Monday, September 23, 2013

Bird on Proofreading

Nigel Bird (How to Choose a Sweetheart, Mr. Suit) offers up twelve suggestions for better proofreading at Sea Minor. Excerpt:
Before starting, I'd like to thank the people who've been incredibly generous with their help, support and advice on proof reading.

Not only have I had lists of corrections that were sent at double-quick time ... but I've had ideas and suggestions that I'm going to take forward with me with my next publication.

Some of them I've seen and used before (and clearly forgotten) and others are new to me.

Essentially, the message is the same. Proof-reading is painful, hard-work, difficult and mundane, but it's also vital to what we do as writers. The pudding really is in the proof -- a pie with a soggy bottom really shouldn't be served up outside of the family (thankfully, my family are the only ones I ever cook for!).

Here is a summary of the advice I was given. If it's old-hat to you, I don't think there's anything lost in being reminded.
Read the whole thing. What surprised me about Bird's list was how fresh most of his proofing ideas proved. Sure, we all know that we ought to be patient and that beta readers are extremely useful. But I'd never before thought to use Word Talk or Kindle Speech and listen to it or to go for a root-and-branch review of each sentence. There's no shortcut for sweat when it comes to dotting each "i" and crossing every "t," but such suggestions can certainly make you more effective at doing so.

(Picture: CC 2012 by Jenny Kaczorowski)

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