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Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Spell Check...friend or foe?
Spell Check is a wonderful device. The problem is, too many people trust it to be their proof-reader--if there are no red squiggly lines under the words, then the spelling must be correct, right?
the is the correct spelling....unless you meant them
accept is the correct spelling....unless you meant except
he is the correct spelling...unless you meant she
And as with the last example, mixing up simple genders might not make the best impression on an editor reading your manuscript.
Perhaps this is your first submission, perhaps you don’t know all the ins and outs of Point of View or Goal-Motivation-Conflict; that is all part of the learning curve and feedback an editor can give you. But one of the comments you don’t want from an editor is that your manuscript was sloppy with a lot of spelling errors that could have easily been avoided by a good proofing. You don’t want an editor thinking you’re lazy; you want them thinking you are a diamond in the rough that they can’t wait to help shine.
Proofing your manuscript is one of the simplest things you can do to ensure a good read by an editor. But don't leave it up to your word program's spell checker. One of the best ways to proof is to simply read your story out loud--you will be AMAZED how many things you can discover when reading aloud, everything from spelling to sentence structure to paragraph beats (Paragraph beats? What's that? you say--don't worry *wink* I will be talking in the future.)
Just to be fair, though, Spell Check can be a good friend to international writers submitting to American publishers--IF you make sure the dictionary on your word program is set to the proper dictionary (eg: US). It is a good catch for words that you have used your whole life according to the country you live in. Canada for instance: colour vs color, favour vs favor etc. Both are correct--depending which country is publishing the book. Just don't rely on it for that final proofing before submission.