Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blind Dots

I have this story I'm trying to get ready for Christmas. It's not a new story, in fact, I wrote it about eleven months ago. but I'm trying to get it ready to show a few people this Christmas.

I've gone through and edited it two or three times over the past year, but at almost 70 pages it's a little long for me to keep going through again and again. So I put out a call for Beta-readers.

Bets-readers are people writers use to catch errors in longer form works, like novels and novellas. Once we've read something that long three, five, or even seven times, we kind of stop seeing any mistakes. We just gloss over them without thinking, sometimes without even noticing. Beta-readers offer us a fresh pair of eyes when ours are a little burned out on a longer project, and we're hoping to get it publish-ready.

So I got me a Beta-reader, and I sent him the story. I got my feedback from him, and it was a tremendous help. I went through the story one more time this morning, with his comments beside me ... and I noticed something. Beta-reader said he noticed me using a lot of ellipses - that three dot '...' thing I used in the line above. Some people find them a little annoying.

Really? I thought. I guess I'll try to keep track as I read and get an accurate count so I can see if I do use them a lot.

So I read the whole thing, and I kept track as well as I was able, (though I did get caught up in the story once or twice) and I only counted four.

Four? In 69 pages of text? That's a lot?

Well, just to make sure that my Beta-reader was crazy, and it wasn't just me, I pasted the whole document into my Scrivener program. Scrivener allows me to search an entire document for special characters, like '$$', or '@#$^', or even '...'. So I searched the document for ellipses. Scrivener went through and highlighted every use of '...' in the document, and then I went through and counted all the yellow, highlighted swatches in the text.


I counted again, making sure it was actually highlighting ellipses, not just plain old periods.


I blinked.

"Holy $#^%!!"

I started taking out ellipses. Apparently I have a blind spot for dots.

Thank you, Beta-reader!

Talk to you later!

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