Monday, December 05, 2005

The pain of proofreading

I'm finally proofing the pages for "The Dogs Who Found Me," and as usual I am amazed at the number of errors that have made it into the galleys. Some of these are all my fault. Others are helpful but misguided corrections that have been inserted along the way. For example, I was surprised to read a description of running through orchids in Costa Rica. How does one run through an orchid? Perhaps it was an orchard? On the other hand, perhaps I should insert a scene in which my dog and I, under the influence of opium, run wildly in miniaturized form through a giant orchid.

I recently discovered another error in my Poets and Writers piece on Ernest J. Gaines. In my original draft, I was talking about the population of his stories being made of up "African-Americans, mixed race Creoles and white plantation owners." Somewhere along the line, the s was deleted from African Americans, altering the entire meaning of the sentence, and actually making it false. Instead of expressing the whole range of colors and cultures, the sentence now reads as if everything is literally black and white.

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