When I'm on the very, very last drafts of a manuscript, in addition to all the other things I'm checking that I've already blogged about, I'm looking for minor distractions, like typos and minor details or incidents that might leave a reader with niggling little questions.
First - typos. What can I say? I read a manuscript many, many times. My editor reads it, an in-house copy editor reads it and yet, typos still happen. The eye sees what it thinks it should see. I find it much easier to catch typos on hard copy, another reason I prefer to print up my final drafts, but even then they slip by.
I've had some doozies in my time -- a hero walking through the "dessert" (caught that one!), the wrong hero's name in a paragraph (missed that one - ARGH). Believe me, it's upsetting if you don't catch them.
Minor details that might prove distracting and should be dealt with are things like, what happened to the heroine's horse after it runs off? Does it come back? Is it lost forever? Something like that isn't a huge deal, but as I've said before, anything that disrupts the reader's experience should be corrected.
So there you have it -- five blog posts about the many things I'm looking for when I'm polishing the final drafts of the book.
More reasons why writing a book isn't as easy as authors make it look.