Free Proofreading for English errors!

I am a (former, unfortunately!) UK teacher with LOTS of time to read, but not a lot of money, so I decided to offer free proof reading in exchange for free reading material! I have met a marvellous group of friends that way, and so now I sometimes review and promote their books here, too! email me and I will get in touch privately. Or check out my Reviews

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Laving and lathing (BIG ouch!)

As many of you know, I haven't been well, so my apologies for not blogging (and profuse apologies to those of you I have let down, even if I did warn you I might).

However, I just had to put the following plea out there:

Dear authors,

Please do not talk about 'lathing' nipples ... A lathe is a seriously dangerous piece of equipment and the mere thought of one applied to protuberances on anyone's chest is enough to take your book straight into the torture porn category!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Manuscript a Day for three days in a row!

Talk about taking off!

A second story for the wonderful Kade, yesterday. A change of pace from the recently released Don't Trust the Cut, or rereleased Wide Awake (with two extra chapters at the end!) this one is shorter and lighter ... Titled It's Complicated, I certainly hope Kade decides to release it, so that you all can enjoy some more of his endless store of different, feisty and often idiosyncratic, but always loving, Southern characters!

Then today, another author sent me a quick shorty, to be checked by the end of the day! (I'll tell you all more, once we know what's happening to it next!)

And just this evening, another author has sent me a book to beta read ... I may yet beat my Kindle one-click addiction, with the help of all these kind people!

Certainly, I will have plenty to do for the next few days, as this latest one is a full-length book (my first, properly, since Wide Awake is supposedly still more of a novella length, really. But don't worry, Tyler Marcus. Whatever other characters I may fall in love with along the way ... none will ever take your special place in my heart!)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The difference between a Grin, a Smirk and a Smile (UK vs US)

I've only just noticed this difference but it seems to be pretty universal:

Here in the UK, a smile is a mild, pallid creature, a bit like a 'nice' person. It can be deeply felt, but is often either restrained or polite or even forced. A grin, on the other hand, although performed with closed lips, is genuine and expresses a deep sense of gleeful mirth! A smirk, at least to my generation, is a rather sly half-grin, which has connotations of derision with hidden or less well-concealed, spite towards another. It is usually employed by those with poor self-esteem who wish to see themselves as superior to the person they are thinking about. We would use the word 'grin' to describe a wry smile that was prompted by fondness.

In current US romantic fiction, at least, these conventions seem to be reversed. People start off with a grin, and then it expands into a heartfelt smile.  A smirk does not seem to have the same level of negativity associated with it, either: the first time I read a heroine saying how much she loved that the guy always smirked at her silly ways, I thought, 'How low is her self-image, to enjoy being looked down on and almost bullied like that?' It turns out that the problem was one of translation between English and American(!!)


First Full Proofreading Finished!

I am SO (what is a mature superlative for *squeeee!*?)!

I finished my first proofreading job, for Kade Boehme, who was doing a reissue of Wide Awake (link is to old version - wait for the new one, with the new *soppy hugs and drools* cover - see Kade's blog) and look at the feedback I got:

You were a tremendous help and I couldn't have pulled this off without you :) Your comments were  ... [very] helpful. I really appreciated you keeping up with everything as you went. I ended up deferring to you on most all of them so kudos. Your work was on par with the editor I work with at the publishing house (only you ... have a more personal relationship with the book [as a fan])

Anyways... so ... [w]here it says "Copyright Kade Boehme. Cover by LC Chase" i threw in a "Proofed by AnonymousBlogger" with a link to your blog ;) Again, anything I can do to get you some recognition/credit for your fab work. You're a lifesaver. I've got something I may be tossing your way in the next couple wks ... It's a smaller project ... and much more in the way of a quick rom-com(ish) novella. 

<3 kade

Yippee! *all that jumping and bouncing I should be too old to do anymore!*

Of course, Kade made it easy by writing a story I really enjoyed in a style that was well-written and complemented mine (I am 100% NOT journalistic in my own prose, so Kade's natural immediate, rather breathless first-person style was a brilliant match!)

So, what did I learn from this?

1) I CAN do a good job of this ... all that marking of Statistics A level papers got me in good training for noticing the 'Quality of Written Communication' criteria (UK Exam Politics Speak *sigh*)
2) I can pick up the tone of an author's work and work within it, in a way that enhances the reader's experience without upsetting the author. (Based on a not completely random sample size of 1, this may not be a fully convincing generalisation, of course!)
3) It takes a LOT longer to proof read carefully for everything, like inconsistent tenses, 'Dragon Oopsie's' like 'flew the coup coop' (UK Dragon would not make that mistake, cos over here we use a more Francophonic pronunciation for 'coup'!), and to make sure I am not accidentally correcting something into UK instead of US English (eg 'give in to' in the US - and apparently in OZ, too - is 'give into' - the research into comparative etymologies is great fun!)
4) I would still spot the really glaring errors if I were working faster, but working in depth requires shorter bursts, or A LOT of reading over and over again, to make sure I don't miss something (I only spotted 'took a loud load off his mind' on a final runthrough, because it came at the end of a section that I should have left and come back to fresh the first time!)
5) The editors and proofreaders I temped with once upon a (long) time ago were every bit as smart as I took them for at the time ... this is a job I would have REALLY ENJOYED back when I was well enough to do it for pay!
6) Format worries were a non-issue ... whatever format a writer sends me, I have appropriate software to make changes and attach comments to explain my thinking clearly, left over from making Maths resources and doing web design!

