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.