said, "You know, I always never remember the time . . ."
The lesson being, since high school I have always proofread everything I write (or at least try). Which is a good thing, since I'm a writer.
Which brings me to yesterday and why I'm writing this story.
I have a very lengthy novel that I've written that I was working on, mainly copying and pasting but also tightening it up. It deals with a serial killer. Needing a break I checked my emails, Facebook and googled a few things of interest when I came across a company looking for stories of inspiration. I read through what was required and thought of a few things that had happened in my life that fell under those guidelines. I decided I'd let those ideas percolate for a few days, pick one and then . . . wait, what? The deadline is today? This had been out there for nearly a year and I was just now discovering it?
Abandoning my book I immediately started writing my heartfelt, inspirational story. I edited, and edited, left it alone, came back and edited. This went on from late afternoon when I had found this write up to close to midnight when I needed it sent out.
Realizing that I can edit until Doomsday (my other sci-fi book that I'm also working on) I decide to either send it or forget it. I fill out all the necessary information. I copy and paste in the little box provided, my cursor is hovering over the "Submit" button when my eye happens to light on one word: killer.
Okay, I have written a true story about my children and although they have been trying at times I know I didn't write anything like that! Plus, I have proofread this article three times! What on earth? I lean in closer. What has pasted onto the page is a small section of my serial killer story! The part where the serial killer is giving his thoughts and ideas and why he does what he does. Nothing of my inspirational-feel-good story!
I have visions of the police banging on my door in the middle of the night and hauling me away. I see this national big name publishing house never wanting to hear from me again no matter how much I try to explain myself. Such inspiration lady. Sure, it was the computer's fault.
Then today, out of the blue, I receive a card. A snail mail card no less from a friend that I haven't seen in years although we keep in touch on Facebook. She wants to let me know she now knows how to forge a painting and she'll be happy to send me this information whenever I need it. You'll note she did not send this electronically.
"Honest officer! She meant for my book! Information for a book I'm writing!"
"In the guise of a Christmas card at the end of January? Really?"
Yes. I want to never remember this day again.