Proofreading-- it's tougher than it looks. The eye naturally fills in what the brain expects to see. I find that the best way to prevent that from happening is to read my work out loud. Unfortunately, that usually doesn't work as well if I'm reading to myself as it does if I'm reading to someone else.
Enter my friend Jane. Oh, the trial of being Anny's friend! With infinite patience she walks around her house, loading the dishwasher or cooking or whatever else she has to do with the phone tucked under her ear, listening to me drone on and on as I read my work in progress. There is very little that I've written that she hasn't heard the first reading.
I can usually gauge how on-track I am by the number of times she calls on God as I'm reading. I know I'm in big trouble if there's complete silence on the other end, though I admit that doesn't happen often.
Then I send my work off to my critique partners who have a look at it. While they're not necessarily looking for typos, they do notice those words that give an entirely new meaning to the sentence when they're misspelled or unfortunately located. You know--the type of sentences that end up on e-mails comprised of funny bloopers.
Then I go back through the work. There are things to check. I have my list of "favorite" words. Deep, that, just, abruptly, all of a sudden, sigh, frown...words that I use over and over and over.
I put the story aside for a week and then read it again. It's discouraging to admit that I find more errors. I've discussed the odd errors I've found in other authors' books after they were released. Frankly, based on my own experience, I think it's a miracle if a book reaches publication error free. But that doesn't prevent me from trying.
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