Friday, 2 May 2008


The proofs of Tales of Terror from the Black Ship arrived today. They are the end result of a lot of searching questions and detailed inspection of my work by my editor, Helen Szirtes.

I always dread the arrival of proofs. They are exciting in as much as they give you the first glimpse of what the book will look like, but they are scary because they also represent the last possible chance to get things right before publication. Anything that slips through now will have to wait until the paperback to be corrected.

So I will attempt to read them through, without getting lost in the content and trying to check the structure is correct. The best way I know of doing this is to read the stories aloud. There is something about the act of reading aloud that shows up any errors in a flash. When you silently read, your mind (or maybe it is just the author's mind) corrects mistakes as you go. But reading aloud is different. You can not make yourself say something that is clearly wrong on the page.

Reading aloud is an important part of writing I think. A sentence can look nice on the page, but I want it to sound nice in the readers head. Saying the words is the only way I know of ensuring this. And anyway, books for children are often read aloud and should sound right.

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