Friday Revisions: Sweating the Details/ Or Why We Need a Proofreader

Over the last week, I needed to polish two short stories.

One of those I thought was as ready as it could get, and the other had undergone umpteen eyes.

But the minute I started the read-aloud session I put my work through before submission, I found not a few mistakes in punctuation, a spell-error, extra spaces.

That reminded me of my proofreading days. I used to work for an educational publication as the person who would okay the book before it went to print. I read it at a go, identified inconsistencies and the sort of errors I mentioned above. I used to decide if the book was go or stop—-I had stopped quite a few errors in my time from leaking into print.

I still do proofreading for friends.

How did I miss those glaring proofread errors in my own work?

A few things come to mind:

-I was too involved in the bigger picture to sweat the details
-My brain self edited the work as it was read…I had read it a dozen times already
-I was too subjective, we writers can never be totally objective about our own babies
-I had simply become lax, it happens if you’re out of professional practice

As I see publishing budgets slashed all over the place, I wonder if there would still be a place left for proofreaders…and it scares me.

If you’re a writer, do you get someone (professional or qualified) to proofread your work before you begin the subbing process?

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  1. Damyanti

    Anne, reading on paper helps me see more mistakes…
    thanks for your comment 🙂

    Madeline, yes, I find proofreading my own work hard too.

  2. Anne Gallagher

    I have my crit partners for the usual punctuation and spelling errors, but when it's a short story or something small, I change the font and make the print bigger so I can see it in a different way. Usually the mistakes jump out at me.