(Please read to the bottom of the page, but don’t peek.)
So, the question is, ‘Can you proofread your own work?
In my opinion ‘YES’, but from experience… ‘NO’.
There I’ve said it.
It’s a fact.
You/I/We can’t and shouldn’t proofread our own work.
The first promlem is that we see what we expect to sea.
Of course we all like to think that as we are the masters behind the prose; it’s ours, nobody else has the right to correct our opus, but hey, think again. Here’s what happened to me.
I took the head staggers one evening around 8.30pm having just been delivered a plot in my screwed up head; so I immediately started writing the story. You know, it takes over your life and you just have to get it out there.
It was about a couple checking into a five star hotel and their experience during there stay, with, I might add, a nice little twist at the end. (The twist came first – in my head, that is.)
My method is to start writing, jump down the page with ideas, up again, down again, ending, middle, then beginning again as the ideas start coming from all angles, but I digest.
Just over three hours later I uploaded it with a smile on my face.
The next day, I had some comments.
First couple of comments on the piece had me jumping up and down with excrement.
Third comment was still full of praise, but pointed out that there were mistakes.
Fourth comnent was the same as the third.
I read it again, but could I find any mistakes? Well yes actually, two of them. When I converted from Word into Goodreads I did the proofreading with their little button and it seems to have corrected G&T into ‘G& amp;T’ twice. I could be wrong and maybe it is my mistake, but I checked the Word document and it was correct there. I changed ‘&’ to ‘and’ and that sorted it, but it’s something to watch out for as a lot of social media sites don’t recognise ‘&’.
So… On the assumption that I wasn’t the genius I thought I was, I contacted both of the guys who had commented and asked them (nicely) if they would mind explaining exactly what they had found wrong,
I’ve been on Twitter/Goodreads/Facebook now for a while and found that authors tend to be a friendly bunch, who are very willing to help each other, so it was no big surprise when they both happily agreed to critique my work and send me the results.
One or two mistakes? I wish. Full stops missing, comas instead of semi-colons, quotation marks at the end of speech but none at the start, quotation marks at thoughts, and lots more.
Was I embarrassed?
I felt stupid, but you have to remember that every day is an education.
It’s not only worthwhile to let somebody read your work before you upload it; it should be made compulsory.
I corrected everything pointed out to me and uploaded it again.
For what it’s worth, I find that reading your manuscript out loud is a brilliant way to see if the sentences flow and is also good for finding out where commas go, and, when you do actually take the time to sit down and proofread; you need to do it ‘one sentence’ at a time, then again, only this time read it backwards, then again, this time standing on your head.
Irrespective of everything said above, I’m positive that mistakes will occour again, but until I can afford a proofreading service, I’ll just have to do the best I can.
In any event, providing that there’s not too many spelling mistakes, and the story is a good read, I think that the readers will forgive me/you. It’s not life threatening and as I said at the start, the first two comments were excellent.
A very special thanks from me to the two readers who took the time to point out my mistakes.
Mr. Dan Glover and the late Mr. Rags Daniels.
Mistakes? Yes, I know. They were put there intentionally, but did you get all of them?
An extra full stop after the question mark on the title line
‘Promlem’, instead of ‘problem’
‘Sea’ instead of ‘see’
‘During there stay, instead of ‘during their stay’
‘Digest’, instead of ‘digress’
Seriously? ‘Excrement’ – If you missed that one, go sit in the corner
‘Comnent’, instead of ‘comment’
‘Occour’, instead of ‘occur’
If you found some or all of them, well done. Give yourself a pat on the back/glass of wine/ extra hour in bed. At least you’re on the lookout.
Hate to say it, but if you found some more unintentional ones. Please let me know and I’ll not only correct them, but soak my head in a bucket of cold water.
Have a good one.