Tuesday, March 30, 2021

IT'S ALL ABOUT THOSE HYPHENS!

 by Jodie Renner, editorauthor

Is it knockout or knock-out or knock outlockdown or lock-down or lock down?

makeup, make up, or make-up? lineup or line-up or line up? workout or work out or work-out? set up or set-up or setup?

(Hint: Most of the above can be correct, depending on whether it's used as a noun, adjective, or verb. And yes, there is a pattern.)

Is it an off duty officer or an off-duty officer? well laid plans or well-laid plans?

over-compensate or overcompensate? under-staffed or understaffed? semi-circle or semicircle? para-legal or paralegal?

As a fiction editor, I advise on everything from plot, characterization, viewpoint, dialogue, voice, style, pacing, flow, and more, down to final proofreading for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Today I’m wearing my “Grammar Geek” hat to talk about how to use hyphens correctly in various situations, to make your intention and meaning clear

No matter what kind of writing you're doing, you don't want your readers to stop and wonder what you meant, exactly. That can cause confusion and subliminal (or not so subliminal) irritation and could lose you respect as a writer. 

*Note that these are North American norms – British guidelines can vary.

~ Is it one word, two words, or hyphenated? 

Even very good spellers often forget whether a term is one word, two words, or hyphenated, so here are a few handy guidelines. 

According to the Chicago Manual of Style (that and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary are considered the go-to resources for North American copyeditors and proofreaders), 

“Far and away the most common spelling questions for writers and editors concern compound terms—whether to spell as two words, hyphenate, or close up as a single word.”

When we’re busy writing, it’s easy to forget, for even the easiest words, whether it’s one word, two words, or hyphenated. Often, each of those forms can be correct, depending on the part of speech and intent.

For example, you back up your files or back up to avoid walking into someone (an action, so verb). But it’s a back-up plan (adjective) and “My partner provided me with backup.” (noun)

Similarly, castoff(one word) is a noun – “That shirt is a castoff from my brother.”; cast-off” is an adjective – “She wore cast-off clothes.”; and cast off” is a verb – “He cast off the boat and we headed downriver.”

Many others follow the same pattern: cooldown (noun) – “We did a 10-minute cooldown,” cool-down (adj) – “Here are some cool-down exercises,” and cool down (verb) – “Time to cool down.”

And it’s “lookout” (one word) for the noun (thing) –“Let’s head to the lookout,” and the adjective – a lookout tower, but “look out” (two words) for the verb (action) – “Look out for snakes.”

And two slightly silly but correct examples:

The guy who cut off the other car at the cutoff was wearing cut-off shorts.

And finally, takeout (noun), take-out (adj.), and take out (v). “Let’s go to the corner takeout and take out some take-out food.”

So one word for the noun (person, place, or thing); two words for the verb (action): 

a workout (noun or adjective), to work out (verb) 

a setup (noun), to set up (verb) 

a hangout (noun or adjective), to hang out (verb) 

a lockdown (noun) to lock down (verb)

See a pattern here? Very often, 

- the noun form is one word, no hyphen: setup, login, makeup, hangout, workout, backup. Let's go to the usual hangout. I had a good workout. His partner provided backup.

 - the verb form is two words: set up, log in, make up, hang out, work out, back up. Want to hang out after class? Let’s work out this problem. I need to back up my files.

- and the adjective form is often hyphenated: hard-core poverty, a hands-off policy (see compound modifiers below).

 or can be one word, like the noun: backup plans, workout clothes.

(Although English being English, of course there are always exceptions, like break-in for the noun; but still break in for the verb.)

So these are all no-nos (incorrect): 

X "I need to logon, then logoff." Should be "log on" and "log off," as they're actions.

X "Let's setup the chairs." Should be "set up." 

X "Please makeup the bed." Should be "make up."

All are actions (verbs), so need to be two words. Just remember to separate off the up, down, out, on, etc. as its own word when it's an action.



OTHER HYPHEN CONUNDRUMS: 

(To avoid being overwhelmed by various examples of correct use of hyphens, maybe save the following ones for a later read. In fact, I recommend bookmarking this post for future reference.) 

~ Hyphenate compound modifiers before a noun. 

A general guideline is to hyphenate two or more modifiers before a noun (so an adjectival phrase), especially if to leave as two words could cause confusion; but to leave as two separate words when they come after the noun or verb (often functioning as an adverb). 

