As writers and authors, we’ve all read many self-editing books and articles. We know about showing and not telling, and RUE, and formatting, and all kinds of other things. Today, let’s talk about the obvious.
Punctuation – is it in the proper place? Which sentence is correct?
- “Why didn’t you tell me”?
- “Why didn’t you tell me?”
The problem is, we know what it’s supposed to say, and how the punctuation is meant to be arranged, so we see it that way. We need a few days away from our story to notice this kind of thing. When we do hire our editor, we want them to do the important things, not little stuff like this.
You might think that is such a silly mistake. And it is. But when we get to writing, and our fingers are flying, things like this can happen.
- Don’t trust your spell check. Your editor is going to look at every word – you should too.
- Spell check doesn’t consider context.
- If you meant pole but wrote poll, it’s not going to be flagged.
More crimes are committed by commas than any other punctuation mark. I can’t say that for sure and certain, but I know I have personally committed more crimes with a comma than with anything else. I had a bad habit of placing a comma every time I paused in typing my sentence. That’s just crazy!
And finally, make sure to spell out words –
- thru is wrong, through is correct
- ok is wrong, okay is correct
This is your last check before shipping your manuscript off to your editor. And I would love to be your editor.