The importance of proofreading

So I’ve been proofreading my novel before sending it out into the wide world on a full request from a query.  It’s a good thing, too, because last night, on the verge of sleep, I found a large, economy-sized error.  This was the kind of error that made me cringe in terror, the kind of error that, had I not found it prior to sending out my manuscript, would have caused me to actually pull hair out of my head.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is the stuff of which nightmares are made.

This error was more than a little typo, more than a minor spellcheck oversight.  I had done some major rearranging of text and failed to delete the redundancies at one point, but then thought I had it all taken care of.  I happily went about printing off my final hard copy and set to reading through it, making a note of each instance where something needed to be fixed (and I’m not talking about instances where I decided that something sounded better if I wrote it differently – I’m talking about instances like where I said witting instead of sitting or considering when I meant consider).

Then I discovered that Chapter 13 needed to be deleted.

Not just a portion of it, oh, no.  The whole thing had to go.  I was falling asleep reading because I was absolutely exhausted, yet I was awake enough to realize that I had just read the opening to Chapter 13 ten minutes earlier…in Chapter 11.  I flipped quickly through Chapter 13, then back through the three preceding chapters and discovered that Chapter 13 contained parts of Chapters 10, 11, and 12.  Talk about en epic facepalm.

Prior to this discovery, I’d been considering just winging the whole proofing bit.  I knew there were a couple of places that I needed to hammer out a bit more, but I thought that once I got those straightened out, I could probably just give it a rest and then send it on in.  Boy, am I glad I talked myself out of that idea!  Part of me is really anxious to get this whole proofing project done with because I’m impatient, but fortunately the logical side of me is louder and knows that I need to take my time and do it right.  Yay logic! 🙂

And now, back to the grindstone.  I’ve got some more polishing to do.

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13 thoughts on “The importance of proofreading

  1. Huw Thomas says:

    Oh yes! After weeks, months (years) of struggle, the story is finally finished and you want people to READ it. You know what you’re trying to say… which is why the author is often the worst proofreader.
    Don’t wing it, you’ll only be embarrassed in times to come when you look back and cringe. (Been there, done that).
    One technique I’ve developed is to put together a chapter plan that lists the main points of the story – helps avoid those dreaded continuity errors as well as repeating things you’ve already said.
    Good luck with the grindstone… it is worth it in the end!

    Like

    • Kay Lynn says:

      The problem for me is trying to fit work time around family time…and still stay awake long enough to get the work done! 🙂 This isn’t the first time I’ve failed to do something I’ve thought I’ve done and I’m glad that I caught it in time. I’m also glad that I didn’t go against my better judgment and send it in right away. I’ve had this project out on submission for a while and had some interest – someone wanted to see the whole thing but asked for some significant additions first, so that’s why I’m back to polishing all of a sudden.

      Thanks for the luck! As you said, it’s all worth it in the end! 🙂

      Like

  2. mezzsays says:

    Oh man. I’m sure you will look back at this and laugh someday (since you caught it, that is) but that sucks! LOL, we’ve all been there… only since I’m such a lazy proofreader, I usually end up sending stuff to my boss with the giant mistakes still in it.

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  3. Steven says:

    Yea I did the same thing. It wasn’t an entire chapter but I made epic mistakes. One my editor caught for me TG. I had to fix a great deal of the book even after having it edited.

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    • Kay Lynn says:

      I’m just glad I caught it before I’d sent it off. All the rest of the things I’ve caught have been minor; that’s the biggest mistake I think I’ve ever made. Figures it would be an epic mistake.

      Like

      • Steven says:

        Yea really! One of mine was I call the main god The One then in the apocalypse chapters I called the reaper chasing Daniel the one. My editor said, The God is chasing Daniel. Lol oops

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        • Kay Lynn says:

          Oy! Sometimes the little mistakes are the ones that get you. What kills me is when you’re so close to your work that you just don’t see the errors anymore. I’ve been working on The Lokana Chronicles for seven years now and I know it so well that I just don’t see things anymore. Thank goodness for friends and professionals who have critical eyes!

          Like

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