How Do You Proofread?

#writetip Proofreading takes intense concentration. Do you have method you’d like to share?

I’m talking about the final proof, after all your readers have given you feedback, you’re not going to make any story changes, and are about to send your manuscript to your agent or publisher.

It takes me about an hour to proof 5 double spaced pages. That may seem slow, but I think worth the effort.

First, I look at each character in a line, then the sentence, then the paragraph, then the page, and finally the scene.

This is where I check every punctuation mark, check for their/there swaps, and grammar errors. For example, I force my eye to look for a period at the end of every sentence.

The only editing I do at this phase it to ask whether I need every word.

If I start to skim, I take a break, let my mind relax and get back to it.

What is your process?

7 thoughts on “How Do You Proofread?

  1. I’d only add a couple passes of reading out loud with the emphasis on using the punctuation in the inflexion.


  2. Wow, that sounds intense! I have a feeling, when I get to that point I will be doing something similar.
    Right now, with each editing pass, I read the scene aloud. I catch a lot of mistakes that way, and it especially helps me to make dialogue sound more natural.


    1. Reading the scene out loud is a great thing to do. It helps you hear repeated words, find typos, and missing or incorrect punctuation. One thing I learned was not to spend too much time editing (or proofreading) early on. It’s better to spend time on the the story.


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