For example, “He’s a high-profile actor” but “He maintains a high profile.”

“It’s a middle-class neighborhood,” but “The neighborhood is middle class.”

“He asked an open-ended question,” but “The question was open ended.”

“It was a hands-down win,” but “They won hands down.”

“It was a computer-literate group,” but “The group was computer literate.”

“The school has a hands-off policy,” but “Keep your hands off.”

“They had a hand-to-mouth existence,” but “They lived hand to mouth.”

“The witness was an off-duty police officer,” but “He was off duty at the time.”

“I bought a flat-screen TV,” but “The TV has a flat screen.”

“My to-do list,” but “My list of things to do.”

"a black-and-white print" but "the truth isn't always black and white."

(Above is an example from the Chicago Manual of Style, which says no hyphens with other color combinations, eg. "a blue and yellow dress" or "a red and white flag."

“We strolled past side-by-side boutiques on the street,” but “Two clothing boutiques stood side by side on that street.”

~ But don’t hyphenate after –ly adverbs: 

Since the ly ending with adverbs signals to the reader that the next word will be another modifier, not a noun. 

For example, a sharply worded reprimand, a smartly dressed woman, a hastily written email


~ Hyphenate to avoid confusion.
 

To avoid confusion or ambiguity, it’s often best to hyphenate.

For example, there’s a big difference in meaning between a small animal hospital (an animal hospital that’s small) and a small-animal hospital (a hospital for small animals).

Same with a small business owner (not a large person ) and a small-business owner.

And the hyphen in “three-ring binders” tells us that three is the number of rings, not the number of binders, as might be assumed with “three ring binders.”

Similarly, the hyphen in “much-needed advice” connects the much with the needed, so we know the advice is greatly needed, not that there’s a lot of needed advice.

And the hyphen in “fast decision-making” shows us that decisions must be made soon, not that they’re quick decisions.

~ Hyphenate where numbers are involved. 

Chicago Manual of Style says to also hyphenate adjective-noun modifiers, especially where the adjective is a number:

For example, a twelve-step program, a five-year-old child, (but "the child is five years old"-- no hyphen) a five-dollar bill, a ten-mile hike, a six-foot-tall man, a ten-pound fish, a sixty-foot-long boat.

Notice how when hyphenated before a noun, the plural is dropped: for example, a woman is five feet tall, but she’s a five-foot-tall woman. Pregnancy lasts nine months but it’s a nine-month pregnancy.



~ Sometimes a phrase needs multiple hyphens for clarity. 

Hyphenate when two or more words form a compound set of modifiers to describe a noun -- but NOT when the modifiers come AFTER the noun: 

He spoke in a matter-of-fact manner. But, "Yes, as a matter of fact, it is."

It’s an edge-of-your-seat suspense. This thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat.

That's an over-the-counter drug, but That drug is sold over the counter.

They had a back-and-forth conversation, but They spoke back and forth like that.

Other examples: high-school-age children (to avoid confusion with “high school-age children” (not a good thing!), a winner-take-all contest, a one-on-one game.

You might also see/need two hyphenated words that apply to a single word: He was given the pre- and post-operation instructions.


~ Hyphen between the prefix and the root word? 

And what about all those words with prefixes like re, un, de, pre, bi, mid, over, under, semi, sub, etc.? Is it re-read or reread over-conscientious or overconscientious? extramarital or extra-marital? under-employed or underemployed? semicircle or semi-circle? sub-category or subcategory?

Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style both favor (favour) not hyphenating after a prefix, so according to these two recognized authorities, none of the above should be spelled with the hyphen. These also are correct, no hyphen: overcompensate, understaffed. But British (and Canadian) dictionaries seem to hyphenate them more often.

However, for some reason, Merriam-Webster puts a hyphen after the prefixes self and well, as in self-defense, self-discipline, well-mannered, well-endowed, etc. 

And sometimes you need the hyphen to clarify meaning. For example, you recover a lost wallet, but you re-cover a sofa. Similarly with re-creation of the scene of a crime, to avoid confusion with recreation as leisure-time activities.

~ The trend toward closed compounds (one word, no hyphen): 

Common usage has a tendency to simplify terms. “Web site” gradually became “website”; “e-mail” is increasingly “email”; “on line” changed to “on-line” to “online.”



