Most writers know about when to use a period, a question mark, and exclamation point. Be sure that every sentence has one of those three at the end. Back on April 29ths post, we went over how to punctuate dialogue. I am not going to go over that again here, but you should probably review that now as well. In addition, go through and make sure you didn’t miss any of your quotation marks. Like the previous forms of punctuation, commas, semi-colons, colons, apostrophes, and dashes indicate added emphasis, an interruption, or an abrupt change of thought. Experienced writers know that these marks are not interchangeable. Click Here to see when to use each one.
If there is one area where I am apt to be a member of the grammar police, it would be in the area of homophones. I hate it when a writer uses there when they really should be using they’re or their.
One homophone that we recently disagreed about at work was pore and pour. Most of us thought that “we poured over material” as we studied. However, one person argued that we should have used the word “pored”. We looked it up on google and I found four sources that said the word was pored, not poured. We pour milk over our cereal, but this word has nothing to do with studying. Click Here are numerous homophones to check and determined that you have used the correct word.
This week we are identifying and replacing spelling errors. Now is a good time to run a spell check to see find words that are spelled wrong or you have written using British spellings rather than American spellings (or visa versa if you’re aiming to sell to British audiences). You wouldn’t want to insult your reader (or publisher!) with the wrong gray or grey. Now’s a good time to run your spellcheck over your manuscript before going onto the next steps. Click Here to Move On
Here we will practice applying one of the most basic and yet also most troublesome rules of grammar: in the present tense, a verb must agree in number with its subject. Put simply, this means that we have to remember to add an -s to the verb if its subject is singular and not to add an -s if the subject is plural. It's really not a hard principle to follow as long as we can identify the subject and verb in a sentence. Let's have a look at how this basic rule works by clicking here.
If you’re any kind of writer, you probably noticed that I failed to capitalize the key words in the title of this post. I actually did this on purpose. The titles of books, songs, newspapers, and works of art should all be capitalized. In fact, titles, no matter what the content, should always have their keywords capitalized. In additional to capitalizing titles of content, what other ways should you capitalize?
Click Here to Check Your Knowledge on Capitalization
Now we are in the heart of proofreading. You’ve found missing words. You’ve found double words, now its time to improve your sentences by eliminating overused words.
You probably have a number of words that you personally overuse, so you should probably add this to your personal style guide. Until you develop your own list, here is a list of words to use cautiously.
Click Here to see the list of these words
One of the things that I often have had difficulty with when editing a novel has been that I have forgotten to include small but critical words or write words twice. This often happened when I was in a hurry to write what was in my head and then later when I was editing that same passage, I missed that I had forgotten to write the word. Instead, I read the passage as though the word was actually there. Click Here to Learn How to Fix Your Writing Blind Spots
Last week we discussed how to write great paragraphs, now let’s fix the problem of run-on sentences. What exactly is a run-on sentence?
A run-on sentence, by definition, is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses are joined together without an appropriate punctuation or connecting word. In other words, trying to join two complete sentences with just a comma. A definite amateur mistake. The good news is, fixing run-on sentences is among the easiest proofreading skills to master.
Master run-on sentences by CLICKING HERE
During the past two weeks we discussed overall aspects of proofreading, this week we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. We’re editing paragraphs. We all know that a paragraph is not just a random group of sentences but is a group of sentences organized around a central topic. Paragraph writing focuses on a single idea. A well-written paragraph takes its readers on a clear path.
To Learn how you can create a better paragraph, CLICK HERE
As you proofread your manuscript, there are several things you can do to make your process easier. Here are a few commonly recommended tips:
1. Print a copy of the novel and mark it up.
Having a hard copy in front of you allows you to work with your draft on something other than your laptop or desktop screen. You’ll want your printout to be double-spaced so you have plenty of room to make edits.
2. Be consistent in your marks.
A question mark might indeed convey the appropriate emotion when you find passages that don’t make sense, or where the pacing drags, or where there’s a glaring plot hole or a character who seems to act out of character. But a question mark doesn’t really help you recognize one problem from the next when looking back over your notes For more proofreading tips, CLICK HERE
Cygnet Brown is the Author of The Locket Saga. The current five volumes Include: