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Monday, July 14, 2014

Sometimes it's better to not read your new book. But LOOK at it closely

Here's an important proofreading tip I discovered the hard way: after you've read your new masterpiece 183 times, sit a bit farther back from your computer screen and LOOK at the pages -- don't read them.

You'll probably be amazed at all of the errors you detect when you are not concerned with content, meaning and story-telling artistry.

I aim my eyes at the nine-o'clock position and make a clockwise scan on each page, but do what works best for you.

Check your book for these bloopers:
  1. Wrong typefaces, particularly when text is pasted-in from another source
  2. Commas that should be periods -- and vice versa
  3. Straight punctuation that should be curly "typographers' marks"
  4. Curlies that curl in the wrong direction
  5. Missing spaces between paragraphs or sections (!!!!!!)
  6. Flush-left justification that should be full justification
  7. Bad justification in the last line of a page
  8. Chopped-off descenders where you decreased line spacing (leading) or if the bottom of a text box is too close to the text
  9. Wrong-size bullets
  10. Rivers
  11. Too-big word spacing
  12. Normal letters that should be ligatures (more for large type than in body text).
  13. Accidental spaces after bullets
  14. Improper hyphenation
  15. Misaligned numbers in a list
  16. Roman text that should be italic, and vice versa
  17. Normal text that should be boldface, and vice versa 
  18. Ignoring highlighted warnings in MS Word.(!!!!!!)
  19. Automatically accepting MS Word suggestions (!!!!!!)
  20. Gray text that should be black.
  21. Insufficient space adjacent to images
  22. Images or text boxes that floated over the margin.
  23. Images or text boxes that 'slid' down and covered up footers
  24. Missing periods at sentence ends (!!!!!!)
  25. Missing opening or closing quote marks.
  26. Periods that should be inside a closing parentheses -- or outside
  27. Repeated words (!!!!!!)
  28. Wrong headers, missing headers, switched verso and recto headers
  29. Subheads that are too close to the text above and too far from the text below
  30. Too much space between lines in a multi-line title, chapter name or subhead
  31. Inconsistencies such as 3pm on one page and 3 P.M. on another.
  32. Pages with numbers that should not show numbers (blind folios)
  33. Words that shifted from the bottom of one page to the top of the next page
  34. And one that does require reading: chapter names and page numbers in the table of contents that don't reflect a change made in the actual chapter name
  35. And another: chapters missing from the TOC.
  36. And another: a topic not in the index because you added something after completing the index
  37. And another: words that should have been deleted but were not, and may have accidentally been shifted into another part of a paragraph
  38. And another: names that were changed in some places but not in all places (!!!!!!)
(Eye photo from Microsoft. Thanks.)

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