Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Proofreading Epiphany Revealed

Proofreading Epiphany Revealed

If you don’t dread the final technical edit of your manuscript before submission for publication, perhaps you should.

If you work with a proofreader or copy editor, your level of concern about “your/you, a/as,” etc., the now extra words you missed deleting when you revised that lame sentence into a wordsmithed gem, and other gaffs that lower the level of professionalism in you manuscript may be much lower than mine is.

If, however, you are that final technical editor—along with author, content editor, etc.—for your books, you probably feel my pain.

I described a trick I stumbled upon that helped me find several of those issues earlier in my booklet, Book Creation – Volume 2 – A Science Guy’s Exploration of Publishing Resources. Today’s blog is a short and hopefully sweet description of another serendipitous proofreading tip.

When I write, I have paragraph marks, section and page breaks, and spaces between words all visible. In MSWord, you can find this icon (¶) in the top menu bar. That’s a toggle switch between showing/hiding those markings. I usually hide those marks when I’m doing the technical edit.
What I’ve found over time is that, even if I wait a week or more between my last revision and the technical edit, I’m still so close to the text, that my brain often sees what’s supposed to be in the text—not what actually is.

Try this.

Switch the page magnification about every ten pages or so while looking for technical fixes.

I’ve found that periodically changing the size of the page between 150% and 250% causes my brain to re-adjust enough that typos and extra words are much more quickly spotted. It's amazing how obvious awful most of those errors look when they pretty much fill your computer monitor!

Above is a screenshot of part of a page of the technical edit I'm working on on April 13. I've highlighted an offending extra word in red.

Next blog: Emoting on Editing

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