Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 920

How often do our eyes see not what is actually there, but what we have trained our brain to believe?

Book one of my new series is on the print press right now.  2,000 copies of the book are being printed as I type this.  As part of that process we picked up a copy of the pre-bound sample to make sure the lay-out was correct before binding takes place.

Now, I have an editor, two assistant editors, three children from my target market and myself ALL reading the books over and over and over again to ensure there are no errors.  This book has passed seven different sets of eyes.  But of course in receiving the pre-bound sample I thought I should read through it ONE LAST TIME.  Going to print is very nerve-racking. Publishing the book means it's now set in stone. Thousands of dollars and boxes of books means there is no room for error.

It turns out that on one tiny page of the book, all seven sets of eyes saw not what was actually there, but what we had trained our brain to believe should be there.

As I read page 86 for the 20th time, I saw it as plain as the nose on my face.  In fact, I saw it as plain as the nose on Barbra Streisand's face. How could we have missed it?

Charlie whispered to Jane, "Which one is Jenny?"
Jane pointed to a girl with long dark hair pulled back in a phone tail. She was standing in a group of five with her head bowed down looking at the floor.

A phone tail? A PHONE tail? What the hell is a PHONE TAIL?

Shit, shit, shit.

Panicked phone calls and an urgent STOP PRESS!!! 

Girls don't have their hair pulled back in phone tails. Can we possibly change that to the equine metaphor instead?  

Sure we can ... but we now have to replace every page in every copy that has already gone to print. That will cost extra. 

Ok, that's fine, just do what we need to do and send me the bill.

It's amazing how often our eyes only see what we have trained our brain to believe should be there.  

We all knew it was a pony tail, so dismissed what was actually in front of us.

It makes you wonder just how much we miss because we look but fail to really see


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  2. I feel for you! I used to do a lot of proof reading for lawyers in my early working life. Reading out loud was my trick. Good luck with the print run!

  3. Reading out loud is a GREAT idea. Thanks for the tip.


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