If you're not totally overwhelmed by all these rules, or for another time, if you'd like some help with dashes (em and en) and ellipses, see my blog post, How and When to Use Hyphens, Dashes, and Ellipses. 

Also, see "Those Dang Homonyms! Commonly Misspelled Words"

*Check out my two handy, clickable, time-saving e-resources for writers, editors, students, and anyone else with writing projects: Quick Clicks: WORD USAGE – Precise Word Choices at Your Fingertips and Quick Clicks: SPELLING LIST – Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips. With all kinds of internal links, they’re both super quick and easy to use! (They're designed to work on e-readers, tablets, laptops, and computers, but not phones.) 

Click HERE for options to receive email alerts of new posts published on this blog. 


Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling FictionWRITING A KILLER THRILLERFIRE UP YOUR FICTION, and CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS, as well as two clickable time-saving e-resources, QUICK CLICKS: Spelling List and QUICKCLICKS: Word Usage. She has also organized two anthologies for charity: VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS – Stories and Poems about Life in BC’s Interior, and CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child WorkersYou can find Jodie on her Amazon Author Page, at www.JodieRenner.com, and on Facebook. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

People in Motion – Vary Those Verbs!

by Jodie Renner, editor & author   

(Excerpted from Fire up Your Fiction - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories, by Jodie Renner)

Want to write a bestselling novel? To bring your characters and scenes to life in a way that readers can relate to, it’s critical to choose just the right nuance of meaning to fit the character, action and situation. Say you’ve got a character walking. How are they moving? There’s a huge difference between strolling and striding and shuffling and sauntering and slinking and strutting and sashaying and slogging, for example.

Find Vivid Verbs

Verbs are especially important, as there are so many variations in the way someone can move or speak or eat or whatever, depending on their personality, mood, age, gender, size, background, health, fitness level, and of course the circumstances. So it’s worth the effort to find just the right verb that nails the action and makes sense in the context of the scene. A verb that doesn’t quite fit can be jarring and turn a reader off, whereas finding a stronger, more specific verb can really enhance the mood and strengthen a scene, resulting in greater reader involvement and enjoyment.

People in Motion

For example, check out how many ways you can say “walked” or “moved.” (Hint – look up the present tense – “walk” or “move.”) You can use the handy thesaurus in Word (under the Review tab) or another online thesaurus, or go all out and buy the best print one out there – the huge J.I. Rodale’s The Synonym Finder.

For the verb “walked” for example, Rodale gives us a long list of great synonyms to help us capture just the right situation and tone. He just lists them, but here I’ve roughly categorized some of them to suit various situations, and changed them to past tense, to suit most novels and short stories.

 ~ WORDS FOR “WALKED”

Situations:

Drunk, drugged, wounded, ill: lurched, staggered, wobbled, shuffled, shambled

Urgent, purposeful, concerned, stressed: strode, paced, treaded, moved, advanced, proceeded, marched, stepped

Relaxed, wandering: strolled, sauntered, ambled, wandered, roamed, roved, meandered, rambled, traipsed


Tired:
trudged, plodded, slogged, clopped, shuffled, tramped

Rough terrain, hiking: marched, trooped, tramped, hiked, traversed

Sneaking, stealth: sidled, slinked, minced, tiptoed, tread softly

Showing off: strutted, paraded, sashayed

Other walking situations: waddled, galumphed (moved with a clumsy, heavy tread), shambled, wended, tiptoed

So in general, it’s best to avoid plain vanilla verbs like “walked” or “went” if you can find a more specific word to evoke just the kind of movement you’re trying to describe.

~ But don’t grab that synonym too quickly! Watch out for show-offy or silly words.

After you’ve found a list of interesting synonyms, choose carefully which one to use for the situation, as well as the overall tone of your book. For example, for “walk,” don’t go to extremes by choosing little-known, pretentious words like “ambulate” or “perambulate” or “peregrinate” (!), or overly colloquial, slang, or regional expressions like “go by shank’s mare” or “hoof it.”

~ And beware of words that just don’t fit that situation.

