Friday, January 8, 2010

Proofreading Woes

I've nearly finished it! Yes, The Alpheli Solution (tentative title) is nearing completion. I've explained my writing/revision process several times in the past. Theoretically when I finish typing "The End", that should be it. Right?

Well, no. Proofreading is both the easiest and most difficult part about writing. Easy because you're not actually writing anything. Difficult because the eyes insist on seeing what your brain tells them should be on the page--whether it's there or not.

I find most of my errors by reading my writing out loud, to my hapless, trapped neighbor over the phone. She's captive audience who patiently sits through my reading and correcting. Maybe she's reading a magazine while I drone on. Goodness knows she's had enough practice that she can now mutter the appropriate responses in her sleep.

All writers have some form of editing they do. Some are pickier than others. The easiest form of proofreading is to go through the document, checking all the words that have squiggly red or green lines under them. After all the corrections are made, then it's time to check for those words you use over and over and over. (My favorites shift with every book, but some past winners were that, just, deep/deeper, and then.

Check for proper usage on the tricky words: they're/their/there, your/you're, peek/peak, bare/bear, shutter/shudder. I once read a book where the heroine repeatedly "shuttered" while in the throes of ecstasy. Um, there's another one--throes/throws.

Then there are all the times you actually meant your, but left the r off so you end up with you. That's a biggie with me. I call it my brain freeze error.

If you've changed a character's name halfway through the story, don't forget to double check that you changed every single mention. You'd be surprised how many books arrive at the stores with heroines with more than one name.

If you're like me and you make up words, then you have to make sure that word is spelled the same every single time. In my current work in progress, one of the key words is alpheli. I added it to my personal dictionary in the beginning. That makes it easier for me to spot when it's misspelled.

Proofreading is best done in several stages. Out loud. Printed. On the computer screen.

And I'll still miss something!



  1. Yep, proofreading is a bear, no getting around it!

  2. You are ALMOST THERR! YAY! I love this story, btw. As to proofreading, I like to read things aloud too. Feels weird at first but dang is it ever helpful.

  3. Never thought of myself as "hapless" nor "trapped". Prefer to think of myself as being entertained and treated to a preview of what is to come (until it changes and I hear a new twist). And, NO, I do not read magazines while you read to me - I pay attention with great anticipation. You've never left me bored.

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. I am convicnced no matter how many times you check you'll always stuff something up so why worry?

  5. Proofreading is time-consuming, but necessary. I'm notorious for having a few favorite words that I use over and over and over...well, you get the idea. *g*