Friday, April 16, 2010

The Importance of Proofreading

Before I truly begin, I want to clarify that I'm an editor of two different things. The Oddville Press offers me the opportunity to edit pieces that are close to perfect, meaning they generally require light editing. Sorean Magazine is staffed, so if a journalist hands me a piece that needs to be re-written, I have to go at it like a college professor advising a student on how to make something better. And just because I ask a staff member to re-write something does not mean he or she is a bad writer. I used to write for The Xtreme section where the editor told me that she's had occasions where she sent in pieces to her editor, who later told her that piece needed to be re-done. I also help to edit the fiction pieces, which are probably my favorite since I aspire to be a novel editor--that, and I am a passionate fiction writer.

In any case, what I'm about to talk about not only applies to people who are writers on magazines with staffs, but to all of us.

Regardless of how many people have beta read your stuff, you yourself need to proofread before sending your writing off to anyone to be read--beta reader, editor, it doesn't matter. You would be amazed at what a good proofread could do. A good proofread can take care of a lot of problems and make your beta reader's (or editor's or agent's) life a lot easier. They can then concentrate on what they need to be concentrating on, and that is the soul of your story or article. They shouldn't have to drown in a sea of typos or blatant grammar errors.

Let me stress that editors are not here to write your things for you. We are here to aid in the process of writing and make suggestions. That is all. We do not expect you to be flawless, but we want you to understand grammar. All writers need to know grammar, and if you think you don't, you're sorely mistaken. I will and do reject stories on the basis of grammar, because grammar can make a story unreadable if the flaws are so blatant they pull you out of the story.

So, please, please, please, please, please proofread anything before sending if off to anyone.


  1. Great advice.

    I swear I have gremlins living in my computer. I'll make a change, save it, and the next days it's wrong again. ;)

  2. That happened to me once on the computer in my room. I'd change everything, save it, and right in front of my eyes it'd switch back. I had no idea how to fix it until dad got me a new keyboard. Don't know how that fixed it, but it did.

  3. I am agreed that taking the time to do that helps us to avoid mistakes. We may also allow someone else to proofread our work as this will help us find errors that we might have ignored.
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