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Thread: Finishing Touches

  1. #1
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    Finishing Touches

    Let’s say that you’ve finished typing the last word in a creative writing project. You’re puffed up with so much elation that you just can’t wait to post the work online. Not so fast there, Sparky. Before you share your magnum opus with the world, you’ve got one more important step to take.

    There’s no piece of writing in the universe that couldn’t benefit with one more run-through, a final round of proofreading. That goes for every writer, from small time bloggers to Pulitzer Prize winners. As sports announcers say, “I don’t care who you are.”

    Unless you’ve reached the point in your career at which proofreading is second nature, you may be uncertain as to how to approach the task. Fortunately, Richard Nordquist has offered a handy
    proofreading guide on his eminently useful grammar and composition website.


    If you have the time and inclination, take a peek at the listicle and let us know right here on this thread whether you find it helpful.

    I hearty second all of the advice, especially:
    #1. Give it a rest
    #3. Accuracy
    #5. Read the text aloud.
    #6. Use Spell-Check (but don’t fully rely upon it.)
    #8. Read the text backwards. This is a good idea, because you might get caught up with
    the content of the narrative and miss some glaring errors. (Yes, you want to see the forest, but don’t ignore the trees.)Start from the bottom up and read every sentence backwards.

    If you’re new to the writing game and you’d like to brush up on your punctuation skills, you’re welcome to check out this thread from 2010. WARNING: it contains a mixed metaphor, along with a proper name that wasn’t as highly-charged five years ago as it is today.

    Finally, on occasion a writer says to himself, “That’s it. I don’t want to change a thing.” That’s a rare feeling- -cherish it. Yet keep in mind the possibility that such excellence might not immediately reveal itself to others. Don’t assume that readers will magically know what you mean: all they have to go on is what’s in front of them on the page (or the PC screen.)

    When applying the finishing touches to a work, a writer should ask the ultimate question: does this really say what I want it to say?


    http://grammar.about.com/od/improvey...oofreading.htm

    http://www.online-literature.com/for...de+Punctuation

  2. #2
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    I recently happened to catch and stop what is termed a "safety alert" here on the project, which was to be delivered to approx 19,000 workers.

    It contained in the top right hand corner a picture of the Japanese Senior Director with one of those cartoon style balloons evolving from his mouth, and inside the one word "massage."

    Luckily I managed to both determine and insert the respected gentleman's "message," but could not help suppress a smile at the prospect of a crowd of Vietnamese workers lining up outside his door ready for a quick rub down. Thank God we did not get into the prospect of a "Happy Ending."

  3. #3
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    In addition to a spell checker a grammar checker is also useful.

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I finished reading Randy Davila's "Think Like a Publisher". He made a distinction between a "good writer" and a "well-published author". Most of these tips listed above help one become a good writer, which is the foundation, but getting to the next step of well-published author takes other skills, mostly in self-promotion, focus and platform building.

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    When I originally posted this, I forgot to emphasize the importance of accuracy. Always check your facts; don't depend on your memory alone. On the other hand, when fact-checking, use reliable sources. Be wary of using the Internet alone. Very often posters on various websites have picked up uncorrected errors and reposted them, ad infinitum.

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    The problem with 'thinking like a publisher' is that good writers know that so many important novels were rejected by publishers on the grounds that they were good, i.e. not simple enough for the mass market. There are exceptions but generally publishers are all about volume of sales.
    That doesn't mean that big sellers are all in the realm of pulp fiction but the excessive amount of it that fills the book shops is a good indication that most of it is.
    Who reads Warwick Deeping, E.Phillips Oppenheim or Rafael Sabatini now? all extremely prolific writers who made a mint of money for publishers who had an eye for the commonplace and probably little regard for quality writing.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    As I recall, Davila claims having a publisher gives a good writer only two benefits (1) easier access to bookstores and (2) easier access to foreign markets. Otherwise one can go the self-publishing route. But the problems remain the same. They still include things like self-promotion, focus and platform building rather than writing well which I guess is assumed to be there already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    The problem with 'thinking like a publisher' is that good writers know that so many important novels were rejected by publishers on the grounds that they were good,
    So THAT's why!

  9. #9
    Registered User UlyssesE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MANICHAEAN View Post
    I recently happened to catch and stop what is termed a "safety alert" here on the project, which was to be delivered to approx 19,000 workers.

    It contained in the top right hand corner a picture of the Japanese Senior Director with one of those cartoon style balloons evolving from his mouth, and inside the one word "massage."

    Luckily I managed to both determine and insert the respected gentleman's "message," but could not help suppress a smile at the prospect of a crowd of Vietnamese workers lining up outside his door ready for a quick rub down.
    Should have left it in. Oh, the hilarity this world was denied...

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