Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 12, 2009

14 Proofreading Tips

Some people are really good at proofreading their manuscripts.  The little errors jump right out at them.  For some reason, I’m not in that group.  I need to work hard to pick up all those nasty little devils.  Here are some tips for writers like me.  I’d be interested in hearing things that work for you.

  1. Use your spell checker and grammar checker as a first pass.
  2. Print out your manuscript and read it.
  3. After you read your manuscript silently, read it again aloud.
  4. Read slowly.
  5. Have others read it.
  6. Some people say read it backwards, because it helps pick up misspelled words.  I’ve never tried this, but I’m very interested to hear if any of you have tried this technique.  Did you find it helpful?  Some also, suggest reading it upside down.  I’ve not tried this one either.
  7. Place a blank piece of paper over each page and slowly reveal the text as you proofread.
  8. Read one word at a time, pointing at each with your finger.
  9. Keep a list of your most common errors and proof for those mistakes separately.
  10. Flag places where you question if a word or sentence is correct.
  11. If you can talk a friend into helping you, give them a copy of your manuscript and print out a copy for yourself. Take turns reading it aloud to each other. While one reads, the other one follows along to catch any errors and marks awkward-sounding phrases.
  12. Double check little words: “or,” “of,” “it,” and “is” since they are often interchanged.
  13. Check to make sure your character names are correct.  It is easy to miss a name change that you made during a revision.
  14. Double check chapter numbers and page numbers, because it is very easy to miss the little things.

Kathy


Responses

  1. Good ideas for proofreading, whenever I go back and look over my work I’ll do my best to incorporate as many as possible! Thank you!

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    • Thanks for leaving a comment. Let me know if you try one and it works or doesn’t work for you.

      Kathy

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  2. I find that reading out loud works the best for me. Especially with children’s materials.

    How does one read upsidedown??

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  3. I am also curious about this reading upside down thing.
    I always read my galleys backwards and it helps tremendously. usually I ask someone else to proof my manuscripts. I’m generally too exhausted from writing it to look at it again, though by the time the galleys come around it’s months later, so I can look at it with fresh eyes.

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  4. I don’t think there’s a one of these tips that wasn’t taught me by the nuns in first grade! :o) I don’t claim to be perfect by any means, but I will say, the nuns provided an exceptional education in spelling and grammar from a very early age. One of the places that makes itself obvious is in proofreading.
    And reading out loud really helps tremendously in writing children’s books. It’s a great tip.
    Jeanne

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  5. […] Top Twelve 2009 Posts 14 Proofreading Tips […]

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