I’d do it again

On December first, I published “Editing ain’t easy” about the fact I was proofreading a friend’s manuscript.  I made comment on the fact that editing someone else’s work isn’t as easy as it sounds, for while you’re helping them polish their work, you must be careful not to leave your own grimy fingerprints all over it.  (What’s that? You washed your hands first.  Okay, ignore “grimy” then.)  It’s their book, not yours. You can’t rewrite it. This past week I finished the work on the manuscript. No, I won’t tell you what I charged, but will say she didn’t scream “Are you out of your mind?” into the telephone when I told her.

I wouldn’t mind doing more.  Not just for the money, but I quite enjoyed the challenge and the satisfaction of helping someone improve their work.  So, (blatant plug here) if you, or someone you know, is looking for editing services, but object to the prices asked by services such as Createspace, you can contact me through here.  We can talk about it.

Cat.

Advertisements

More from the computer wars

Before I start, I notice that recently I’ve had a new reader from New Caledonia.  Welcome.  I hope you enjoy what you’re seeing.

Now, for years dating back to the ‘80s and our first computer, a Commodore 64, I’ve been engaged in a running battle with these infernal devices.  Every now and then, the system will enlist the aid of printers and software in these skirmishes.  Last June my trusty HP 4580 died after about 4 years of service.  As I’m a photographer, I decided to replace it with a new HP Photosmart.  I chose the 5510, figuring that for the $20 difference, I could turn the paper over myself whenever I wanted two-sided printing.  The theory behind the PhotoSmart was good, the practice was not.

Right from the beginning I had problems with the paper feed, the machine frequently feeding two or more sheets at a time.   This would not normally be a problem unless you’re printing a multi-page document.  Although it was a PhotoSmart (it said so right on the label) it wouldn’t print 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 photos straight, no matter what I did or said – and I’ll admit I used some very unladylike language.

After a week of these irritants, I contacted HP, who sent me a replacement.  I was not impressed with this second machine.  I had a week old printer which I had purchased brand new and they sent me a refurbished unit as a replacement.  Not that it mattered much for the replacement was worse than the original.  Where the original would feed two or three sheets at a time, on occasion the replacement would feed as many as eight at a time.  I returned the replacement and decided that, once the ink in the original was used, I’d replace it.  The ink ran out just after Christmas, so this past weekend, I went shopping for a printer.

The replacement is yet another HP, an Officejet 6700 this time.  Yes, it’s more printer than I really need at the moment, but that could change.  This one not only feeds just one sheet of paper at a time, it also prints photos straight.  And, I got it on sale.

Software will occasionally enter the fray as well.  As I wrote in “Editing ain’t easy”, I’m helping a friend edit her manuscript.  She uses MS Word to write, whereas I prefer WordPerfect.  I’ve been using WordPerfect 12, while she has a more current version of Word which WP 12 doesn’t recognize (I get “unknown format” messages if I try to open her documents in WP).  My computer came with something called “MicroSoft Word Starter”, which is a pain in the ass to use.

She usually sends me five chapters at a time.  I’ve been downloading them, then opening them with this MS Starter monstrosity.  From there it’s been a matter of copy and paste into WordPerfect.  Although WP won’t recognize the format when I try directly, I have had no problems with this method.  That is, no problems until today.  Today, I had the five chapters copied, but when I went to paste in WordPerfect, I got a message reading “out of memory”.  Excuse me?  A 93KB document is “out of memory”?  Okay, ran a programme to clear the clipboard and get rid of the junk files that always accumulate.  Just to be sure, I also defragged the drive, then tried again.  Same message.

To see if it was WordPerfect or my system, I decided to try to copy and paste the chapters into Open Office.  Worked just fine.  As I wrote, I’m using WordPerfect 12, which is ancient by software standards and thought that although WP12 had worked well for the first 35 chapters, perhaps it had reached the end of its life.  Went onto the Corel website and downloaded a 30 day trial of the newest version – WordPerfect X6.  Installed it and tried again with the same result.  Obviously I’ll be on the phone with Corel in the morning.  I discovered that while the 93KB total was too much for the available memory, each individual chapter was small enough to transfer.

When my friend sent more chapters later (I should have them done Jan 4 for you) I decided to give WP X6 a try.  Opened the Word files without breaking a sweat (figuratively of course).  Problem solved.  Or rather, that problem solved.  Now I have to rework my budget to find the money Corel wants for the new WordPerfect before the end of the 30 day trial.

I hope 2013 unfolds just the way you’d like it to.  Remember to hug an artist – we need love (and cooperative computers) too.

Cat.

Editing ain’t easy

A friend, Rusty Blackwood, has asked me to proofread her manuscript for “Passions in Paris: Revelations of a Lost Diary” and I’m flattered she asked me.

In addition to the various rants/ravings/reasoned discussions I post here, I also write so understand the time and effort it takes to create a 900 page manuscript.  I also understand the trepidation of letting another person, even another writer, “mess” with your work.  I’ve  had people proof some of my manuscripts, so I also know the questions that pop up in the mind of the writer, such as “how badly will they screw it up?” and “will I still recognize it when they’ve finished?”

Fortunately for me, Rusty’s language skills are good, which means my editing is mainly looking for the dreaded typos.  I may also make the occasional comment, or ask about her  phrasings in certain instances, but those are only suggestions.  By no means do I consider myself the arbiter of all things proper in the English language.  And of course, while doing so, I keep repeating to myself “don’t ruin her work”.

When you are proofreading someone else’s work, if you’re doing it correctly, you are more concerned with context as opposed to content.  Naturally the two are not mutually exclusive, but the reader must be more concerned with catching the misspellings (“I can spell, I just can’t type” is my usual excuse for those) than with the storyline itself.  From what I’ve read so far though, I can’t wait until Rusty publishes this so I can read it for pleasure.

Okay, back to my reading.  Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist, no matter  what field of creativity – we need love too.

Cat.