4 Proofreading Tips

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When you’re almost finished with your novel revision, you must do the dreaded proofreading.

4 Proofreading Tips

  • On-screen. Take advantage of the word-processor’s capability for spelling and grammar. Run any and all programs you have for Spell checks and Grammar checks. Of course, these are limited, especially at finding typos: The tall cheerleader was the hart of the team.
    But Spell checks and Grammar checks are steps you shouldn’t neglect.
  • Printed copy. Some writers swear that skimming a ms backwards helps them spot the odd things. Or, give it to a friend or family member who hasn’t read it yet. Best, give it to a grammar witch, who will find everything because they can’t not.
  • Read aloud. Read aloud to the intended audience. I’ll guarantee you find places to edit not just grammar, but also voice. And maybe much more.
  • Listen to a read aloud. You can read the book into a tape recorder, video recorder, etc. Or, you can try a free text to speech program such as Natural Reader. It requires a .doc file, but then will read your text aloud. The free voices are a bit rough, but still very usable.

Whatever combination of approaches you take, do not send in your mss without proofreading! You will regret it.

What is your favorite proofreading tip?

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3 Comments
  • MaryKate
    June 23, 2008

    I love reading aloud for proofreading. The other thing I’ll do when I need to check spelling, homonyms, punctuation, etc. is to read the manuscript backward, either sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph (not word by word or letter by letter–I’m not quite that nuts!). Looking at the MS out of context like that keeps my brain from glossing over errors.

  • Kristin
    June 24, 2008

    I read my novels out loud to myself not once, but twice before I send them out. Why? Sometimes I’ll introduce a new error.

  • darcy
    June 24, 2008

    Hmmm. Reading aloud seems to be popular. I certainly learned the importance of it after my first book came out. I found myself reading aloud the first chapter as a teaser to many different groups. There were a couple places that I’d probably have revised — if I had read it aloud before it went to press. I keep that in mind now, as I find the time to do that essential step.

    Darcy