Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Though the painful sentiment often rings true in some respects, we believe that Hemingway left out a large part of the novel-writing equation – editing and proofreading!
As part of our book publishing services, Dorrance Publishing offers pre-press editorial services that include mechanical editing. Through this service, an editor will perform a copy edit of your book to correct errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and subject-verb agreement.
However, it never hurts to do some editing on your own to ensure that your story is being told exactly as you want it to be. With that being said, here are some useful tips that you can use to proofread your novel.
Print it – Sometimes it’s best to print a copy of your draft so that you can have it right in front of you. A hard copy gives you an opportunity to make line-by-line edits and to write down questions that you may have along the way. Also, when you have a physical copy of your novel, you’re able to make marks on consistency or style. As a note, make sure that your printed draft is double-spaced, which offers ample room for you to make edits and comments. Last but not least, number your pages so you can easily reorganize if your pages were to get mixed up.
Use your voice – Though it may sound like an unusual and time-consuming approach to writing your novel, reading your words aloud can help you notice inconsistencies in your story. You’ll also be more apt to notice typos and misplaced words that your brain has skipped over when reading the words on the page. In the end, reading your book out loud gives you a more precise understanding of the rhythm and pace of your sentences and paragraphs.
An eye for editing – Once you are in the proofreading and editing mode, it’s important to keep an eye out for common mistakes that you make when writing. During this practice, you’ll notice that you might tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Keep track of those errors and work on avoiding them in the future. Recording your errors is a great way to refine your craft and to grow as a writer.
Proofreading and editing your novel is the final and integral stage of the writing process. This step helps you to spot any inconsistencies in your story (or your storytelling!) that may have slipped through the cracks.