You’ve just finished spending long hours on your manuscript and you’ve typed in, “The End.” You are now ready to send your beauty off the publisher and become famous.
Not so fast!
I must now whisper a hated word to you. Proofread!
This is one of the final steps before you send your baby away. Yes, an editor will proofread your manuscript once it has been accepted, and horrors, get back to you with recommended changes. But before you send it away you want to make certain you have done everything you can to bring it to perfection. This means proofreading it again one final time.
On the positive, a properly proofread manuscript probably has a far better chance to be accepted by a publisher. And no, you still won’t catch every one of your errors at this stage.
Proofreading comes after you have made your own editorial changes. You’ve cleaned up the plot holes so the story makes sense, now you are on the lookout for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. Even though you may use a spell and grammar checker as you write, these little devils still can slip through. If you have the stamina at this stage you can watch out for those items you know an editor will pounce on. You will probably get lists of these once you have an accepted manuscript and an assigned editor.
Watch out for run-on sentences, passive sentences, and over-used words that editors hate such as, had or that.
Tricks to help you proofread:
I increase the size of the page when I proofread and often when I’m in the creating mode to the 120% to 125% range. It must feel comfortable for you.
Some like complete silence when they proof, others swear by background music.
Don’t try to do the entire manuscript all at once and remember to take frequent breaks to ease the strain on tired backs and re-focus eyes on longer distances.
When in doubt, look it up. You may have to refer to an actual paper reference such as a large dictionary or thesaurus.
This morning I was doing my final proofreading of the eighth novella in my Housetrap Chronicles fantasy detective series. This project has been bouncing around for several months as I wrapped up other projects and it was with some relief I sat down today with the intent of doing the final proof.
Horrors! I’ve already discovered serious formatting errors due to the time elapsed between some segments, not to mention some plot holes, and an entire scene I intended to write that I omitted, leaving a character dangling.
I think I’d better take a deep breath, lay this project aside, and wait for a rainy day. Too many other things to do before fall turns to snow.
The Dark Lady Trilogy (Volume 1,2,3)The Queen’s Pawn (Volume 1,2,3)
The Housetrap Chronicles (Volume 1 to 7)
Alex in Wanderland,
We’re Not in Kansas
Toltec Dawn (Book 1 of 3)