Fresh eyes and fresh blushes

I have a new reader working her way through the manuscript of The Sleep of Reason, and in the first twenty-seven pages, she’d already found two usage errors and a missing verb! I must have read through this section twenty-seven times myself and missed them.

Yikes!

By the halfway point of the novel she’d spotted an even dozen: missing and repeated words. Spelling errors typical of me: “work” when it should have been “wore.” A couple of verb forms that were wrong, probably from improperly completed revisions. Different readers bring different strengths to their reading, and my new reader has brought hers full bore.

Sure, I can be too close to the text to be able to spot such things, and the fresh eyes of a new reader can, which makes me blush. But the chapters involved are now with four agents, and if they spot the errors . . .

So I’ll fix and go, and fix and go.

Humbling.

At this stage, these kinds of errors are troubling but not insurmountable. Yet my new reader also told me that she’s figured out the ending — the startling ending that reveals the story behind the story. It seems I have telegraphed it with one too many references to a key word. Do I remove that fatal reference? Leave it in and see what an editor will think? This is the kind of thing readers are for!

(Also, if you spot any kind of errors in my posts on this blog, please be sure to tell me. I need to keep grounded in reality, however humbling that will be for me.)

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