So, you’re finally out of the trenches. You’ve neatened up all the scene transitions, fixed all the plot-holes, fleshed out the characters more, and have shown way more than you’ve told – congratulations, you’re almost there.
By now, your manuscript is getting to the final proofreading stages. Everything about the content is just about there, now all that’s left to do is neaten the sentences a little and make sure all spelling, punctuation and grammar is as it should be.
That finish line is finally in sight.
There’s only one problem though. Proofreading sort of just feels like a waste of time, doesn’t it? It feels like you’re just spinning your wheels with no real way of tracking progress.
Guess what, though? It doesn’t have to be that way.
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This is a simple concept, but it’s also an effective concept, and that’s what matters most.
When it comes to proofing your work, there are only two real ways you could go about it. You could read it from start to finish, correcting issues as you go. Or, you could try the segmented method, which when executed properly, works amazingly well.
It comes down to realising how much time you have, and more importantly, how much of it you’re willing to spend editing your book. If you’re serious about writing, the answer to that question should be a lot. Once you’ve gathered the precious details, it’s time to get to work.
Breaking your proofreading into segments is all to do with clarity of thought and satisfaction of results. It gives you something to work towards and smaller goals to hit as you progress. These mini goals help keep you motivated. There’s nothing worse than losing the motivation to write just before you start, and even just the thought of proofreading is enough to do that for some people.
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How To Segment
First things first, let’s keep things simple. Simplicity is bliss.
The easiest way to do this is to break the chapters up into threes. Start by proofing chapters one to three, and when you’re done with those, move on to four to six. Work like this, going over three chapters multiple times, before combining it with the next step.
Say you’ve hit chapter ten, and have done so by proofing a few chapters at a time over and over again – now it’s time to finish off the first ten chapters. Give them one final read-through, from chapter one right through till chapter ten. Double and triple check all the transitions and chapter openings, and make sure all spelling, punctuation, and grammar is correct.
When you’re certain of this, congrats, the first ten chapters are done. Repeat this process for the next ten, and then the next, and pretty soon, you’ll have yourself a well-polished manuscript.
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It Doesn’t Have To Feel Meaningless
By following these steps, you make the entire process feel way more productive. It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you’re getting nowhere when you’re proofreading, but this strategy can definitely change that.
Try it for yourself and see if helps with your final proofreading game. Just remember, the aim isn’t speed. The aim is efficiency and progression – time is out of the equation.
The proofreading is finished when the book decides so; you must let it speak for itself. There’s no time limit on perfecting your novel.
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