Also, some synonyms are too specific for general use, so they can be jarring if used in the wrong situations. I had two author clients who seemed to like to use “shuffled” for ordinary, healthy people walking around. To me, “shuffled” conjures up images of a patient moving down the hallway of a hospital, pushing their IV, or an old person moving around their kitchen in their slippers. Don’t have your cop or PI or CEO shuffling! Unless they’re sick or exhausted – or half-asleep.

Similarly, I had a client years ago who was writing about wartime, and where he meant to have soldiers and officers “striding” across a room or grounds or battlefield, he had them “strutting.” To me, you wouldn’t say “he strutted” unless it was someone full of himself or showing off. It’s definitely not an alternate word for “walked with purpose” as is “he strode.”

Also, be careful of having someone “march” into a room, unless they’re in the military or really fuming or determined. “Strode” captures that idea of a purposeful or determined walk better.

Here’s another example of a verb that doesn’t fit the situation:

Joe stood up, shocked and numb, after his boss delivered the tragic news about the death of his friend. He dreaded his visit to Paul’s widow. He sauntered back to his office, his mind spinning. 

“Sauntered” is way too relaxed and casual a word for the situation. The guy’s just been told his friend is dead. Maybe “found his way” or “stumbled” back to his office.

So after you’ve found a few possible words in the thesaurus, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check the exact meaning in your dictionary. For that, I recommend Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. I use Merriam-Webster online for quick reference.

 ~ REPLACEMENTS FOR “RUN”

I found a list of synonyms for run, just listed in alphabetical order, then reordered them here to fit specific circumstances:

Situations:

Fun, play: amble, skip, scamper, scoot

Start off running: take off, bolt, make a break, light out, make off, dash, tear out, make tracks, split

Tense, frightened, being chased: barrel, dart, escape, flee, dash, hurry, race, rush, hasten, hustle, speed, sprint, scramble, scurry, tear

Athletic training, exercise: jog, pace, race, dash, sprint, travel  

In a hurry: hasten, bustle, hurry, hustle, rush, dash, hasten, scurry

Animals: scamper, trot, scurry, take flight, travel

Colloquial, humorous: hotfoot it, skedaddle, make tracks, scoot, take off, tear out

And serendipitously, I was just reading Robert Crais’s thriller, The Last Detective, and discovered another great list of synonyms for “run.” The anonymous narrator is describing a recurring dream:

“I am desperate to escape this place. I want to beat feet, boogie, truck, book, haul ass, motor, shred, jet, jam, split, cut out, blow, roll, abandon, get away, get gone, scram, RUN…”

But proceed with caution. Again, once you have the list, choose your word carefully. Obviously, if you’ve got someone running for their life, you wouldn’t use such light-hearted synonyms as “scamper” or “scoot” or “skip” or “trot” or “amble.”

And it’s also important to consider the overall voice of the scene and the inner thoughts of the viewpoint character. Are they the kind of person who would use “skedaddle” or “hotfoot it” in their personal vocabulary?

 ~ DIFFERENT WAYS OF LOOKING

Try looking up the verb “look” in a good thesaurus. Here are some of the synonyms J.I. Rodale lists:

see, visualize, behold, notice, take in, regard, observe, study, inspect, examine, contemplate, eye, check out, scrutinize, review, monitor, scan, view, survey, scout, sweep, watch, observe, witness, gaze, peer, glance, glimpse, ogle, leer, stare, goggle, gape, gawk, squint, take a gander, spy, peek, peep, steal a glance at, glare, glower, look down at, look daggers… (and the list goes on).

Again, choose carefully.

Some of these, and others he lists, are just too specific or archaic for general use in fiction, so proceed with caution. For example, don’t use “behold” for “look” in your present-day thriller or mystery! And “reconnoiter” works for military situations, but not for everyday use. Also, watch for eyes doing weird physical things, like “his eyes bounced around the room.”

Also, there are a lot of nuances for showing a character looking at someone or something. The verbs “glare,” “glance,” “scan,” “peer,” “study,” and “gaze” have quite different meanings, for example.

Before:

Brock glared at the intruder with the gun, eyes wide with fear. He shifted his stare to Gord, mouthing, “Help.”

“Glared” doesn’t go with “eyes wide with fear.” Glared is for anger. Maybe “stared” here? And “shifted his gaze”? Or maybe:

Brock’s eyes widened with fear at the intruder with the gun. He shifted his gaze to Gord, mouthing, “Help.”

