But, as boring as that job could be, it also taught me a few valuable processes that I still use today.
One thing I learned from the process of proofreading = focusing on one thing at a time.
For instance, a good proofreader will go through an entire manuscript focusing only on headings and subheadings. Are they in the right font? Are they all indented consistently? etc.
I use a similar approach to revision.
I read through the entire manuscript looking for only one element to revise.
- Focus on consistency of point of view (This is a biggie. It's VERY easy to jump out of point of view and you might miss it if you aren't totally focused on that particular element of the writing.)
- Focus on unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. (Eliminate anything that doesn't advance the story, reveal character or enhance setting. Don't be word drunk, as Donald Murray calls it.)
- Watch out for overused words. We all have our darlings to kill. Mine happen to be: now, then, and every now and then. (And remember to use the features of your word processing program - like SEARCH. If you think you may be overusing a word, search for it.)
- Watch for sentences, paragraphs, scenes or even characters that repeat or serve the same purpose. (Resist the urge to repeat yourself - whether it's words or ideas.)