Proofreading: The Final Polish
We made it to the end of our February nonfiction knowhow! We’ve looked at editing all the way from high-level story ideas through line-level copyediting. Up this week? The polish. Yep, it’s time to proofread your piece to get it publication-ready.
The purpose of proofreading is to catch errors in grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and formatting. In this post, I’m going to touch on some proofreading tips, as well as highlight the greatest hits of proofing – the types of errors that tend to hang around even after you’ve completed editing and revisions.
Print it out. Proofread from a printed copy of your work, using an editing pencil. Your eye simply won’t catch every error on the screen.
Speak up. Read your piece aloud, slowly. It’s the best way to catch missing and duplicated words.
Go backwards. Read your piece from the bottom up. Our brains tend to automatically correct errors or when we read. Going backwards, you’re focusing on the content in a novel way.
Enlist a friend. After you’ve done multiple drafts and several rounds of edits, sometimes you’re just not able to see mistakes in your own work. Having a fresh set of eyes give your post a once-over before you hit publish is invaluable in catching those final niggling errors.
Greatest Hits of Proofreading:
Verb Tense. The correct verb tense tells your reader at what point in time something occurred in your story. Are you switching in and out of the past and present for no good reason? Are you aware of when you need to use more complex tense forms? If not, a great place to brush up is over at our favorite grammar and writing resource hub, Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).
Number Agreement. Verbs need to agree with their subjects in number. Singular subjects take singular verbs; plural subjects take plural verbs. The biggest mistake here? Indefinite pronouns like “everybody” “no one” and “most” are singular. You can replace them with “it,” “he,” or “she.” They take singular verbs.
Parallel Construction. When you include a list in your sentence, each item in the series must be in the same form. So it’s “She likes hiking, swimming, and biking” – not “She likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bike.” Remember: Stick with lists of all verbs, all nouns, all adjectives, and so on.
Punctuation and Capitalization. You’re a writer. Get The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and hold it close to your heart. Learn the rules for apostrophes, quotation marks, ellipses, hyphens and dashes, commas, and caps. Questions? Another great resource is Mignon Fogerty at Grammar Girl, who provides thorough explanations for the most common grammar conundrums.
Spacing. One space after a period. It’s 2017, people. Read “Nothing Says Over 40 Like Two Spaces After a Period” to learn why.
Spelling. Run spellcheck, please, but don’t rely on it exclusively. Watch out for homonyms (even the best of us can mistype “your” for “you’re” in a hurry), missing letters (public vs. pubic, anyone?), and commonly confused words like effect and affect.
This week, there’s no room for error on the grids. We expect to see polished pieces.
Yeah write super challenge
The third and final round of super challenge #3 is currently underway! Good luck to all of our participants as they eagerly await the results. Did you miss out on registration? Sign up for our email blast so you don’t miss out on any announcements.
Who’s on fourth
This month we invite you to learn more about Ellen over at Baby on a Raft! The interview will publish Monday at 12pm ET, but in the meantime, head over to her page and catch up on all of her awesomeness.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
This month’s nonfiction know-how is a little bit of a throwback. We’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about how to get writing that appeals to your audience onto the page; for Valentine’s Day we’re going to remind you how to show your writing a little additional love. Editing. It’s a task that makes the best of us cringe. We’ve talked about it before, and this month Cindy and Rowan are going to walk you through some specifics with the nonfiction posts and roundups. So what is editing, anyway, and how is it different from writing? Learn more from Rowan here.*
*Come back on Wednesday to find out what’s in store for our nonfiction know-how for March!
Want more info?
Is this your first time here? Check out Sunday’s post which kicked off the week here at yeah write. Our email subscribers can also join us in the yeah write coffeehouse at its home on Facebook. If you’ve never taken the time to read them, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. The rules are a little different for each of our challenges and we’d hate to have to send back great writing on a technicality.
Did you happen to end up here because you suddenly saw yeah write in your stats? Sometimes members of our community spot excellent writing and they send those posts on over to us. We hope you don’t mind. Take a look around and get to know our community. We’re sure you’ll be happy here.
How to submit and fully participate in the challenge
Basic yeah write guidelines: 1000 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; nonfiction personal essay, creative opinion piece or mostly true story based on actual events.
1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the nonfiction badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog
Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.
Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]