Commas, hyphens and other vagaries

As those of you who follow me on Facebook at Alis Hawkins Author will know, I’m currently going through the proofs of In Two Minds, the second in the Teifi Valley Coroner series. This is a new experience for me as Macmillan New Writing, the imprint under which Testament was published, didn’t run to proofreaders so I read my own proofs. Which meant that I didn’t have to get to grips with this lot:


It’s the key to all the proofreader’s marks that I might come across in the typescript. As it happens, I’ve only had to become familiar with a small percentage of the marks as most of the changes involve commas (though I thought I used a lot, my proofreader thinks I’m a parsimonious comma-user), the odd typo and lots of strikings-out of hyphens. I think she would have allowed that last one but, in general she’s fierce with my tendency to hyphenate words. I’m apparently as profligate with hyphens as I am parsimonious with commas. Either the words are ‘closed up’ – so gate-breaking becomes gatebreaking – or they are sternly divorced from each other and made to stand on their own two feet like two grown-up independent words – a candle-lantern is instructed very firmly to be a candle lantern.

Other than commas, hyphens and typos there’s the odd missing full stop and inverted commas and inverted commas so I don’t feel too bad. In fact, I’m probably making more changes to words (as opposed to punctuation) than the proofreader as, yet again, I try and sneak in a last edit.

Aside from the nitty-gritty, it’s actually quite something to see your book set out as it will be in the printed version. I like the typeface and the way the text is set out on the page – it looks… handsome, I think, would not be an inappropriate word.

Exciting to think that the next time I see it, None So Blind will be an actual book. Now I just need to wait for the cover art and the whole thing will be done. Watch this space!




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