Writers Tricks of the Trade Volume 7, Issue 4 Winter 2018 - Page 30
T HE I MPORTANCE OF P ROOFREADING (C ONT ’ D )
extra letter or word. Think how many people interchange words like then and than and in-
sure and ensure to name a few. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a friend like that, do
ask someone else to read your work, or even enlist two friends. If all that fails, let it get cold
and then read it again. It is amazing how nasty typos and misused words seem to jump off the
paper, daring you to spot them once the manuscript isn’t fresh out of the printer. Some au-
thors simply don’t understand why writer’s groups, conferences, and writing teachers empha-
size having a manuscript proofread and professionally edited if possible before submitting it.
As it stands, with the volumes of manuscripts received every day by agents and publishers,
poor formatting or obvious sloppy work habits are enough to earn an invitation to the waste
basket on the way to the dumpster.
It is also important to try to keep editing and proofreading separate. When you are editing
an early draft for content, that’s when you really must focus on developing and connecting
ideas and monitoring the flow of the piece. If you find spelling or punctuation errors during
that phase, by all means fix them. But once you have what you presume is a final manuscript,
plan on doing a read-through for proofreading without focusing on content. It is sometimes
very hard to do both at one time because one is creative and the other is “nuts and bolts.”
If you are self publishing, order as many generations of printed proofs as needed. Read it
carefully, correct all errors, then order another proof until you are satisfied that you have
caught as much as possible. Then, and only then, approve it for publication.
W INTER 2018
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W RITERS ’ T RICKS OF THE TRADE