Thursday, October 9, 2014


Proofreading is an important step before submitting your book, your report, your synopsis or even just an important email.

An author may be part of a wonderful crit group and be certain there are no consistency errors, POV mistakes or plot holes. But there are still likely to be annoying spelling or grammatical errors that spell check won’t find, and the human eye tends to gloss over. Competent readers tend to see the word they expect to see, which makes it harder to find glitches.

It’s very easy to write a run-on sentence when the book is full of drama and action. But the proofreader slows down her reading to ensure clauses match and modifyers aren’t left dangling. She also checks for comma splices and sentence fragments and other nitty gritty things that may antagonize a reader and take the shine off an otherwise good book/document.

In the olden days a professional proofreader read a document from the bottom of the page to the top. That way the eye isn’t misled into thinking it’s seeing what it assumes will come next. The brain has to actually read the sentence properly.
Another trick is to print out and read a digital document in hard copy, or to scan a hard copy document into the computer and read it electronically. Changing the format helps the brain to engage.

Whatever means you use, do ensure your important document or book is given this final polish before sending it into the world.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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