I am about to begin proof-reading the manuscript of This Beautiful Fever for what is at least the third and might possibly be the fourth time. When I write a text straight through, without revision, it’s usually pretty perfect, in terms of spelling, grammar, usage, punctuation, capitalization, etc. But the moment I start revising it, the text (whether it’s an email, tweet, blog post, story, or whatever) immediately goes to hell.
I am sure it’s this way for everyone, but the more I revise, the more dropped words and bizarre usages enter the text. The result is that revision actually makes the text harder to read and less beautiful. When I revise, it all gets sorted into a good order in my mind, but the mind isn’t good at deleting the fragments of the way it used to be. So I read it through and think, “Hmm, that sounds amazing!”
When, reality it it sounds if this.
I have a pretty good proof-reading method. I’ve downloaded a program that reads text out to you. I let the computer speak the text to me as I read it. Since the computer voice lacks any preconceptions, it carefully pronounces all the misspellings and fails to add in all the dropped words. I catch a lot of stuff like this.
Doesn’t help with the commas, though.