Chasing Double Spaces

Chasing Double Spaces

I just spent two hours chasing double spaces in my 95,000 word manuscript. How could I have erroneously added spaces to sentences hundreds of times? And they were not at the end of sentences! They were in the middle of sentences.  Somehow, they escaped my notice for ten re-writes. When I read my manuscript in twelve-point font, those double spaces slip past my eye. When I read it in fourteen-point, those spaces are more obvious. Of course, employing the “Search and Find” capability of my Word program nails every one. I just have to remember to do it.

The detail oriented, assiduous seeker of mistakes is barely related to the one who created this manuscript. The poor original writer folds her creative wings and sleeps while the critical analyst takes over. Both writer personalities are necessary. I love the creative rush of the first draft and I get satisfaction out of the ruthless editing of the last ones. I need them both.

The trick is to keep the word-oriented writer from interfering too soon with the idea-oriented writer. I need the ideas, the characters and the dialogue before I need the perfect word and the perfect grammatical sentences.  I don’t know how others handle these aspects of writing, but I keep them separate. I supposeI see three phases of writing. The first is the almost trance-like drive to take what is in my imagination and get it down on paper. The second is the re-write where I aim for a lyrical rhythm, the most precise descriptions, and the incisive exposition of character. And third is the clean-up, analytical editor phase where I eliminate overused words, incorrect punctuation and the inordinate number of “saids” and “thats” populating the pages.

This time, my last run thorough was in pursuit of double spaces. I think I got every sneaky one.

For your information, Word Spell Check did not like one sentence of the above.