Hello again! It hasn’t been too long since my last update, but I had something on my mind that I wanted to share. This entry is going to be about formatting, spellcheck, and grammar rules, so if none of that interests you, I suggest you turn back now. I don’t blame you if you do.
For a bit of context: I’ve done all of my writing for this project in Google Docs. I initially started this whole writing endeavor as a fun project with a friend of mine. We both had ideas we wanted to write about, and we decided that we would read each other’s work along the way and leave comments. Google Drive is sort of my standard go to for any sharing files nowadays, and it’s great for working with collaborators, so it was a pretty easy decision. However, Google Docs isn’t the greatest for standard formatting, so I decided to transfer the project into Microsoft Word for the final edits. (Side note: Why is the Microsoft Suite subscription based now? Ech.)
The spellcheck software for Google Docs is very different than the spellcheck software for Microsoft Word. When the document first loaded up, I had thousands of little squiggly lines to go through. The first issue was that Word decided my default language was “English, Australian”, and it would revert to that setting no matter how many times I changed it, so I would always have piles of corrections saying “color” should be spelled “colour”, and so on. I also had to re-add all of the made up words and names to my dictionary that Google had remembered for me. It was a bit of a process.
After all of this, I finally had what I thought were the “good suggestions”. A lot of them made sense to me; I had a habit of saying “look to” instead of “look at” for some reason, and Word was kind enough to point that out after Google had failed me. A few other quirks popped up in the same vein, so it became pretty easy to run through the spellcheck and hit “accept suggestion” to a lot of things. The trouble is, it also changed some formatting from the way I had correctly written it into incorrect forms, and I apparently approved those suggestions.
If you are a strict grammar adherent, you may have noticed multiple places in my book where quotation marks that should have ended with a comma actually ended with a period. Example: [“No, can’t say he does.” Chortled the other guard.] I know that it should be written as: [“No, can’t say he does,” chortled the other guard.] Looking back to my original document, I can confirm I did write it that way originally, but somewhere along the line, spellcheck changed it. There are many, many instances of this error now peppered throughout the entire story. There are also spots where the correct form of this formatting was not changed, so I don’t know what caused this issue in certain spots and not others.
I should have caught it, but I didn’t. Changing it now would be a massive waste of time: it hardly affects the readability of the book, and with print copies already being sent out, the damage is permanently done. It’s a silly thing to be irked over, but yet, here I am writing a MASSIVELY too long post about it. In the end, I’ve learned an important lesson about paying more attention to what I let spellcheck change, and about adding more proofreading passes when I make big editing changes. Hopefully, I’ll apply these lessons to when Book 2 goes into editing.
This was a silly post to write, but I can’t just let myself be WRONG on the INTERNET without acknowledging it and blaming a computer for the mistake. If you’ve stuck through this post to the end, you’re a dang hero, although I would suggest you do literally anything else, as it would be time better spent. It is currently 1:30AM on Sunday morning for me, so I’ll be heading to bed after a successful writing session on Book 2 and a less successful writing session on this news update. I’ve crossed the 80,000 word mark, and am fast approaching the page count of Book 1 (170 Google Doc pages of 173). I guess there’s more dialogue in this one padding out the page count, as I’m still about 6,000 words shy of Book 1’s total. Interesting!
Thanks for hanging with me on this one, and as always, thanks for reading!