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Tuesday, April 26, 2016


It is very important for every author to have their own self-editing sheet.  I say "their own" because, though a sample sheet from someone or somewhere might be used, each self-editing sheet should be constantly added to, customized, making this amazing device unique to each author.  Anytime a critique partner, proof-reader, or editor notes something to you such as a constant correction they are finding or making, add it to your list.

I have a sheet I use when editing manuscripts and which has evolved and grown over the years--things I've added because a number of authors may have issues with them in their manuscripts, or something new I've learned (yes, even editors learn something new every day), or little things I want to make sure I didn't overlook (because sometimes stories are so good I catch myself being a reader and have to go back a few pages to re-read as an editor.)  Some items on my list are simple, some more complex.

I realized the other day that it would be a great idea to do a regular blog post on helpful items to add to your own self-editing sheet.

First up, it seems only fitting to share a few of the initial ones I began with on my own list:

a) taught vs taut--this is one of those that the spelling is so close you might glance over it quickly, your mind filling in the blanks automatically.  This happens with a lot of words because you are often so focused on looking for bigger things.  It also falls into the same jumbled word category as one of my previous posts with reign vs rein. Taught = teach, taut = pulled tight, stretched, controlled.

b) alright--technically, this is not a word and should be changed to "all right" as the correct use.

c) blond vs blonde--though the difference is masculine vs feminine, it is actually okay to use either word for both males and females.  However, the most important thing to remember and note is to keep to one style throughout your manuscript.  You should not have a blond male and blonde female and then later in the story have a blond female.  Make a choice and keep it unified throughout.  As soon as I come across the first reference in a manuscript I'm editing, I circle the author's choice on my sheet; this way, I can fix any references that then come up in a different style.

You can check out a few more items to add to your list on another of my previous posts HERE.

Self-editing sheet...don't submit without using one first!


  1. 'definitely' -vs- 'defiantly' is one that I recently saw in the blurb of an indie author's debut.
    'then' -vs- 'than' is another one I spotted in another blurb a week or so ago.

    And yes, I've had my editor correct both of those for me at one time or another. :)

    1. LOL. And yep, I've seen similar. The self-edit list, as a bonus, can help proof...but it is always important to get that final proof-read done after all the editing is complete for just that reason.