Reading proofs

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I’m just working through the page proofs for my book. It’s amazing how different it looks when it has been typeset. The process of having it formatted seems to give a whole new perspective on the content. The content somehow feels different when it moves from being a word file to a print ready PDF. As well as starting to feel more final, you also see things differently once it begins to look like the final product. I Don’t know if other people experience this, and I’ve noticed it before with journal articles, but it feels like you are reading someone else’s work. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

The proofs give you some distance on the writing – this is partially the reformatting of the text and partially the time that has usually passed since last reading the piece. I find that the result is that my thinking has often changed over time. So, as you are reading you find yourself thinking that you would have done it differently. I also find it surprising how the things I thought were really explicit in the text turn out to be a little hidden away. The proofs have given me that type of distance. But at the same time, it is not sufficient distance to see the text as an outsider would. The sentences are still a product of your voice. When you are reading you slot back into this voice, I sometimes even find that I’m finishing the sentences without actually reading them (sometimes I even end up finishing them in a different way to the original text). It’s like buoy recognise your own voice and you immediately slot back into the narrative. The result is that reading proofs is always a bit more difficult that I expect it to be. Not only are you still familiar with the text, but you also gain sufficient distance to see what is missing or what you would rework if you were to rework the piece. You end up with a strange mix of closeness and distance.

I’ve just got the index to do now, which is, of course, the main way that people are likely to navigate through its pages. There is a section in the book on my concept of the classificatory imagination. I’m just trying to exercise my classificatory imagination in order to try to predict what people will want search for…

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One Response to Reading proofs

  1. Pingback: The Birth of Territory proofs and index | Progressive Geographies

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