You probably think indexing is all bright lights and glamor, don’t you kid? (#SFWApro)

51-zssisf7l-_sx348_bo1204203200_It’s neither. It’s utter drudgery, relieved by odd little moments (I’ll get to those). But most importantly, it’s done. Everything goes off today, barring a blanket of ice on the roads (all rights to cover and image reside with current holders).

In short bursts it’s not bad, but at 130,000 words, I couldn’t do short bursts. I worked on it all week, then finished up on Sunday. The main body of the book was pretty speedy, but when I got into the lists of film credits, pretty much every word on the page was indexable. So I slowed down. A lot. And the stress and eyestrain (to say nothing of the difficulty of working around the pups with a sheaf of papers and a computer) didn’t help. Or the fear that I’ve missed some crucial typo somewhere.

What makes it really tough is that it’s often not just entering the name and page number. For example, if I have a Frank Tuttle and a Frank Tuttel in the index, that automatically suggests one of them is a typo. But which. Pause to check that out … And then correct the right one. Or I discover that Frank Tuttle is really Frank Ruttle, so I have to find “Tuttle, Frank” and relocate him to the right place in the R’s. All of which is more complicated dealing with foreign names, particularly Asian. I can’t read Japanese or Chinese or Korean, so I have to check out the names online. Not everyone spells them the same or uses the same accent marks, and I don’t have a sense of what a wrong spelling would look like. So I have to be extra careful.

I’d finished up the actual indexing Friday. But I put in nine hours Sunday going through and seeing if any names didn’t have a page number by them. In which case I had to figure out why: had I just missed the name? Usually, yes, but sometimes it was a misspelling I’d corrected in the text. Or a name I’d cut from the text. Or some other quirk.

After I finished that phase I drew up a typed list of every correction I made. That will serve as a reference if they lose the pages, and it’ll help if my execrable handwriting isn’t legible.

So not a very relaxing weekend. My brain was way too fried for the usual Monday political post.

But it’s worth it. And now I can take some time off to make up for it.

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2 Comments

Filed under Nonfiction, Now and Then We Time Travel, Writing

2 responses to “You probably think indexing is all bright lights and glamor, don’t you kid? (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Undead sexist cliches: it takes a village to decide whether to pop out a baby | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Fun stuff about indexing (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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