Thursday, August 16, 2012

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. Bad justification in the last line of a page
  7. Chopped-off descenders where you decreased line spacing (leading) or if the bottom of a text box is too close to the text
  8. Wrong-size bullets
  9. Rivers
  10. Too-big word spacing
  11. Normal letters that should be ligatures (more for large type than in body text).
  12. Accidental spaces after bullets
  13. Improper hyphenation
  14. Roman text that should be italic, and vice versa
  15. Ignoring highlighted warnings in MS Word.
  16. Automatically accepting MS Word suggestions
  17. Gray text that should be black.
  18. Insufficient space adjacent to images
  19. Images or text boxes that floated over the margin.
  20. Images or text boxes that 'slid' down and covered up footers
  21. Missing periods at sentence ends
  22. Missing opening or closing quote marks.
  23. Periods that should be inside a closing parentheses -- or outside
  24. Repeated words
  25. Wrong headers, missing headers, switched verso and recto headers
  26. Subheads that are too close to the text above and too far from the text below
  27. Too much space between lines in a multi-line title, chapter name or subhead
  28. Pages with numbers that should not show numbers (blind folios)
  29. Words that shifted from the bottom of one page to the top of the next page
  30. And one that does require reading: chapter names in the table of contents that don't reflect a change made in the actual chapter name
  31. And another: chapters missing from the TOC.
  32. And another: a topic not in the index because you added something after completing the index
  33. And another: words that should have been deleted but were not, and may have accidentally been shifted into another part of a paragraph
(Eye photo from Microsoft. Thanks.)

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