The Final Proofread


I’ve discovered the final read of a manuscript is not much different in English or German. Yeah, so they are two different languages, but once the writer is ready to submit their manuscript to an agent or for self publishing, there are a few things to check that don’t depend on language.

To make this step easier, I:

  • change the font to anything other than the font I normally type in,
  • increase the viewing to %175,
  • turn the invisible characters on,
  • AND, read slowly.

This step takes time. For an 80,000 word manuscript, I need 40 hours to do this properly. That’s 40 hours of intense concentration without interruptions.

What do I look for? At this point, I’ve already proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes so I want to check for:

  • extra spaces,
  • double periods,
  • quotations marks that don’t have a matching partner,
  • extra lines between paragraph or page breaks,
  • consistent heading format for chapters,
  • consistent headers, footers and page numbering.

Before you send of your manuscript, don’t forget to:

  • remove bookmarks,
  • accept or reject any changes,
  • and turn off markups,

Your story may great, but you give yourself an edge over other submissions if your manuscript is technically perfect.

If you have any tips, let me know.


11 thoughts on “The Final Proofread

  1. I just heard of the reading backwards tip, too! There’s some easy things you should do on the final step: It’s important to make sure paragraphs are spaced naturally & not by repeated carriage returns. Press Ctrl+H. In the “Find what” field, enter: ^p^p In the “Replace with” field, enter ^p Click “Replace All” It’s also important to get rid of any Tab characters that may have been incorrectly used for indents: Ctrl+H In the “Find what” field, enter ^t Leave the “Replace With” field empty Click “Replace All” *To get rid of any errant double spaces, press Ctrl+H. In the “Find What” field, enter two spaces (” “). In the Replace With field, enter one space: (” “) Then hit Replace All. ~Hope that helps & haPPy editiNG to ya:-)


    1. Jamie, these are great tips too! I was hoping if I posted about this, I’d get some return information. I love to add this stuff to my check list! I never would have known how to do this.


      1. Jamie, I tried this and it worked well. The only caution I would make is about the global replace. I use two paragraph breaks to leave two lines between scenes. The other thing I find I often type wrong is putting a space between the period at the end of a sentence and the paragraph break. I used your method with a space followed by ^p to fix up this one. Great info.


  2. This suggestion probably applies more to technical writing, but I think it would help when checking for extra lines between paragraph or page breaks. I do the opposite of what you do: I shrink the viewing to 50% to get a visual image of the text. I find it easier to see extra white space, missing page breaks, orphaned lines, etc when I can see the whole page on my screen at once.


    1. Jan, this is a great suggestion too. I hadn’t thought of trying to see the page in a smaller view to see what pops out at me. Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to put all of these together in one place.


  3. Great post and great comments!
    I hadn’t considered changing the font, but I will definitely try that, along with the other great tips here. 🙂


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