For writers, their work is like a precious child. With love and care, they put all their thoughts down in the form of words for the world to read. And sometimes, when the mind takes over, the hands make mistakes. This usually happens when the writer’s brain goes in to override and his or her hands cannot keep up. These unintentional mistakes decrease the quality of work and need to be eliminated. (Want to become a writer? Here is all you need!)
Proofreading is the process of eliminating and correcting text from a manuscript. It is an important part of publishing. Proof reading is done to eliminate any aberrations that might have occurred during the process of writing. It is a tough job and requires the proof reader to go over every line with a fine toothed comb may be even several times.
It is done to:
- Edit typos.
- Correct grammatical errors.
- Reduce word count.
- Polish the final work.
Here are 7 effective tips to help you get proofreading right:
- Take a break:
There is no point in editing your work immediately after writing. It’s always better to proofread after completion and more importantly when you have taken a break from the process of writing itself. So, if you feel the need to edit your work then first go for a walk or watch T.V. or listen to some music, this will help you clear your mind.
2. No distractions:
Unlike while trying to take a break, watching T.V. or listening to music while editing is a no-no. Proofreading requires complete attention and anything which might distract you, like your phone, radio, T.V. etc should be cast aside.
3. Use a spell checker:
This is one of the most basic tools while proofreading. By using a spellchecker you are reducing the work load of going through all the spellings manually. It saves time and also gives fairly good result. But it isn’t a hundred percent effective. So, it is always better to cross check the spelling manually as well.
4. Weed out grammatical errors:
In any manuscript, grammatical errors kill the joy of reading even more than spelling mistakes. Hence it becomes very important to check the tense, punctuations, apostrophes and contractions. These errors change the way a sentence is read and for proper effect need to be removed. Another thing to watch out for is homonyms.
5. Read it out loud:
This is one of the most effective tips. When reading out loud you can identify the grammatical errors and also correct the flow and tone of the sentence if necessary. This weeds out any unwanted material and improves the quality of narration.
6. Take your time:
Proofreading is a tedious job. It requires focus, determination, time and also immense patience. When you try and hurry through the process of proofreading you will leave mistakes behind, which will in the end reduce the standard of the book, hence it should be done at the end when there is nothing else occupying your time.
7. Get your friends to help you:
When you think you have done all you can to proofread your manuscript hand it over to a friend who might be willing to help you out. By doing this you are increasing the chances of eliminating all the mistakes. By giving it to a friend, you can also get them to review it for you and use their input to improve your work.
A writer’s work is their pride and joy and it deserves to shine in the world, all it needs, is some polishing in the form of proofreading.