Our Tips for Proofreading Your Own Work
1. Give yourself some space. Writing is a lengthy and demanding process. When you have finally finished, when “The End” is finally there in black and white, put down your pen, close your laptop, shut down your computer, and step away.
- Some distance from your MS will help you spot the mistakes in it when you return.
2. Do more than one proof. Start with an overview and gradually narrow your focus.
- There is no point in spending your time fiddling around with that comma on p.34 until you are sure that there are no continuity errors in the actual plot of your novel!
3. Make the most of your computer applications, especially the spell- and grammar check tools in your word processing programs …
- ... But please also remember that these are not fool proof. They will not pick up words that are used in the wrong context if they are spelled correctly!
4. After you have completed your basic spell- and grammar checks, work from a print out, not from your computer screen (or from your handwritten MS, if you have written your book longhand).
5. Read aloud to yourself.
- That way, you’ll spot the sentences that run on too long (because you’ll be out of breath!); you’ll hear the hitches in your prose; and you will find it easier to spot any errors.
6. Get other people to proof it for you too.
- A fresh pair of eyes might be just the thing that you need to spot the mistakes that you - already so used to reading over your MS - have missed.