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The Toothpaste Fiend

any tips on proofreading? I really, really suck at it.

8/9/2008 #1

I have always found it difficult as well so I know how you feel. I try to do it in a lot of different ways so that what I miss on one pass I get on another.

1) Just read the words and syntax, ignore the content. Good for typos.

2) Spellchecker. I always add any of my special words or names to my dictionaries.

3) Bottom up. Taking each paragraph as almost a standalone.

4) Just read. This can be a tough one but I always try to read and even say, or think, the lines to myself. This is particularly important for dialogue. If it does not feel right when you say it perhaps it needs some work.

5) Print it. A lot of people skip this step but looking at the words printed somehow makes it easier for me to look for problems.

Hope some of that helps.



8/9/2008 #2

I'd try to read each word out in terms of typos or related. Try to read clearly too. If you read in your mind, often than not you assume the words you intented it to be and the mistake remains. Just try to be careful and read it clearly.

Yeah, besides that the obvious spellchecker and grammar checker are nice. Although they aren't always right, at least it'll increase your awareness.

8/9/2008 #3
aka Providence

Read it to yourself. Nothing better to find all the mistakes with the sound of your voice.

8/10/2008 #4
aka Providence

Or have some else read it to you.

8/10/2008 #5

Maybe you can have someone else read it and make corrections/suggestions. Maybe you know someone who likes to proofread (we exist - my favorite part of writing is proofing/revising what I've already written!)

1/2/2010 #6

Split the story up first -- into its respective scenes (if it isn't already split up). Read once through leisurely (noting anything that you find weird as you go along). Rereading it again and this time, do it in detail, with a focus. I usually read more than twice per scene (probably 3-4 times). That's what i do when i beta writes ( just suggesting in case it comes in handy for proofreading).

I usually look out for repeated words (repetition sensitive), grammar (if the person's grammar is completely horrible, i usually don't beta this part because i don't really have that good a command of the english language), spelling (normally not checking for this because there are different ways to spell some of the words, and also, they write it in word doc most of the time, so there usually won't be a problem on spelling), Long sentences (there're usually more mistakes on longer sentences), coherency between paragraphs (see if the paragraphs link), flow of idea (sometimes the writer might be too excited in writing that they forget they're jumping or skipping through their scenes). That's basically what I do when I beta.

Hope it helps/ works for proofreading too.

11/12/2010 #7

One of the main things I do for proofreading is to print a hard copy of what I've written and read it again. I usually pick out stuff that is worded oddly or misspelled or find grammar errors that way. I also find that reading it aloud can help too.

11/22/2010 #8
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