Tags: proofreading course level 4

Ghost Writer?

Painting - Andrea Kowch

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time" - Marthe Troly Curtin.

After getting my latest assignment marked (another A grade - thank God), I spent the weekend visiting others in a safe environment. Some very strange coincidences happened.

1) Visited Hubby's clients in the furniture shop. She asked what I was doing with myself these days - in the chasm between the Hen House and the Campsite. I informed her that I had left the latter and was filling space by doing the proofreading course (which include light copy-editing), with the hope to be freelance sole trader. She said: "is that the same as doing ghostwriting?" "No...(is she serious?)... though I'm sure I could." I thought, is this what they think this is, what copy-writing/editing is? Basically, getting some person's incoherent ramblings into some kind of order, then let them pass it off as their own work? No. You do, indeed, have to be able to write (unless you are Katie Price, or indeed in charge of the V.C Andrews estate). Of course, if you are self publishing, then it doesn't hurt to have a proofreader cast an eye over it and offer advice. That's not the same as ghostwriting.

2) Went to Newlyn and had fish and chips out with an artist friend, eating it on the bench by the war memorial, dodging gulls. Artist friend introduced me as a fellow writer/artist to another artist friend, who joined our salty, greasy, gull-ducking foray. I must admit that my heart leapt a bit at that. Yeah, if I just stopped writing fanfic and tried my hand at something more concrete, then maybe. I said that I was training to be a proofreader and this guy said: "would you ever do ghostwriting?" Hubby laughed as he (like me) had only just heard this a couple of hours previously. I said: " I suppose I could, though it's mostly proof and light editing".

3) Later, in bed, I thought I would look up ghostwriting as a viable career, using Google Assistant.  Doppleganger voices of the GA came back, one slightly behind the other, with only one window open only. I thought it was a joke like the Google Do A Barrel Role from a few years ago. So I asked again - just the one voice this time.

Weird - like I am walking into Uncanny Valley territory.


Last night, I dreamt of my father (who was an unpublished writer in his middle years), who was sitting on a settee that resembled the bench I was sitting on the previous day. He didn't recognise me, until I poked him. "Oh hello," he said and reminisced that he wished that he had done something more with his education, with his talent. I looked at him, knowing he was dead and said: "what, like a rebirth or something?" He said something to the tune of "yeah, but us boozers never seemed to have the time." I folded my arms and said, bluntly: "Dad, you died aged 61!" He burst into tears and I was about to say, "you died 15 years ago" (16 actually), but I woke up. I felt terrible - IRL, I would've been far more tactful to anyone, especially involving their demise, but I thought it was important to tell him that he had run out of time -  and by many, many years.

For the record, my father WAS 61 when he died in his sleep from heart failure, with no warning that he had a heart problem. He was vastly overweight and had developed a little drinkie habit in the 18 months previous. I hadn't realised that - thought he was largely a weekend drinker, but autopsies don't lie. Thing is, if there is such thing as a mortal soul, does he know that he's dead? The logical part of me (the bigger, more prevailing part, thank God) says "Don't be stupid"; the other part of me (the Christian Spiritualist part I grew up with) makes me think: "God, don't tell me he has been earth-bound for all this time?!"

Under my bed, my father's unpublished manuscripts lie. I have better skills than I did in regards to proofreading and copy-editing. I haven't opened the suitcase in years because: a) the pain it causes; b) I am not sure what to do with them, except maybe reinvent him somehow.

Don't we reinvent the people that we love, anyway?

Can't Brain Now, I Have The Dumb

May be an image of outdoors
Wonsook Kim - Afloat in the Light (2014)

I have been rather busy as of late. I compiled a 33 slide PowerPoint presentation - NOT as a PP (good Lord, it really WOULD be 'Death By PowerPoint'), but as a flip book for a student who wants to do an FdA English Studies degree at my first alma mater. We can't meet in the flesh, or ZOOM for whatever reason, but she wanted an email as to the kind of topics, workload and reflections of the time. It took me a while -  spread over a few weeks, it has to be said, but I managed to pack in more details for her than simply emailing her. I also have emailed my former tutor, too - so can see what I was aiming at. It's a little patchy in places, as I didn't have the original FdA 1&2 handbooks in pc format anymore, so fudged some. It was cheerily informal in any case - if it was meant to be a proper PP, then I would've rattled more sabres for information.

I have moved on with the proofreading course, trying to put the finishing touches to an ebook assignment that had to go through 3 stages - points 1-4 were to be proofread only, points 5-8 were to be proofread and line-edited (light editing for the uninitiated) and finally points 8-10 to be heavily edited and in some cases, magicked up totally out of thin air to complete the narrative. Bar formatting, every step of the way has got to be justified, either by the brief, the Big Book of Grammar (BBG) or Guardian Style Guide (GSG). T say that "their writing is just s**t" won't cut it.

