Finally finished at last again

I guess some things never end.

I read someone somewhere saying about – was it books, or music or film? I don’t remember, but they said something like, ‘You don’t ever finish them, you just let them go.’

I’ve completed my latest read through of Ephialtes in paperback. That must have been about the tenth time I’ve read it from start to finish, excluding all the times I’ve read individual chapters or scenes. And still they come – the typos.

This time around I picked up two hundred and fourteen required corrections. To be fair, around three or four of these were missing words or punctuation and a further five or six were minor editorial adjustments. The rest were hyphen-based.

Obviously, I’d like the finished article to be polished to a dazzling shine, but I think I may be at that ‘letting go’ point. I’ve been here before, of course, and how foolish those times seem to me now. But this time? I don’t know, I think this might be it.

I had a skim through my digital proof before ordering a hard copy. I noticed I had ‘air-lock’ in there somewhere, where it should be ‘airlock.’   I guess I’ll stick that on the pile for the next go-over, should there be one. If there isn’t, maybe I’ll come to treasure that one little rogue hyphen. Maybe that’s the necessary flaw that sets off the perfection about it.

Or could it just be that I can’t face going through the whole damn thing again?

Definitely the former. That’s what I’m telling myself; definitely the former.

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Please talk about typos again, please

Everyone loves typos. I know it’s cheap, but since I’m here to garner popularity I’m going to go on about typos again. I spoil you, and you know it.

I’m ploughing through the paperback proof of Ephialtes and noting required corrections. I’m up to page 184 (of 464. Tiny font too, so it’s lots of words) and have 118 minor corrections so far. I say minor – I think there are a couple of missing words and a few instances of minor editorial tinkering, too – because the bulk of these corrections concern the use and misuse of hyphenation. Ain’t that funny?

I’ve already mentioned that, of all things, I had quite a bit of gyp with capitalisation, and that’s weird enough, but who’d have thought that hyphens could be such a bother?

So this is my top writerly tip for the day: keep on top of your capitalisation and hyphens, and the rest will look after itself.

There. Is that enough typo-talk for you? Right then, on your way. Don’t you have homes to go to?

One nil to the Arsenal

Gavin E Parker, looking comfortable and relaxed in a retro Arsenal top at the Emirates Stadium

Gavin E Parker, looking comfortable and relaxed in a retro Arsenal top at the Emirates Stadium

Just got back from the Emirates. Here’s my match report:

Arsenal won.

What, am I a sports correspondent now?

Pretty grim weather-wise. Realised shortly after we set off that it was going to be even colder than a standard English Summer rainy day. I was only wearing a T-shirt (okay, and trousers, pants, socks and the rest). In the end I had to buy a massively overpriced long-sleeved T-shirt in the Arsenal shop in order to avoid being cold and miserable. Well, to avoid being cold, anyway; it would take more than a T-shirt to stop me being miserable.

It felt very weird donning Arsenal garb at the stadium. I felt self-conscious, like it would make me stand out where, of course, if anything it would make me blend in. I guess I had a low-level fear that a stranger would grab me and ask me obscure questions about 1992/1993 squad or somesuch. Once I had failed that test the shirt would be unceremoniously ripped from my back in front of a laughing crowd. But that didn’t happen, so win for me.

All in all a fun day out, and we avoided the rain, too.

Still no comment

Just another quick one:

It’s coming up for two weeks, and still no one has commented on any of my posts. Now, I realise that no one is reading my posts, but is that really any excuse? I mean, ask yourselves; really?

I have a couple of followers now who, I presume like me, have just followed a few random people in the hope of getting followed back. When they get a notification, ‘Gavin E Parker has done a blog-poo. Again,’ they probably pay as much attention as I do when I get one for them.

I guess what I’m saying is that the followers aren’t following, in any meaningful sense, and the ‘views’ I get (suspiciously, they come very soon after new posts, and according to WordPress statistics are from search engine referrals) are probably from bots or the like.

So, if you’re out there and are a real person, please just add a comment. Even just a single word. Even just a single letter.

Let’s go to the football

A break from writing and proofing today. I’m taking the kids to the football, Arsenal vs Wolfsburg at the Emirates.

We’re not big football fans but we do have a vague interest in Arsenal. My dad was a big fan, and there are historic connections between Arsenal and Margate, our hometown.

The Emirates Cup is looked down on by the hardcore fans. It’s a silly preseason micro-tournament of no import whatsoever, but that’s what we like about it. There’s a carnival atmosphere and it makes for a fun day out.

The only time we’ve been when the vibe was anything other than chilled and fun was in 2013 when Arsenal were beaten 1-2 by Galatasaray. It was fine in the stadium but after, when we were queuing for the tube station, the Galatasaray fans were marched passed us with a mounted police escort, ensuring they had no access to us. They were chanting ‘We are best of Arsenal’ and looking anything but friendly. It did occur to me to lead a chant in retort, ‘We are best of grammar,’ but in the interest of public order I let it go.

What are you reading?

Weird thing: reading a book once it’s book-shaped is different to reading it as a manuscript. Why? No idea, but it certainly seems to be true.

I’ve spent some time today reading a paperback proof of Ephialtes. Despite the strong story, great writing and terrific characters, I had become weary of reading through it in draft form. But now it’s book-shaped, it’s like reading it for the first time.

What does that mean for ebooks? Again, no idea. They aren’t particular booky, but seem to do okay. I guess it means there is something you don’t quite get from that experience that you do from reading a physical book.

This seems a shame to me, because CreateSpace have a minimum price for physical books they produce, based on size and length. In the case of Ephialtes, that minimum price is seventeen dollars (roughly eleven pounds), which is prohibitively steep for a paperback by an unknown author. It’s too bad, because as I’ve been discovering, the essential ‘booky’-ness adds to the reading experience.

I’d love to be able to get the price of the paperback version down to something realistic, as it’s my preferred version. I recommend this to you: if, come September, you download and enjoy the ebook of Ephialtes, treat yourself to a copy of the paperback.

Go on. You’re worth it.