I have recently been posting comments regarding the progress of my fourth Ian Vaughan thriller, ‘In Treacherous Waters’. I have basically finished the manuscript and have been passing chapters of it over to my invaluable in-house proof reader. Today I received the following question from a Face Book follower who asked, “Do you use Spellcheck?” obviously confused as to why my proof reader is picking up spelling mistakes. My answer was this:
Yes, but a few words like strait and straight it would miss and so did I. The rush to get ones thoughts onto the page does not guarantee perfect spelling. Reading back your own work similarly does not guarantee that you pick up every mistake or notice that you have missed the odd, and or the. The answer is to get somebody else to read it not just for spelling and grammar but also for comprehension. I understand what I have written but I am too close to it to identify areas where maybe rewording or greater detail is required for the ultimate reader to find my books an easy undemanding read as I believe thrillers should be. If they have to read a paragraph three or four times to understand what I am trying to say then I have probably lost their interest. That ambition has also to be balanced against writing too simply and making the work look shallow. These are fine lines an author has to draw bearing in mind that each book faces the publishers critical and commercial eye.
I hope that my answer satisfied my friend’s curiosity and explains the crucial balance every author has to achieve if they are to succeed in this highly competitive publishing world.