Proofreading For People Who Hate Proofreading

No joke, I didn’t see the misspelling until I rotated this image.

A literary pal asked for a proofreader for one of his projects, and as a fan of the guy I leapt at the chance.  Editing, I have no experience with, but I can find a mis-spelled homophone like a boss.  (At least when it isn’t my own work I’m proofreading.  *tugs collar*)  Besides, I’ve had considerable help from my own readers, so it’s high time I paid that forward.  And here’s how you can help an author-brother out when you decide to pay it forward.

Read it backwards.  Read the last paragraph first.  This allows you to focus on the words and sentences without becoming distracted by the narrative itself.  You can focus a lot more on the task at hand – rooting out odd punctuation and mis-spelled words and pure grammatical errors – when you read a story this way.  Starting at the end and looking at a story one paragraph at a time triggers different parts of your brain.  You can’t fall into the fugue state in which the story appears in your head as a movie, and so you can’t just skim past words that you’re supposed to be studying.

Believe me, the stories that I proofread were great.  Had I tried to read them from front to back, I’d have gotten three paragraphs in and been so distracted by the fun of the action that I’d have missed the point of the exercise!

About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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