Monday, June 5, 2017

Proofreading Tips Part 1 of 2

I recommend proofreading your manuscript in multiple ways. Each method changes the way the document appears. Your eye catches different errors with each pass. After my final editing passes are done, I proofread my manuscripts at least twenty times before publishing them. You can:

1. Read it on Word or other word processing programs in several fonts.

The Four Layers of Conflict

The Four Layers of Conflict

The Four Layers of Conflict

2. Read it on Word with ¶ "reveal codes" on to catch spacing and formatting errors.

3.Read it on Word with two page view.

4. Read it as a PDF document as a single page + page width. The print will be larger.

5. Read the PDF version again as "two pages up continuous" to see the flow between pages and how the paragraphs, images, etc. line up. Remember the side on the left is actually the odd pages that will appear on the right hand side of the printed book. A chapter should always start on the printed right hand side, even if that means leaving a blank page on the left.

6. When self-publishing, I recommend using the virtual proof option if available. Create Space has virtual proof option. It gives you the feel of turning pages and you can make sure you have the Chapters starting on the right page and it will reveal accidental blank pages. If your service does not provide a virtual proof, I recommend investing in Flip PDF. It will turn your manuscript into a "flip book." (This is also a fun program for making virtual scrapbooks, children's stories, family stories, cookbooks, poetry, etc., which make nice gifts.)

7. When self-publishing, I recommend buying the printed proof as a final pass. You find things in print you didn't find on the screen, no matter how many times you read the digital version. If you can't purchase a printed proof, then print it at home or consider having it printed at Kinkos/FedEx, Staples Office Supply, or other print company in your area. It is worth the investment.

I format the print version first then the e-book version after all the other proofreading passes. You catch more errors as you remove the formatting for the e-book.

Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Great info, Diana. Because I am in the midst of this process right now, your article is most timely. Thank you!

  2. Very helpful, Diana. Now, if I could only finish my WIP. Thanks.

  3. Excellent tips, Diana! I'm in the process of doing the final proofing right now, so this is great.

  4. I find that a hard copy (printed in a different font, and in 2 columns) is a great way to see things your eye misses when reading on screen.


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