What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is a last check to look for misspelled words, stray spaces, incorrectly constructed commas, and the like. It also checks for style issues, like inconsistently-capitalized words, formatting inconsistencies, and compliance with your chosen style guide.

Proofreading is usually the last step in your editing process before publication.

What proofreading isn’t

Proofreading isn’t a detailed analysis of your story. It doesn’t go over the major developmental issues your story might have. It doesn’t look for the Conflict, Choice, or Consequence of your story, and doesn’t help you with word choice and prose construction. If the fundamental elements of your story aren’t there, a proofread will not help you solve them.

What’s a Style Guide?

A style guide is a detailed description of how your manuscript should be formatted, special words spelled, and exceptions to generally-accepted English rules. In general, you’ll need to provide your chosen style guide if you want a special one used.

If you don’t choose a style guide, I use the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

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