Saturday, February 15, 2014

Writing Basics: Proofreading and Book Editing Tools

Writing is an adventure!
Looking back on the last two years gives me the right to say that! Starting at nothing and moving toward something started me on an unknown and winding journey. I can look back now and say, I really didn't know what I was doing when I first started out. All I knew was I wanted to write a book as a way to share my thoughts. Before that, I wanted to write, but it was more for the purpose of writing's sake, not for the purpose of sharing a heart-felt message.

My newest venture in this unknown land, is in the area of editing and proofreading.
Quite by accident I landed at The Christian PEN, an organization whose purpose is to help Christian authors, proofreaders, and editors develop their writing skills into marketable services. I signed on as a way for self-development, professional development that will help me become acquainted with this side of the business, and to improve my editing skills (and knowledge of language constructs). I quickly enrolled in a proofreading class already in progress. I also signed up for their Christian PENN conference plus another Christian Writers conference since they dove-tail together back-to-back. My purpose in joining up was to get better at what I do as an author, and, maybe, even down the road, incorporate proofreading and editing as a side-income.

Like any job, you have to have the right tools, the tools of the trade.
We are five weeks into the class. The message comes out loud and clear. You have to do it right, use the right reference tools, and double check your work. The Chicago Manual of Style is the style guide of all style guides, the one used for secular work. The Christian Writer's Manual of Style is for Christian books. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is the standard reference tool of the professionals. It is the right dictionary to use. Dictionaries don't all match in word spellings (really!). The Associated Press Stylebook is the reference tool to use for article writing. All of these reference tools should be the most recent edition. For Christian writers, it is also important to note that scripture quotes must be carefully checked for wording, punctuation, and citings. Familiar passages are easy to quote incorrectly. Just because it can be found on the internet does not mean it is quoted correctly.
It helps to know your stuff!
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide, is a newly published book that will be a great asset to any serious writer. I can already tell that it will come in handy and is user-friendly. It is written by the founder of The Christian PEN. She has done us a favor by giving us a handy dandy book that is practical and helpful.

I will include a link to should you wish to hurry on over there right now to purchase one of these books.   " "

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