Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What NOT to Do

I just finished the "final" edit of my 645 page manuscript, ready to send it off to Jeff Gerke. My last editing task--the finishing touch--was to replace all the double spaces between sentences with one. (I haven't yet re-trained my fingers to do only one).

The final save took an awfully long time to complete. A bad sign. That little circle just kept going round and round. I got up and walked away from my computer, praying as I went.

When I came back it had completed. Relieved, I saved all the changes. Then I discovered that the last edit had removed every space from between every word in the whole text. Just over 165,000 corrections.

I hate that "Cannot undo" message.

So what did I learn from this experience?

I learned what not to do:

Do not use the "find" tool to remove double spaces between sentences unless you know what you're doing and do it right.

I learned what to do:

Do save a separate file of your manuscript after every day's edit. If you don't, one careless tap of a key can invalidate every change you've made for the last two weeks.

This caution applies especially if you are putting the final touches on a perfect manuscript that is going to cause an editor to stay up all night reading because your story is so exciting he just can't put it down.