1. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    How to know when you are done proof reading

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by katica, Mar 12, 2011.

    I finished my first draft a long time ago (about 6 months ago) and have been proof reading each chapter repeatedly. I know I'm not done yet, but that no novel can be perfect. So how do I know when I am finished and that it's good enough to start sending to agents or at least good enough for my friends to proofread?
     
  2. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Even the best writer who proofreads his or her work will still submit an unseen grammar error. It is common in most cases. But this does not mean that you cannot get a marketable book with minimum grammar errors. You won't find all grammar errors, but we can see the efforts you made in your proofreading process than someone who turns in a work without proofreading it at all. You probably won't know when you are done proofreading. This is why reading your book several times and reconstructing your sentences until you are happy is very important.

    Another valuable thing to do is check out a grammar book at the library. This has helped me spot my errors without realizing them. My preposition phrases were placed in the wrong sentences, and the sentences did not make any sense at all in the English rule book.

    You can also allow someone else to read your book to see if they can spot any grammar errors after you proofread it yourself several times. That way, your book will have a new fresh set of eyes. And the more eyes you give your book to, the more likely your book will turn out good.
     
  3. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    It's been 6 months? You'll never feel that the book is perfect. I would advise that you just let go of the feeling that the book is too incomplete and let some of your friends read it. That way they will help you proofread as well. I am planing on letting my sister read my first draft without reading it more than once, just because I know her help will be invaluable as I continue polishing it.
     
  4. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Are you confusing revising with proofreading? You know you're finished proofreading when you can't notice any grammar errors. Revising is an entirely different story altogether.
     
  5. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    Proofreading is checking for spelling and grammatical errors--that's the least important thing you can be doing with a draft. If you meant you've been revising your draft for months and months, here's my advice.

    You need outside input. Trust me. Get someone, a friend or family member, to read it and offer you feedback. You should trust them to talk to you honestly. For example, I wouldn't give my mother a story I wrote and ask her what was wrong with it.

    There will be things you haven't considered.

    If it goes over well, try sharing your work with some more of your friends. If the general consensus is good, send your story off and see what happens. Even if it doesn't come through in the end, at least you'll have tried. Then you can move on and write something new--maybe the next story will be the one.
     
  6. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Copyediting is normally the process of revising something before proofreading. It can be just as complicated, but at the same time, it gets eaiser to copyedit your work than it is to proofread it. And like some others said, you would be done copyediting and proofreading your work if you don't knotice any further grammar errors in your work. Howeiver, proofreading (checking for spelling/grammar) is the last step in the writing process before publication of your work.
     
  7. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    The hard part is getting everyone else to realize how great your novel is. ;)
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Get someone to read it for you. I spend six months editing but I also have input from others before I start. I am trying to get that process down to a month though fingers crossed.
     
  9. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Your book could be published and sold a million copies and you'll never be done (in your mind).

    It seems to me that a person would be done when the overall feeling of the writing feels 'complete'.

    Generalized way of looking at it? Sure, but once you feel like what you have written is a well formed whole, then you are done. Any editing you do from there is working in the minutia and perhaps even more counterproductive that anything else.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    when you can't find any more goofs needing to be fixed...

    however, as noted above, 'revising' is another story altogether and only you will know when your work is as good as you can get it and/or is the way you think it will please agents/publishers/readers...

    and, while it is helpful to have someone knowledgeable [or at least a discerning reader] to read it and give you some feedback, i never advise letting friends, family, or anyone you're sleeping with do so, as they either will not be totally honest, not wanting to hurt your feelings, or will be more honest than you want, thus running the chance of ruining your relationship...
     
  11. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    I meant revising. You'd think, since I've taken more than one college English course where the teachers nagged us a bunch about rewriting, that at least one of them would have mentioned the difference between revision and proofreading, but they didn't. I thought they were interchangeable words until now, but that's the good thing about these kinds of forums, right? ;D

    Anyway, yea, I hope any future advice given to me in this thread can be about just that. I appreciate what has been said so far though.
     
  12. Jammo
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    Jammo Member

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    Could not have said it better. One of the best ways to get your project proof-read with a higher chance of success.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    depends on who you have read it!

    sure, the 'right' reader can be helpful... but the 'wrong' readers can do more harm than good...
     

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