Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Proofreading Tips

Since I am in the process of proofing Immortalis, I thought I might pass along a few quick tips.

1) Print it! Always proof a printed copy of your work. I can't explain why, but seeing something in print somehow makes you look more closely at it. I can spend hours staring at a computer screen, reading my work, and still miss things. As soon as I see it on paper, I find more errors.

2) Read out loud! When we read silently, especially our own work, our brain plays tricks on us. We know what we "meant" to say and our brain substitutes the correct sentence or words in for the ones we might have goofed on. Reading out loud, stops your brain from this sort of "auto correct" function. You will find lots more errors this way. If your computer has some kind of speech function, you could also try having the computer read to you. Sounds kind of silly, but will definitely help you pick out any problems.

3) Have someone else read it! Hey, sometimes we are just blind to our own mistakes. A fresh set of eyes works wonders. When you have proofed and re-proofed, toss your work to a friend and let them read. I bet they still find things for you to fix.

13 comments:

V. S said...

Thanks for sharing.

L.T. Elliot said...

Great advice!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Too true! I definitely read my work aloud all the time.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great tips, especially #1. I am always amazed by the number of errors or rough spots I find in a printed version that I overlooked repeatedly on the computer screen.

Elana Johnson said...

I agree wholeheartedly with these three suggestions. Be warned though: Once you start editing on paper you'll never be able to go back to onscreen! At least I can't. I must have the paper copy. It's nutso.

Jenna said...

Oh - great tips. I've heard another good one that will same you on ink. Increase your font size, or change fonts, change font color, etc. Anything to make your work LOOK different on your screen. I haven't tried this yet but some people say it works wonders.

Paul Greci said...

Great advice. These are all part of my revision process.

Guinevere said...

Great points, but No. 1 is going to be brutal on the trees! :)

Jessica said...

I always print mine off. Very helpful. Reading it aloud is hard for me to do.

Lisa Amowitz said...

I've actually had my computer's speech command read it to me! The trick is to find a voice that doesn't sound too robotic. But it helped. Getting ready to have *Vicky* read the last quarter of my book to me.

Natalie said...

I love all 3 of those tips! I use them all.

Theresa Milstein said...

Katie, I agree with all of these. Our eyes are meant to look at paper - not a computer screen. Finding time to read aloud is difficult, but well worth it. And I ALWAYS have someone else go through it before I consider it done.

Lisa, I never thought of doing that. I recently read an agents posts recommending that someone else read your work aloud, which isn't realistic for more than small bits. The computer would get around that problem.

Terresa said...

Fab tips!!