Proofreading is one of the hardest stages of writing for me. I love drafting and editing, but to read each word and sentence and analyse it’s components is difficult. It’s too scientific for my creative brain, but an important process that needs to be done before considering publication.
Back in August last year, I devised a checklist to tackle the final proofread of Visions of Zarua. My original post was here.
Looking back, I’m quite pleased with it as a ‘how to’ guide. It worked brilliantly for me, but I do have to warn you that a couple of tiny errors still slipped past this stage (slap wrist). Luckily with KDP & Createspace it’s a simple matter of updating the corrected file and within 24 hours the revised book is on sale. However, we should all aim to produce the best book we possibly can from the start and there really is no excuse for letting those errors slip past. My biggest advice is don’t skim at this stage. Focus and stay alert to stop those pesky mistakes from ruining a readers experience.
Proof reading Top 10 Checklist
- Use a hard copy – it’s too easy to skip over errors on the computer.
- Read aloud – but make sure the neighbours can’t hear you.
- Read it slowly, word by word – at reading pace your brain skips over words it expects to see and doesn’t pick up the errors.
- Use a ruler or blank page to highlight the line you’re reading – this ensures you don’t get ahead of yourself.
- Keep focused and hydrated by drinking lots of water – this helps keep you awake, and the trips to the toilet provide plenty of short breaks.
- Use a colourful pen to highlight the error, mark the sentence in the margin and fold the corner of the page over – triple insurance against the error being missed when updating on the computer.
- Avoid all distractions – escape from the phone and the internet.
- Keep a notebook handy – it’s great to make notes of any last minute niggles you need to sort out.
- The main edit should already have been done at this point so focus on errors with grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and spacing.
- And finally, there’s no harm in resetting the computer spell checker and giving it one last go.
Used with my Editing Search & Destroy Checklist posted during the E challenge, you should catch most of the errors.
Have you got any proofreading tips to share?
Quality close ups I want to share.
Check out previous a-z posts here