I’ve just printed out my novel for the final time. As soon as the kids go back to school next week, I shall lock myself in the summerhouse and set about my final proof read. I’ve read lots of articles on proof reading and done plenty of editing over the years to have come up with a checklist that works for me.
- Use a hard copy (it’s too easy to skip over errors on the computer)
- Read aloud (but make sure the neighbours can’t hear you)
- Read it slowly, word by word (at reading pace your brain skips over words it expects to see and doesn’t pick up the errors)
- Use a ruler or blank page to highlight the line you’re reading (this ensures you don’t get ahead of yourself)
- Keep focused and hydrated by drinking lots of water (this helps keep you awake, and the trips to the toilet provide plenty of short breaks)
- Use a colourful pen to highlight the error, mark the sentence in the margin and fold the corner of the page over (triple insurance against the error being missed when updating on the computer)
- Avoid all distractions (escape from the phone and the internet)
- Keep a notebook handy (make notes of any last minute niggles to sort out)
- The editing should already be done at this point so focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and spacing errors.
- And finally, there’s no harm in resetting the computer spell checker and giving it one last go.
Then it’s ready for the next stage, uploading to Kindle.
Have you got any last minute proof reading tips to share?