The importance of proofreading

So I’ve been proofreading my novel before sending it out into the wide world on a full request from a query.  It’s a good thing, too, because last night, on the verge of sleep, I found a large, economy-sized error.  This was the kind of error that made me cringe in terror, the kind of error that, had I not found it prior to sending out my manuscript, would have caused me to actually pull hair out of my head.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is the stuff of which nightmares are made.

This error was more than a little typo, more than a minor spellcheck oversight.  I had done some major rearranging of text and failed to delete the redundancies at one point, but then thought I had it all taken care of.  I happily went about printing off my final hard copy and set to reading through it, making a note of each instance where something needed to be fixed (and I’m not talking about instances where I decided that something sounded better if I wrote it differently – I’m talking about instances like where I said witting instead of sitting or considering when I meant consider).

Then I discovered that Chapter 13 needed to be deleted.

Not just a portion of it, oh, no.  The whole thing had to go.  I was falling asleep reading because I was absolutely exhausted, yet I was awake enough to realize that I had just read the opening to Chapter 13 ten minutes earlier…in Chapter 11.  I flipped quickly through Chapter 13, then back through the three preceding chapters and discovered that Chapter 13 contained parts of Chapters 10, 11, and 12.  Talk about en epic facepalm.

Prior to this discovery, I’d been considering just winging the whole proofing bit.  I knew there were a couple of places that I needed to hammer out a bit more, but I thought that once I got those straightened out, I could probably just give it a rest and then send it on in.  Boy, am I glad I talked myself out of that idea!  Part of me is really anxious to get this whole proofing project done with because I’m impatient, but fortunately the logical side of me is louder and knows that I need to take my time and do it right.  Yay logic! 🙂

And now, back to the grindstone.  I’ve got some more polishing to do.

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