Similarly,

At the funeral, the widow caught Peter’s glance and squinted her eyes in accusation. She no doubt held him responsible for her husband’s death.

“Squinted” is like against the bright sun. I’d say “narrowed her eyes” or “glared at him.”


For more, check out my posts "A Single Word Can Change the Tone" and "It's All in the Verbs" on the Kill Zone Blog.

Click HERE for options to receive email alerts of new posts published on this blog.

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: WRITING A KILLER THRILLER, FIRE UP YOUR FICTION, and CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS, as well as two clickable time-saving e-resources, QUICK CLICKS: Spelling List and QUICKCLICKS: Word Usage. She has also organized two anthologies for charity: VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS – Stories and Poems about Life in BC’s Interior, and CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child WorkersYou can find Jodie on her Amazon Author Page, at www.JodieRenner.com, and on Facebook. 

 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

REVISE FOR SUCCESS – Concrete Tips for Revising and Editing Your Fiction

by Jodie Renner, editor and award-winning author

After you’ve finished the first draft of your popular fiction novel or short story – or even if you’re only a third or halfway into it but have some nagging doubts about the viability of various aspects of the story – take a short break. Put your manuscript aside for a week or three and concentrate on other things. Then come back to it with a bit of distance, as a reader.

Here's a step-by-step guide to looking for any possible weaknesses in your premise, plot, characterization, and writing style. This is a pretty detailed list, so my suggestion is to copy and paste it and save it in a doc (the links will still work) in a file called "Writing Advice," then just tackle the tips one step at a time, over days and weeks, maybe even months. Click on the links after each point for more in-depth suggestions on that topic.

STEP 1: LOOK FOR ANY BIG-PICTURE ISSUES.  


~ PREMISE: Is it intriguing and solid? Will the foundation of your story stand up to scrutiny? Does your main character face significant challenges that he/she must overcome?

~ CHARACTERIZATION: Is your protagonist charismatic, multi-dimensional, conflicted, and at least somewhat sympathetic and likeable? Does he/she change as a result of what he/she goes through in the course of the story? (character arc)

Click to read: Create a Complex, Charismatic Main Character.

Does your protagonist have significant, meaningful goals and motivations? What is driving him or her?

Do your characters’ decisions and actions seem realistic and authentic?

Click on this link: Make Sure Your Characters Act in Character

Also, are your supporting characters different from each other and the protagonist, for interesting contrast and tension?

~ POINT OF VIEW: Are you staying firmly in the head of the viewpoint character for each scene, or are there places where you’re hovering above or inadvertently slipping into the thoughts of other characters (head-hopping)? Click on the links below.

POV 101: Get into Your Protagonist’s Head and Stay There 

POV 102 – How to Avoid Head-Hopping 

POV 103 – Engage Your Readers with Deep Point of View 

~ PLOT: Does your protagonist have a significant challenge or dilemma that’s difficult to solve? Are you piling on the problems as the story goes on? Make sure every plot point directly affects the character and his journey. See Writing a Killer Thriller for essential tips that apply to all popular fiction.

~ STRUCTURE: Should you start your story or any of your scenes later? Or earlier? Would it be more effective to change the order of some chapters or scenes? Shorten some or expand others? Or even delete a few?

~ SCENES: Does every scene have some tension and conflictDoes every scene end with a question or dilemma that drives the story forward? See

Every Scene Needs Tension and a Change.  

Make brief scene outlines, using this template:

   Scene:  Chapter:  Place:
   - Date/Month/Season:  Year (approx.):
   - POV character for this scene:
   - Other main characters here:
   - POV character’s goal here:
   - Motivation for their goal (why do they want that?):
   - Main problem/conflict – Who/What is preventing POV character from reaching his/her goal:
  - Outcome – Usually a setback / new problem:

Revise any scenes that don’t have conflict and a change and don’t advance the story. 

~ CONFLICT, TENSION and INTRIGUE: Every novel, no matter the genre, needs conflict, tension, and intrigue -- and a certain amount of suspense. For practical advice on how to keep readers turning the pages, see my writer's guide, WRITING A KILLER THIRLLER and this article:
 Add Tension, Suspense, and Intrigue.

~ POTENTIAL PLOT HOLES, inconsistencies, or discrepancies: Ask others to watch out for any accidental bloopers in your story that will erode reader confidence.

