News room: 5 Proofreading checks to run before sending your manuscript to a literary agent

5 Proofreading checks to run before sending your manuscript to a literary agent  by Jessica Barrah

This edition of expert tips comes from freelance proofreader, Wendy Janes. Errors can undermine an agent’s confidence in your writing, but these five simple checks (that you can easily carry out using the incredibly useful “find” function in Word) will help your manuscript shine.

If you’d like to learn more about the “find” function, read an article here or watch this YouTube video.






1. Check for overused words.

Here are some common ones that slow down and diminish the reading experience: just, look, moment, really, so, such, that, very. Many of these words can simply be deleted, others can be replaced.


2. Search for words repeated in error.

It is amazing how often “and and”, “in in”, “of of”, “the the”, “this this” can crop up. Sometimes a “had had” or a “that that” is correct, but repeated words are often basic typos requiring deletion.



3. Hunt down words substituted for others by mistake.

Here, I am not talking about grammatical errors such as the misuse of it’s and its, practice and practise, affect and effect, principle and principal, I am referring to words such as, from/form, sign/sigh, through/though/thought, that/than, them/then, woman/women.



4. Make sure spelling is consistent.

As a general rule, it is a good idea to avoid mixing –ize and –ise, –or and –our, while and whilst, toward and towards, among and amongst. I use the Oxford English Dictionary as my go-to book for spelling and hyphenation. If you are considering purchasing books to help with editing and proofreading, I highly recommend The Chicago Manual of Style (US) and the recently released New Oxford Style Manual (UK).


5. Tidy up punctuation.

Eliminate any spaced hyphens used parenthetically and replace them with spaced en dashes (UK style) or unspaced em dashes (US style). Use either curly quote marks or straight quote marks.




Wendy Janes lives in London. She spends her time running her freelance proofreading business, writing novels and short stories, and volunteering for The National Autistic Society’s Education Rights Service.

To find out more about proofreading and the service she offers, go to her website.

You can also connect with Wendy on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.






More from our Expert Tips series:

6 Posts

Purple_arrow_down-0d1dfe1ae10f7ada403ca338a776f4e2 Latest response Purple_arrow_down-0d1dfe1ae10f7ada403ca338a776f4e2 Most popular response
    Colin B Leonard

    Colin B

    23 Mar 21:03

    Thanks for that. I have been through the and and was process. I like my Really! Will scout out the others.

    Great articles

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    sussan betcher

    sussan

    09 May 05:21

    Errors can undermine an agent’s confidence in your writing, but these five simple checks will definitely help your manuscript shine. The matter is true considering when learning more about this topic. Keep sharing more posts! learn spanish online

    Jo Lindsell

    Jo

    11 May 14:08

    You have further more choices to go with. Like you can avail an affordable proofreading service online or you can get help with Custom Dissertation UK . As I have been doing since I started my graduation. It is really simple and easy. Try it!

    jiya joseph

    jiya - Most popular response

    19 May 12:21

    Proofreading checks are necessary for the people as it can help you in checking for the overused or unused words before sending the manuscript to a literary agent. This can be very helpful for the readers as they won’t find any repeated words which can be boring. die casting companies

    Daisy Faith

    Daisy

    23 May 07:37

    You have further more choices to go with. Like you can avail an affordable proofreading service online or you can get help with thesis writing help UK . As I have been doing since I started my graduation. It is really simple and easy. Try it!

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
Published on
21/03/2016
Tags
Expert tips, Proof reading, Manuscript, and Writing