So ... come on, then, Nate, Sage and C R: bring it on ... I am on a roll and ready for you to do your worst best(!)  Just, don't expect FAST, cos I'm still the same stickler for accuracy over speed that I was as a teacher.  This means, however, that YOU guys can concentrate on speed and leave the nit picking to me - for free!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Multiple Point of View Narratives

The first time I came across this was in a short, self-published ebook that was free on Amazon, where the author started by warning the reader that it was written in a Multiple Points of View style ... unfortunately, the author should rather have warned that it was written in a  clumsy, info dumps style ... which was much more of a problem for the reader.  Fortunately, I can no longer remember the name of the story or the author.  Unfortunately again, though, it was not the best introduction I could have had to the wider spread of useage that this format of mixed first person and third person narration is now receiving.

I am now reading more of the MPOV style where female Points Of View (mainly the principle heroine) are narrated in the first person and all others are in the third person. Kristen Ashley does it well and so I am getting used to it. It is a good device for solving the problem of immediacy vs the wider picture, but personally, I am still trying to work out alternative methods of achieving the same ends. I love Kristen's stories, but still feel slightly awkward flipping POV on occasion.

I like what Kayci Morgan did in Four of a Kind, where each character had a few chapters of first person narration of their part in the history (minimal or no overlaps and not necessarily consecutive or in time order).  Changeovers were bridged by short third person segments in the present tense, but I feel this can only work for occasional books, rather than as a regular device.

Has anyone seen any other such structures used successfully?

Monday, 24 June 2013

First Author has agreed!

An author has agreed to let me be a beta reader for them! I am looking forward to this SO much!

Now to work out logistics like reading and editing formats ... and here's hoping my hardware keeps supporting me as faithfully as it has been ... I use a mobile for most of my posts, fb, G+ and LinkedIn interactions, but the screen is far too small to read PDFs on!

Please keep your fingers crossed for my laptop, all! ;)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Frequent Offenders

Here's a couple of recently / frequently read vocabulary errors:

Viral for virile (he filled me with his viral seed really does not have good connotations, guys, honest!)

Peek, peak and pique:
to pique is to prick ... He piqued my interest
to peek is to peep or sneak a look
to peak is to reach a summit or high point, so I peaked at him through my fingers or I sneaked a quick peak at him, is pretty meaningless, I'm afraid!

More as I get time (anyone want a run-down on the old apostrophes, your, their and its lists?)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Quality Mark for Indie Writers

Just found this! 

Compulsion Reads provides a Quality Mark for independent writing.  Those of you who have seen the sort of errors that occur in many indie books will want to know about this initiative!  Thanks to Eva Marie Paullliere for getting this endorsement, which brought it to my attention.


I can help you qualify for the Grammar criterion for free, but YOU need to come up with the engaging story, etc!

Writers - want a link to your site?

Want me to link to you?

Email me, and if I like your work (I judge on content only, no remarks about your English, I promise!) I will post a link to it here.

Free Proofreading for Erotica / Fantasy / Romance

Hi, writers and readers, all!

I just had a great idea ... I am a (former, unfortunately!) UK math(s) teacher who loves to read, but is currently long-term ill and unable to work.  This leaves me with LOTS of time to read, but not a lot of money!

Math(s) teachers are sticklers for accuracy in language (far worse than English teachers!).  We catch the errors not spotted by word program(me)s, or by writers proofreading (who tend to see what they thought they wrote, not what is actually on the screen)!  As a result, I often find myself mentally rewriting a lot of the romance, erotica and fantasy I buy on Amazon, as I read it (I will provide regular anonymous examples as I read, for those who are interested, with the reasons for the corrections, eg 'taut' skin instead of 'taught' skin - a common culprit - look up both in a dictionary and you will see what I mean!)

Sooo ... I thought up a great way to get lots of reading material and provide a useful service in return ...


How about ... you send me your novel before it is published (I get free reading) and I return it with any errors I spot, marked with alternative ways to say it (you get free anonymous language editing).


How about ... you email your fave authors a link to this blog and I proofread their work for them.  (You get to read their next work a bit quicker 'cos they didn't have to take the time to proofread for English errors as well as story errors; also, maybe they can go over to voice recognition if that works for them!)

Any takers?

email me and I will get in touch privately.

About Me

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Teaching is a stressful business, with people scrutinising your every word and action. This is my chance to unwind / rant anonymously without recriminations!