Friday, October 16, 2015

How To De-stress Your Proofing 

     I'm a slow learner, but I finally learned a valuable lesson that’s saving me a lot of time and hair-pulling.

     Does this sound familiar? You send your manuscript to a copy editor, or first line editor, you get it back and make the suggested changes. Next you send it to a proofer, it comes back, and now this person has you redoing changes the first one had you make! Then, even more annoying, the final proofer doesn’t just look for last-minute errors, she sends it back reversing some of the grammar things one more time!

     It took me four novels to get smart. Now when I send out my manuscript, I include a cheat sheet of my  personal “style” preferences and tell the person doing it that is what I’ve chosen to do and that I have no interest in reinventing my grammar style.My style preferences will be different than yours and you (and anyone working on my manuscripts) may disagree with them. Some of them violate “traditional” thought, or rules, but most are simply a matter of preference. Since there are so many differing opinions on many things grammatical, it makes sense to firm up your own and maintain a consistency in your style.

     As an example, here is the attachment I sent to my proofer: (This is a short list, but I’ve begun to include it when I send out my document. I’m sure it will get longer over time!) Try using one with your own style choices.

Rather than have to repeat corrections, I’m sending you some style prefernces I’ve chosen to do consistently and do not want to change.

         1.  She’d, he’d, who’d, etc. I do use these but try not to have too              many.

2.  TJ’s slang: ings, e.g. thinkin’ if at end of sentence, I put the apostrophe BEFORE the period. Also, the editor’s recommendation was not to add an apostrophe for words like coulda, shoulda, cause, etc.

3.  My editor made me take out almost all semi colons and replace most with dashes, so I prefer to leave them in that way.

4.   I spell email with no hyphen. Both ways are acceptable and I’m using that one consistently, so if you find one I did differently, pls correct it.

5.  I have researched inner dialogue and choose to use no italics or speech tags for them when the POV is obvious.

6.  I use 911, not 9-1-1 as some authors do.

7.  My characters reserve the right to speak in non-perfect grammer.

Dear Readers,

I’ve just begun using this attachment, and my proofer thanked me for including it. Sending your style choices makes their job easier too. I’m almost ready to publish my next ebook and will be sure to add the attachment for my final proofer.
Hope your writing and your life are going well. Till next time,