Sunday, March 6, 2011

Editing and Proofreading

While hard at work on my second novel, I thought I would go back and give the first one a second look. Since I normally edit as I work, I usually don't have a tremendous amount of editing to do upon completion. But, no matter how many times I have corrected and proofed, I still find things I missed.

Before I start each writing session, I read what I wrote in my last session. I proof and edit accordingly for flow. My primary goal when I am writing is to get the completed work on paper (or electronically as is the case now). Once the work is complete, then the real work begins.

I have always done line edits and always from a hard copy. Each sentence needs to build the story and propel it to a satisfying conclusion. The best way to "hear" whether something is out of place is to actually read the manuscript aloud. Trust me, one wrong word will make you stop in mid-sentence.

Proofreading it is much more fun. I take the first page of my hard copy and read each word for spelling errors. But, our mind sometimes sees that which is not there. You, as the author, know the story. So, my second step is to take the same page and read it backward. Each word then becomes just a word. It never ceases to amaze me how often I type "the" instead of "them" or "they." Spell check will not pick up the error because the word is not spelled incorrectly - it is the wrong word entirely.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it is well worth it. I want to be proud of each work I put my name on and taking the extra time and putting in the extra effort is what makes a book special.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly about reading out loud. It's hard to know whether you've chosen the right words until you actually hear them.

  2. Sorry I took so long to respond - I'm still reading it out loud. Actually, I love to read my works out loud, because I do pick up words that look great on paper, but when you hear them, they just don't flow. I think it is one of the best ways to proof and edit a work. Nice to know I'm not the only one in a room somewhere, talking to my self (and my characters).