As I do, from time to time, I thought I would give you an update on my writing, and in this case, where I am on my second book, Mind in the Clouds. At this point, the the manuscript is complete, and just last week, I sent is out to my beta readers.
I am not sure what importance most authors attach to beta reading, but I put it quite high. Why? Well, did you happen to notice the extra “the” in the second sentence? How about the word “is” rather than “it”?
There are several psychological theories or principles that attempt to explain why proofreading is difficult. One is known as top-down processing or conceptually-driven processing. These theories hold that what you see when you read a specific sentence is influenced by the meaning or context provided by the story to that point.
How strong is this effect? Well, do you have any trouble reading this sentence: The maening of the pragarpah inlfeucnes how ecah snetnece is precieved. I would guess you had little difficulty, even though every word longer than three letters was misspelled.
So, if the expectations created by the plot make it difficult for the reader to notice typos and extra words, imagine what it is like for the author who has lived and breathed a story for months. I cannot read what is actually on the page because I already know what’s supposed to be there.
There are, of course, techniques to help in proofreading. Personally, I like having the computer read the story aloud. Not only does it help in spotting errors, but you also get to poke fun at the computer’s pronunciation. What can I say, I’m easily entertained.
And by the way, if you spotted other typos or extra/missing words in this post, I put them there on purpose, just to see if you could spot them…trust me.