– Ben Martens

Grammar Be Hard

I’m finishing up the editing for blog volumes 2008 and 2009. The technical process is pretty quick because I have a tool that does the following:

  • Connect to the database behind the blog.
  • Pull down each post and figure out which categories it belongs to.
  • Append the post to an HTML file.
  • Load the single HTML file for the whole year into Word.
  • Apply a custom style to do 90% of the formatting.
  • Do a similar process for the moblog pictures and Twitter posts.

From there, it’s a lot of manual steps:

  • Convert all the pictures to grayscale (done with a macro I wrote)
  • Make sure pictures are the right size. Sometimes this means making the page-wide images just a bit smaller to fit more than one on a page.
  • All hyperlinks get a footnote on the page listing out the URL, but sometimes I’ll print the full URL as the text for the hyperlink in the post. I go through and manually remove the footnotes in those situations.
  • Check page breaks and reformat where possible to give a better layout.
  • Spelling and grammar check.

I debated for quite a while about the spelling and grammar check. This isn’t meant to be a literary work but rather a view of my life as I saw it at that time, and if I wrote with errors, shouldn’t I include them? I decided to fix everything except the Twitter updates. I hate seeing all those mistakes and seeing them in print is even worse. It’s amazing how many errors you guys let slide without making fun of me. Thank you.

Most of the time, the errors are just typos, but I do make on grammatical error fairly often: “more ____” vs adding “-er.” For example, which is correct: “riskier” or “more risky”? There are many pages on the web to cover this topic, but I have yet to find a quick answer. Maybe there isn’t one. Or maybe you teachers can help me out. For now, I take solace in the fact that many mistakes I thought I was making turn out to be correct after all.

I’m still very happy with for publishing. 2008 is going to be about 700 pages long and it will cost me less than $30 to get a hardcover printed copy of it. I find that amazing!