Monday, May 19, 2014

Seven Things to Look For in a Final Polish

This is it. Your manuscript is done except for one last read to make sure that everything is clean. You've probably read it so many times that you're ready to just shove it out the door. Here are seven things to keep an eye out for in that last read. If you use track changes, you may want to turn it off at this stage just to make sure everything is in order.

1. Multiple punctuation
Sometimes there are two periods at the end of the sentence, sometimes it's a period and a comma, or sometimes it's something else. It can be easy to skip over there so check carefully.

2. Missing punctuation
On the other end of the spectrum is missing punctuation. Under this umbrella is missing quotation marks. Keep a close eye on the beginning and ending of dialogue.  

3. Extra spaces
It can be so easy to insert an extra space between words or sentences. Between words often gets caught by spell check, but sentences is easy to miss.

4. Missing words
Sometimes, in editing, a word gets accidentally deleted or isn't added in the right place.

5. Extra words
Opposite problem is extra words. I find this happens a lot when proper or common nouns are replaced with pronouns, but the original noun wasn't deleted.

6. Switched words
For instance, they're, their, there. Spell check often doesn't pick up these switches as being wrong, so they can be missed.

7. Consistent spelling of character names
Make sure the spelling of character names is always the same. This is especially true with characters with exotic names. If it helps, keep a record of all first and last names to check easily.