Thursday, October 13, 2005

I sent off the Wildlife Galleys today

I sold a story to ANALOG some time back. Long time readers may remember me mentioning it when I signed the contract.

Well, they're finally getting closer to publishing it. So they've done the layout for that issue of the magazine and the last thing I have to do is a final proofreading. Not all magazines give you that opportunity, but Analog has always been good about that kind of thing. It arrived in the mail, five sheets printed out exactly as the story will appear in the magazine. The only difference was line numbers printed in the margins.

My job is to check for any errors and correct them, getting the marked up sheets back to the magazine quickly.

These days, after the story is sold and the contract signed, I email them a copy of the actual wordprocessing file containing the story. This eliminates tons of errors. However, nothing is perfect.

Today, I found three errors. Two were mine, probably in the orginal manuscript I sent them. Both were mental stutters, where the sentence changed after I'd begun typing it. In one, I wrote "only he or a perceptive critics ". You see, I changed from one critic to several in mid thought, and never caught the extraneous 'a' in all my pre-sale proofreading. So in the galleys, I marked instructions to delete the 'a'.

There was another mind glitch, but there was a third error that I didn't write, but was caused by the emailing process.

There is a funny rule in all the email systems on the internet. If the word 'from' occurs at the beginning of a line, then put a '>' character in front of it. This is because the standard email headers use the From line as the marker for a new email. The >From situation lets the software know that we're not beginning a new email half-way down the page.

Of course, all modern email software is a lot smarter about these things now, but the old rule is still there. So it brought a smile to my lips when I saw 'He frowned at the images >from his easternmost camera.' in the galleys. I had mailed the manuscript as an RTF file and somewhere in the chain of email software, that 'from' was noticed and 'protected'. That's why you have to proof galleys, even if you're 100 percent positive you sent a perfect manuscript to the publisher. Nothing ever happens perfectly.

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