Monday, February 4, 2013

Tricks For Proofreading Your Digital Manuscript

I read a blog recently where the established author had received her galleys--the final version of a soon-to-be published novel which the author must proofread for one last time.  She was concerned because she’d always received paper copies, but this galley was digital.  

She wasn’t comfortable working on the computer screen so she had the book printed out.  

All five of my novels have been digital galleys so here’s some of my tricks for proofing digital copy.  It works just as well when you proof your work in progress.

Use text to speech, all computers come with it, to have your computer read it aloud.  In the preferences, set the talking speed a bit faster than usual so you won't lose focus.  Use a voice that doesn't lull you to sleep.

Change the font and text size.  Make it much bigger than normal so those misplaced commas really stand out.  If you begin to skim, change the size again.  

If you see examples of lines shorter than they should be because of a misplaced paragraph break, make the text much bigger and scroll the manuscript slowly to look for other examples.  This is often caused by someone's software putting a paragraph break at the end of each page.

If the galley or your software puts in hyphens and word breaks for a neat presentation, do a search for vestigial hyphens.  NEVER USE THE HYPHEN FEATURE ON ANY MANUSCRIPT YOU ARE WORKING ON.

If you have an ereader, transfer your book to it.  The different screen makes mistakes more noticeable.  

Take breaks.

Don’t leave the edits to the last moment.

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