The Write Choices – Proofing


I may have mentioned before that I really do like the writing process. I love sitting at my keyboard and letting my mind meander into the lives of others (makes me sound like a peeping Tom, doesn’t it?).

Getting a novel ready for publication, however, is more trying.

My pre-editor (my husband Matt) points out blatant errors as he reads each new story. I have worked with some great editors who have given me valuable suggestions for changes to improve and correct the tale. Thanks to my cousin Don, I haven’t misspelled a famous person’s name for a while, and I’m using the correct words more often. Even my book designer, Erik, has been generous with his time and efforts to render my manuscript clean of typos, missing words, or improper capitalizing.

However. No matter how many times I read through my manuscript or how many other eyes I put on it, mistakes remain.

Below is the typeset copy of my latest novel, A Peculiar Peace. Typeset. That means it’s endured my scrutiny (at least five times already) plus that of my husband, my editor, my proof-reading cousin, and my book designer. It made it all the way to typesetting! But see those little pink and blue post-its on the side? And those little yellow tags at the top? Those represent changes that still, despite intense scrutiny, need to be made to the text before it is ready for publication. The changes noted by the yellow tags were made last week. The side notes are in addition to those. Agh!

In the first pass, I asked for 144 changes. Today, I requested an additional 46.

The worst part: popular opinion is that, for every nine errors found and corrected, one remains. I’ve asked for 190 changes – does that mean there are still nineteen that haven’t been found? Agh!

About Lori Hart Beninger

Lori Hart Beninger is a native California writer with three critically acclaimed historical novels (Embracing the Elephant, A Veil of Fog and Flames, and A Peculiar Peace) that follow two 19th century young adults as they struggle with survival and acceptance in the pivotal era of the California Gold Rush up to the American Civil War. Please visit for synopses, availability, reviews, and more.
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