Proofreading A Novel

Being asked to proofread someone else’s novel is a scary and flattering task. #writetip I’ve been asked to do this, and I started thinking about what this means.

I asked the author and myself the following questions:

What is the author looking for? Does he want comments on punctuation and grammar, characters, or plot line.

Does he use a style guide that I should consult?

What are my own talents? Being honest here is important. Can you pick up typos? Or does your eye easily breeze over them?

Do I have the time? It’s a big commitment to review a manuscript. It deserves my full attention. The author has spent many hours creating the manuscript, and it’s better to say no to reading than to rush through it.

With that said, I’d better get focussed and start reading.


2 thoughts on “Proofreading A Novel

  1. Proofing is really hard especially if the novel is good. The better the novel, the easier it is to breeze over something you should have caught as a typo. If a scene is tense, and well-written, you might read faster and read right over a comma that is supposed to be a period, or a mis-spelled word. Even worse, a boring novel will make you want to skim. Its a daunting task! Good luck


    1. Jennifer, This is a great reminder to read a scene several times when proofreading. Once for the story, once for obvious errors, and once for a detailed look at each character (meaning letter or punctuation mark – not person) on the page. It is daunting, but fun too, I think. The level of proofreading required could also depend on the stage the novel is at. Is it just about to be submitted to an agent, or is it a first draft. Thanks for the good wishes.


Thank you for commenting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s