This morning I was sat here typing away describing the interior of the Vidamar hotel in Funchal to prepare the reader for a later scene in the book. I wax lyrical about the spa suite and how after your treatment you can lounge on comfortable reclining seats looking out onto the pool terrace and the ocean. I polish the piece and think about a coffee, then think about the hotel, then open up ‘My Pictures’ to find that you don’t look out at the pool terrace but above the pool terrace to the ocean. Picky maybe but I would have kicked myself round the office a hundred times if that had gone into print uncorrected, because I know several people at the hotel who will be reading the book when it is published.
It is the same with spelling errors as in the case of ‘Here! Here!’ when you mean ‘Hear! Hear!’ and ‘widow’ instead of ‘window’. Your computer spell check won’t pick up those; it is down to your proofreader. ‘Widow’ instead of ‘window’ got as far as the final read through prior to going off to the printers before it was picked up. Had it been missed it would have turned a tension-building sentence into a comic line.
The problem with literary bricks is that the author, in the flow, is typing at speed (as fast as they can) thinking more of the turn of phrase or the exact word to use rather than the accuracy of the hands. When the ideas are coming an author cannot be diverted by trivia, they have to get the skeleton onto the page and hope that in the polishing process the bricks are caught. Also, good followers, it must be understood that writing the manuscript is the easy bit, in actual fact you have only reached the foothills of the mountain that must be climbed before your book is on the bookshop shelf.