I thought I might have finished this assignment today, but as it is meant to be British-English for a global market, I have to also pick out English neologisms that overseas markets might not be familiar with, or even references to certain Brit publications (e.g. FHM and SAGA magazines are VERY different magazines, but would anyone outside the UK know of these publications?). Even 'language' (Collins - a voiced or written 'system of communication')  and 'language' (Collins -  'style [and register] of writing') are coined in two different ways. If you are not familiar with certain publications, you can be forgiven for thinking that The Guardian and The Sun newspapers are two totally different 'spoken languages,' rather than two different styles and/or registers. I hope to get better at this, and I am, but it is a slow process, because you are marked on precision, eye for detail and a whole new system of learning.

I have to speed up a little, because I emailed the Hen House last week, to find that the seasonals will be back in demand, soon and my former boss is, quote "quite chuffed" that I am available for this season. I've not worked late spring/early summer there before and most of it is entire class or graduate photos - some with 'specialist' mounts. Hope this is fairly soon and lasts a little while, as we are strapped for cash and Bingley the Grey needs his teeth done at the vet's in a week from now. Because the proofreading course can be done in my own time, I can either fit it around the job, or I can defer for a couple of months, then finish it before the summer season reaches its height.

It is 23:02 here and I can barely keep my eyes open. I have been on it since 1 this afternoon and bar dinner, I haven't really taken a break. Points for tomorrow are as follows: a) Print the original and go through it line by line, so I haven't missed anything; b) Rewrite for concise wording (using proper terms such as 'countable nouns,' 'lowercase bold' etc); c) Check that it actually makes sense and simplify if not; d) Justify everything (BBG, Collins, GSG); e) Check the numbered texts are actually in the right order; f) Question why that they closing comment isn't actually in the beginning and say why you adjusted the text accordingly to fit the end instead; g) Cry into pillow; h) Upload to Moodle platform.

Not that this is of any interest to anyone other than me, but I do find that blogging my day's work helps me stay on track.

Bank Holiday Weekend

May be art of flower

I am motoring on with my course, knowing that I probably need to be a bit careful with the last half as there is a lot expected from it.  Medium level editing to match the first half of the assignment, which is to be expected.

It's May bank holiday weekend here in the UK though and I am looking forward to having some time out over the next few days to smell the flowers, listen to music and generally find some peace. Right now, I'm listening to the weird and wonderful on Spotify while Hubby and Prodigal 2 are watching the snooker. We are due to meet up with people this weekend (small groups less than 6 and outdoors as per brief). We have cancelled one couple as it rained on the 2 consecutive days that we tried to meet up this week. It's cold, though - 12-14c during the day, but as low as 4c at night.

I heard from a friend in the Hen House (seasonal photographic company) and there might be some work for seasonals in May/June. I am not back at the campsite ever again, hence being on the proofreading course and stretching our current budget to breaking point by not being available for work. So, any work from the Hatchery for a couple of months will be useful. If need be, I can put the course on hold and get some work done for dollah!

Plod On

Well, I am pleased to say that the last proofreading on paper assignment earnt me an A, which should've made me pleased, but I am deriving no pleasure from scoring highly. I am a straight A student, not because I'm a genius; I am above average intelligence, but also work really hard. So, why no self validation? Because I have been here before. That's what 5 years higher education did. Half a decade of going from scratch to post graduate. No kudos - points don't mean prizes if you are an older worker, it seems. Or a first time newly-graduated mature person. Meaning that I have yet to break out of seriously shit jobs and do something with my degree. I've moaned about this in the past, so I won't go down this road again. The only way forward is freelance and apparently, if you are introverted, it's the way to go.

I'm on the copy editing part of the module now, which is TONS more interesting. Might revisit this as a module at some point, but I want to stick with proofreading for now - get that under my belt later when I am more established, maybe. Right now, I am learning about XML code, which I kinda know about because of the HTML code on LJ, funnily enough.
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Proofreading With a Crisped Brain!

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I haven't written much on this subject, because I had to intensely swot up on the symbols and their meanings. I must admit to losing heart half way through, but I have been back on track this week and I have a couple of readings of it to do before uploading to Moodle. 3,600+ of words justifying my proofreading queries WITHOUT copy-editing. Ironic, as the lesson I have got after this is all about copy-editing (which I was told we shouldn't do, but I will presume there are sometimes that you have to). I won't be doing that for a while; after this assignment, part 2 of lesson 5 is far meatier than the simple few pages that I had to proofread. but in my defence, I had to proofread another proofreader's set of marks, verify that she had either correct/incorrect and then add the ones that she missed out.

