Hello cHEwY gum gums

My next cHEwY creation Don’t Follow Vee is into one of the final phases of the publishing process…proofreading and typesetting.

A fellow author pal said it’s the worst part of the job. I know how they feels. It’s like when you’re doing a school/uni project and you’re sick of seeing it and you just want to hand it in and be done with it.

Yet, I still feel a lot of joy when I see my proofpages.

A few weeks ago, I went to see my editor, Heather (I share the same editor with Morris Gletizman #humblebrag) at Penguin Random House HQ. We sat side by side and she went through some changes with me.

Some of these changes are mere typos. But others require a little thinking. Sometimes it’s changing words around so they don’t look so repetitive. It’s only when I saw my words laid out on a page that I realised that I lean too heavily on a few words.

Another powerful thing Heather did was move down sentences to start on a new line.

Now it may look simple, but sometimes it’s nice to tell the reader to take a breath. To pause and reflect on what they’ve read. It highlights the sentence.

Morris Gleitzman’s books are full of these.

So if works for him then…

It’s important to make sure your words aren’t lost in a chunk of text, so Heather tidies up loose words, half-words and shifts them in a way that makes the story flow.

Proofreading is also the last time that you can make proper changes. If I had anything else to add, I had to speak now or forever hold my peace. By this stage, I’m not going to add too many new things, rather I would just clarify a few scenes, the setting, or get rid of jokes that weren’t working. It’s the jokes that Oliver P rejects, that makes Oliver P the best…haha

I’m also learning new things to improve my own craft. I love getting advice and tips from Heather about what I can do to make my writing stronger. I still have a silly habit of mixing my tenses. I’ve also been over relying on adding actions and attributions to signal someone speaking, when a simple ‘he said/she said’ would be okay.

You never stop learning to be a better writer.

So yeah, I know proofreading can be a bit dry, but when cHEwY gum gums point out typos in my earlier books (Thai-riffic! has a few doozies hohoho), it’s something you can’t take lightly. The best thing about seeing my pageproofs is that you get to see my work in its book format, with the chapter headings and page numbers. It hits me, that my story is becoming a book. I never take the publishing process for granted, so there’s a buzz knowing that it won’t be long before the book will be out in the wild…

May can’t come soon enough 🙂


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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