~ OPENING: Will your opening paragraphs and first pages hook the readers and entice them to keep reading? Don’t warm up your engines with backstory or start with lengthy description – get right into the story from the first line, in the head of your protagonist.

12 Dos and Don’ts for a Riveting Opening.

~ LENGTH: Is your story too long or too short? If it’s more than 90,000 words (okay, unless it’s a fantasy or epic), check out:

How to Slash Your Word Cut by 20-40% - Without losing any of the good stuff!

This would be a good time to send your story off to some trusted beta readers, smart volunteers who read critically in your genre. They don’t need to be writers.

Here’s list of 15 Questions for Your Beta Readers – And to Focus Your Own Revisions

STEP 2: WRITING STYLE, VOICE, TONE, AND PACING


~ SHOW, DON'T TELL. Be sure to show, rather than tell, all critical scenes in real time, with action and dialogue, and quickly summarize or skip over humdrum scenes. See my article, Show, Don't Tell.

~ SHOW CHARACTER REACTIONS. Bring characters to life on the page by showing their emotions, physical reactions, thought reactions, and sensory perceptions.

See: Bring Your Characters to Life by Showing Their Reactions and

Immerse Your Readers with Sensory Details.

~ RELAX YOUR WRITING. Is your writing style too correct and formal for fiction? If so, loosen up the language. Read it aloud to see where you can make it more casual by streamlining sentences and using contractions (don't, I've, isn't, etc.) and everyday words.

See Tips for Loosening up Your Writing.

VOICE: Does each of your main characters have a unique voice? Or do they all sound like each other and the author? Beware of writing in a too-correct, nonfiction style. Remember that men usually speak differently than women, and a blue-collar guy shouldn't sound like a businessman or teacher. Use free-form journaling in the character's secret diary, especially when they're upset, to capture their true inner and outer voice, with plenty of attitude.

See: Concrete Tips for Developing a Unique Voice in Your Fiction

Developing a Strong Third-Person Voice, and also my book, Captivate Your Readers

~ SPARK UP YOUR PROSE. Use strong, specific nouns and verbs instead of tired, overused ones. For more ideas on this, check out my book, FIRE UP YOUR FICTION and the following article:

 Nail it with Just the Right Word.

~ PICK UP THE PACE. Does your story drag in places? Are your descriptions too lengthy and neutral-sounding?
See: Pick up the Pace for a Real Page-Turner

~ WRITE TIGHT. Read your story aloud to see where you can cut down on wordiness and repetitions. Take out any “little word pile-ups” and all unnecessary detail to improve flow and pacing. Make every word count. See many chapters of Fire up Your Fiction for more specifics on this, and my post,

Don’t Muddle Your Message.  

~ WRITE AUTHENTIC DIALOGUE. Read the dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds natural, like that character would actually speak. See my blog post,

 Tips for Writing Effective Dialogue.

Avoid these Style Blunders in Fiction.

STEP 3: FINAL PROOFREADING 


Now it's time to go through the revised copy and look for typos, spelling, punctuation, missing or repeated words, convoluted sentences, and anywhere the prose doesn’t flow easily and sparkle. Also, look for formatting problems. Is your prose broken down into short paragraphs, for more white space? Have you started a new paragraph for every new speaker? Is your dialogue properly punctuated? See my article

Dialogue Nuts and Bolts.

Some techniques that work for effective proofreading:

~ Change the font and print out your story on paper or download it to your e-reader or tablet; or get a sample book printed. Then read it in a different location from where you wrote it (preferably away from your home) and make notes.       

For more tips on effective final proofreading, see my article,

Tricks and Tips for Catching All Those Little Typos in Your Own Work.

Also, see How to save a bundle on editing costs – without sacrificing quality and

  Basic Formatting of Your Manuscript (Formatting 101) 

Click HERE for options to receive email alerts of new posts published on this blog.


Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling FictionWRITING A KILLER THRILLERFIRE UP YOUR FICTION, and CAPTIVATE YOUR READERS, as well as two clickable time-saving e-resources, QUICK CLICKS: Spelling List and QUICKCLICKS: Word Usage. She has also organized two anthologies for charity: VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS – Stories and Poems about Life in BC’s Interior, and CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child WorkersYou can find Jodie on her Amazon Author Page, at www.JodieRenner.com, and on Facebook.