What a fun life I lead - my eyeballs feel like I have rolled them in vinegar!

Plodding On

May be a close-up

I am going tediously slow with this proofreading course, as instructed I have to go slow. If I thought sussing Adobe pdf changes and MS Word Tracking was slow, then 17 pages of dual text/margin hieroglyphs is best described as turgid. I started gutting out the rough draft of queries today and will add additional stuff later, when I have sussed out some technicalities.

Boredom.

Proofreading Course - Lesson 5: Proofreading on Paper

May be an image of flower

So, proofreading on paper...I have only downloaded a quarter of the next set of files and OMG it is a chonk! 14 pages of explanation and 17 pages of signs and symbols. Proofreader alchemy. I have already listened to one of several podcasts and YouTube links that are lined up. Thankfully, I have now sussed Adobe and MS Word Track feature so yay for that, but there is a lot of reading around and ahead for this one.

In a better frame of mind than I was yesterday, think I have sussed what was bugging me specifically and now that's been resolved. I can carry on. Somehow, I've got to make this proofreader thing work, no matter what. My last ditch attempt to be free of the post Brexit slave stranglehold. I don't typically like absolutes, but judgment is harsh on the newly qualified over forties in employment, unless you go freelance.

I Think My Friend Said "Don't Forget To Smile"


How are you all, out there in there in the etherspace? Me? Not so good. Struggling with the proofreading course, because I can't figure how to fix the format and stop it sliding everywhere. The instructional videos don't help, either. I started the assignment no less than four times to figure this. Formatting all from the start didn't help, nor piecemeal. Somehow, the formatting codes are conflicting with each other and I don't know where or how this happening. I need to suss this, because I am * desperate * to change career. I am usually a straight A student, but it's because I work at it, I'm not some kind of gifted genius. I don't like failing, because if I don't know somethings, I make it my business to learn what it is that I'm failing in. I messaged my tutor, who said to mail it as is, and she will take a look. Alas, it will be a markdown and, I fear, a large one. If so, I will have to consider a big step back and put myslf through a ton of Microsoft Office 365 how-to videos and learn everything about the Doc side from scratch.

Thankfully, there is no time limit on this course, or I would be screwed. My problem is that I feel the time pressure. We are on the breadline, so this matters so much. Frustrations abound. It doesn't help that this is a correspendence course, so no Zoom or phonecalls. I think Open Uni has that facility; CMP doesn't. I don't need my hand held, just guidance face to face. I need to hear intonation, see expressions, ask questions - not a photo of whom I am dealing with and a few trite lines backward and forwards because I need more clarification. There is a time difference of 10 hours between myself and my tutor, so I have to wait for her reply at odd ends of the day.

So, here I sit, listening to goth/industrial, trying to keep a migraine at bay because I have been clenching my jaw so much - plus, Prodigal 2 was at hospital today having a wisdom tooth removed. This wouldn't be a problem if a) Pandemic b) I hadn't had such a botched wisdom tooth operation back when I was the same age as he is now. He is home and in bed, nursing a swollen face but essentially OK.

I dunno...just not feeling it today.

Proofreading - Crash Course in Adobe

No photo description available.

In my Facebook newsfeed, I get all kinds of humourous and/or spiritual quotes. Some are very much like another, but it keeps me reading largely positive uploads. It can get a bit same-y, but I came across this quote the other day and I found myself pondering on this longer than I expected to. Quite a few people time tavel and keep themselves a prisoner of the past and I am no exception. Covid has taught us to 'live in the day', but perhaps now I have a clearer vision and I don't want to be permanently hijacked by either past or present anymore. There are a number of things I want to dispense with and a lot of it is digging over what happened and what should have happened. Basically, living hand to mouth in tinpot jobs has been de rigueur for a few years now and we all want out. My family understand that I will NOT go back to the holiday complex and we are stretching our budget thinly. I will find some work somewhere, but mostly, I want to sort out this proofreading malarky one way or another and become a sole trader. I have dragged my heels a little on this, but have decided that if I want to create a future of writing/proofreading/publishing/whatever, then I need to crack on with it. It didn't help that I have been offline with reaction to the vaccination, which has simmered down from flu symptons to a more manageable head cold (I feel like I have been simultaneously peppered sprayed then punched in the face); I also believe that if you have had symptoms like this, the more antibodies you have generated - hopefully!


I am good to go and am watching youtube Adobe how-to videos so I can suss this once and for all. Go me :-)