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
As 2015 draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about my New Years Resolutions. Apart from the usual eat healthy, drink less and exercise more, my top resolutions have to be to write more and blog regularly.
With that in mind, I decided to look through my posts of 2015. I have only been blogging for about 6 months and amongst my 40 odd posts I wanted to share my favourites aimed at aspiring writers and indie authors. Click the links to read the posts in full.
I summarised my Top Tips for New Writers, ranging from attending evening classes, using beta readers and professional services in My Top Ten Tips for New Writers
Ready to proof read your novel? Use my Proof Read Top 10 checklist to give you a head start.
For those who plan to self publish in 2016, I’ve shared my tips on How to Survive Publication Day and The things I wish I’d done before Publication Day to help your publishing experience go smoothly.
For me 2015 has been a year of learning lots of new skills, of frustration when things haven’t gone to plan, but ultimately I’m left with a great deal of satisfaction knowing I’ve achieved one of my biggest dreams – publishing my first novel as an ebook and paperback.
I hope to publish my second novel next year and to continue building my author profile as well as reaching new readers and writers. I’m planning a blog tour in early 2016 and my Goodreads Giveaway (which closes 14th Feb 2016) is already attracting attention.
The world of indie publishing is full of opportunities and I look forward to the new challenges 2016 throws my way.
Bring on January 2016, I’m ready for you!
I have to admit that I’m easily distracted from writing. Usually it’s editing, I just can’t let go. And then there’s the mundane tasks of everyday life – cooking and cleaning (well perhaps more thinking about doing these things rather than the actual execution of them). In the evening I can be tempted away from the laptop by the promise of an action packed film, and as the cold nights draw in I’m partial to a bath, a book and an ice cream.
Now I find myself with a whole new level of distraction. Poppy, the lunatic kitten has been with us 5 days and is taking over. As I type this she is stalking my fingers. And she keeps dashing across the keyboard so I constantly have to delete her additions to my work. This kitten needs a time out or a naughty step.
The final part of proofreading my novel has also been given the Poppy treatment – she’s either attacking the pages or stealing my pen. Maybe she thinks she can do a better job!
At least the proofing is finally done; the read through part anyway. It turned into a bit of an editing exercise, I just can’t help myself.
When I next get the chance, I shall make the final few changes to the novel. The word count will go down by at least a few hundred. It’s amazing how many small changes can be made, even after extensive editing by myself, beta reads by writing friends and professional editing.
Now is the point where I have to call it a day. To finish it, before it finishes me. This novel has been a bit like a naughty child or kitten. It’s given me years of grief and sleepless nights, but it’s grown into something I’m proud of and I can’t wait to share it with the world, though I’m sure a lot more sleepless nights are still to follow.
Poppy is finally asleep, so I guess it’s time to start tackling those changes.
Since I started proofreading my novel last week, I’ve managed to finish editing a short story so it’s ready to send to competitions, edit a flash fiction piece which is also ready to submit when I’ve found the right title, and write two new flash fiction pieces. I’ve also got plans to revisit two short stories that received very helpful critiques from Writer’s Forum. Finally, it gave me the idea for this short blog, so I really think I should proofread more often.
The kids are back at school today and apart from feeling a little nervous for them, I’m also feeling nervous about the task I have set myself; to proofread 153k words before self publishing later this year. I’ve printed my Proof Read Top 10 checklist (with a couple of additions from other writers) and have everything set up ready.
Now its time to shut down the internet, disconnect the phone and escape into the summerhouse.
Wish me luck!