No matter how good your creative writing is, if it’s full of misspellings and errors it’s going to be unreadable. Good proofreading is the key to getting your work read and shared by others. Do you feel like you need to brush up on your skills? No problem. Read on for some of the best techniques you can use in your own proofreading routine.
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Thanks to Margaret for last Friday’s post – the point that she makes about letting your work ‘rest’ before sending it out to publishers is a really important one.
It’s amazing how many flaws you’ll spot when you come back to it after a break. You’re seeing it with a fresh pair of eyes (and probably more objectively). It’s not just about the plot and structure of your novel/short story but also whether your characters look and behave in a consistent way. It’s about the style – picking up on problems in grammar, spelling and punctuation – and making sure that what is clear to you is clear to your reader without over-explaining anything or patronising them. Read the rest of this entry »
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Okay, here we are, just twelve days in and it feels like the new year was months ago. How are your resolutions getting on? Mine are … just about alive. I did two workouts last week, though I lapsed when it came to the chocolate. Writing came off best – I managed some time on fiction every day, writing or editing (research doesn’t count).
I’ve been working on a short story which, some of you may recall, came out of missing a competition deadline back in November. It’s called ‘The Little People,’ and I’m now at the ‘whittling’ stage – shaving out words, shifting, checking and tidying things up so that, hopefully, it’ll become a publishable manuscript.
So, as much for myself as anyone else, here’s some handy hints to spruce up your scribblings: Read the rest of this entry »
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Back in the 1970s something strange happened in British schools – they stopped the formal teaching of grammar. Why? Well, not being a linguist … I’m not absolutely sure. All I know is that, having left school in 1979 with a very sketchy knowledge of the subject, it’s caused me a number of problems over the years. Read the rest of this entry »
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If you’re looking for a change of career and you have a keen eye for the smaller details, then working as a freelance proofreader might be just what you’re looking for. But do you really have what it takes? Here are some of our top tips for new starters!
It goes without saying that if you’re going to be proofing someone else’s work, your grammar and spelling need to be flawless. We all make mistakes, but as a proofreader you would be being paid to correct them, so it’s your job to make sure the finished product is absolutely perfect.
If you’re a little bit rusty when it comes to spelling and grammar rules – don’t worry! Our Proofreading and Copy-editing course includes a refresher in all the things you might have forgotten. It’s also worth investing in a good dictionary and an up-to-date grammar textbook, just to be sure. The first rule of proofreading is to check your work twice as carefully as you would any other piece of writing.
Any writer or proofreader will tell you that there’s more to the job than just scanning a final draft for the odd typo. Proofreading requires some serious concentration, and if you’re working from home then that might not be as easy as it sounds. If you had visions of getting your morning’s work done while you watch the news and help the kids get ready for school then think again – proofreading is a job that requires your full attention, so make yourself a productive workplace and keep things as quiet as you can.
We advise minimising distractions as much as possible, so that means no phone, no internet and definitely no TV! If you absolutely can’t work in silence, try listening to some music – preferably something without lyrics.
Finally, when it comes to finding your first clients, don’t be afraid to do a bit of work for nothing – it’s a great way to build contacts and secure some experience. Volunteering your skills might seem like a lot of hard work for no return to begin with, but it shows that you are pro-active and that you’re willing to work hard for your success, and this will get you a great reputation in the industry. To start with, try contacting non-profit organisations and charities to see if they have any advertising materials or leaflets that you could proofread for them. Most would be more than happy to offer a good reference and a recommendation in exchange for a job well done.
So, if you’ve been thinking about starting your career as a freelance proofreader, there’s no time like the present! With a bit of time and some hard work, you could soon find yourself with the job you always dreamed of.
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