Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Writer’s Guide
Proofreading
Proofreaders do it backwards


When you’ve finished a work, it’s time to do a final proof. Now, let’s define “finished”. See, there’s no point in proofreading if you haven’t edited yet. There’s no point in proofreading if you think you’re going to go in and add more quotes from an expert or another block of description for a scene.

But if you’re done writing and editing and you think you’re ready to send the piece off to a publisher, editor, or the printer’s ftp site, stop and proofread.

Strict proofreading dictates you actually check the finished copy against original copy, making sure things like names are spelled correctly and phone numbers match what an agency sent, etc. Don’t skip that step if you have original copy to check against. You’ll be stunned the first time you catch someone’s website listed incorrectly in your work.

But then go back and proofread backwards. Start at the bottom of the last page and read each word from right to left. Again, you’ll be stunned the first time you catch a word that has been spelled incorrectly through seven edits.

Now, go ahead and ask. Yes, I’ve read Choices Meant for Gods backwards when I had the galleys. Why? Because my head will spin like the kid from The Exorcist at each typo I see after publication, and I’d like to limit the number of revolutions.

“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”

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