Tag: edit

Copy-editing & proofreading – is it worth it?

Not every writer chooses to hire a professional proofreader for copy-editing.  But I’m not just talking to novelists or journalists:  I’m talking to website owners as well! 

The content of your website has every reason to be as accurate as a published book or hard copy magazine – it’s the window to your world and it really matters.  Reasons cited for not bothering to have work proofread are valid and varied:

“I can’t afford an editor.”

“True, I make a few mistakes, but not enough to need one.”

“That’s just my style, it’s the way I write.”

“I’m going for a casual, more talky style.”

“Nobody will notice – most people aren’t as picky as you.”


Probably the most common reason for hoping to do without an editor to copy-edit is

When life takes you by surprise …

What else could possibly go wrong?

Even when life takes you by surprise and all your good intentions have to be shelved, when you are a proofreader, you are never off duty.

I recently spent some time gathering photos and memories to compile an Order of Service when my life went on hold for 2 weeks after my old dad passed away. It wasn’t easy to pare down the choices and to select just a few images to best represent our dear old dad. I sat with the graphic designer at the printer’s for the best part of an hour, as he’d broadly said the content, layout and colours were entirely my choice, there was no right or wrong.

Helpfully, he showed me a selection of other Orders of Service that had been produced for previous customers. Some were very simple, with just one or two photos at the most, others bore a complete collage of pictures of the dear departed at every stage in his long life. Some had poems, some bore the words to a hymn. Most were respectful and sad, some were a celebration of the life the person had led, and were cheerful and far from morbid.FullSizeRender-1

I was spoilt for choice. I wanted it all. But finally I knew just how I was going to have it designed. A simple, recent photo of Dad on the front, surrounded by his rose garden; on the inside, we would add the order in which the service would be conducted. On the third page were reproduced the words to a very special song that were sure to bring a tear to the eye, and finally, some old black and white snaps of Dad on the back page.

BackLast of all, the text needed to be added. On the front, his name, the date he was born, the date he died. On the back, an invitation to the wake. And in the middle, I could add something personal. For inspiration, I again sifted through the little pile of examples – and gasped as my proofreader’s eyes fell upon the word “Urology“!

Easy peasy apostrophes – (Part 2)

My last post sparked quite a bit of a stir! The resounding answer to the question I posed: “Is text-speak killing my beloved apostrophe?” was a clear “NO”.

My insatiable appetite for proofreading and catching errors is shared by some like-minded contributors on LinkedIn (thank you all). Some pointed out that using an apostrophe + S to denote plurals can be a matter of which style guide you prefer to follow, or indeed whether you are using UK or US English.

American examples that were cited included “recite your ABC’s”, “dot your I’s and cross your T’s” which I suppose I can grudgingly understand, and can also be used in dates like “the 1980’s”, although I still don’t see the necessity for that.

But the one that finally convinced me personally that you should NOT use the apostrophe to indicate a plural was this one:

National Punctuation Day!

I am tickled to find there exists such a thing as “National Punctuation Day”! A competition is set to send in a short essay in three sentences, using all 13 of the following punctuation marks: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than…

A New Author’s Plea

I must admit, I’ve wondered what it’s like to be at the beginning of my food chain, to be the one with the creative mind, the weaver of the tale I am about to take apart stitch by stitch, word by word. That new author just starting out. So I was amused and enlightened by the answer I found reproduced…

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