Proofreading, Training the Eye

I have heard proofreading described as a talent, a science. I believe it is a learned skill. You have to slow your eyes and your mind down. See each word in its entirety, separate from the rest of the story, the rest of the sentence. But why, you may wonder, do you read slowly? If the wrong word has been inserted by spell-check or another software editing software and you’re only reading one word at a time, how do you catch errors in parallel construction and consistency? Spelling key words out loud can help, forcing you to look at each letter.

You have to read in two separate modes to proofread. One for typos or auto- change words from WORD or spell-check/grammar-check; and another read-through to make sure the facts are correct, like names, events, even descriptive passages. If the flowers along a path are beautiful red roses, and the next day they are yellow daffodils, you’ve got an inconsistent glitch not only in presentation, but in seasonal timeframe as well. It can be daunting to read and reread for different levels  of clarity, consistency, and accuracy, but it helps you to find the inconsistencies that creep into our writing that many times are not found until after it’s in-print. That’s when they jump out at you. Unfortunately, a little too late.

Most people who follow my blog know I do not recommend proofreading or editing your own work. Let another pair of eyes see what you’ll read right over because you wrote it. But even as you’re writing, stop, slow down, and read each page, each paragraph. Even read it aloud. If it sounds awkward or is difficult to read, you know you need to go back and do some finetuning.

You’ll be glad you did in the long run.








Excuse, please

Just a quick note to point out a correction. “India” ink was corrected to “Indigo” ink (Thank you, auto correct for messing it up), and I changed the line, “Copy without a camera and sowed seeds” to read:

“Copy without a camera or a copier reload”

Thanks for your  understanding or jeers and cheers. We all have to be able to laugh at ourselves.

Deborah A. Bowman, bowmanauthor


Writer’s Tools, So Much Change!

Writer’s Tools

cropped-computer-and-pencils.jpgA Writer’s Tools have changed
There has been so much gain
But a nagging hint of nostalgia remains

Cutting reeds and shaping quillscropped-blogbackground1.jpg
Pounded pigments, rainwater, ash-filled
Stretching animal hides
Leaving in the sun to dry

parchment with red
Crackling scratches on dried parchment

One slip, the writer’s lament

Start again, know not when

The price of dripping Indigo ink

Naught drying, naught sprinkling with sand

Naught scribing, brings one to the brink

… Of insanity

parchment with inking

New files, pixels, point sizes, layout

A better system, no doubt

Save, Open, Save As, Download

Copy without a camera or a copier reload

Cut without a knife; paste with no glue

The decision to see it through

Or delete and try again

It doesn’t matter when

Save or not to save?

In a hurry, Save and and go away…try another daycropped-cropped-my-writers-nook-e142126534230111.jpg

Creativity has not changed

Only the functions of the brain

More freedom for the laymen

More chances to begin again

Then, finally, the perfect words you trust

All gobbled up by a cyber virus.

No heart to try again

Perhaps a quill, ink, or pen?


Comparisons of the old and the new, pros and cons…




How to Polish Your Writing to Get Noticed…Accuracy, Clarity, Consistency

Perfection in Editing

I was watching an old Clarke Gable and Doris Day movie (who would have paired up those two?) entitled “Teacher’s Pet.” Gable was the crusty self-made newspaper editor, who ruled with an iron fist; Doris Day, the teacher who believed journalism should be taught at the college level to include editing and content development. Well, we sure know who won that war. “Sorry, Clarke.”

Early in the movie when asked the basic rule of newspaper copy, Gable’s character says, “Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy.”

I remember that adage, even though this movie was before my time in newspaper writing/prep and document editing. But the basics of Who, What, When, Where, and sometimes How haven’t changed, nor are these  rules restricted to journalism.

Whatever you are writing–fiction, nonfiction, business, promotional, a poem, a song, a letter, or even a journal entry–still needs to follow a planned sequence with a stated theme, subject, or genre; accurate, researched material to explain or verify the theme; and a logical, supported conclusion. It doesn’t matter the length or purpose of the piece: a book, an article, an essay, a short story, a paragraph, even a sentence. It used to be for newspaper articles, at least for the Army, you verified your facts and sources three times. This, too, has been dissolved by researching online with sometimes no credit for the facts and certainly not three verifications.

So why do I use Accuracy, Clarity, and Consistency? I’ve always used these criteria.

1. Accuracy is  easy to understand as the first basic rule, but maybe not as easy to achieve. Proofreading and copy editing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typos) is an art and a science. The eye and the mind must be trained to notice discrepancies, or you’ll read right over the errors, the mind assuming it knows what logically should come next, especially if you wrote it or input the data (what we used to call “typing”).

2. Clarity is clearness of thought, appropriateness of format, and sequential, logical organization. In a nutshell, “Does your writing make sense to you? To your readers–your audience? Does it make sense to other people besides your targeted audience?” These questions may have very different answers, which could present some problems or restrict the size of your audience.

3. Consistency is keeping your facts straight; your characters and their names/physical traits/habits/way of speaking straight; your story/event/scene or supporting material the same when mentioned in different areas of your media, but it’s more than that. Does it ring true? Is your fiction based in reality? Could it be realized? Is your dialogue realistic? Is your choice of words consistent with the tone and voice of the writer? Do you prove your point and support your conclusion?

Just some ideas I was thinking about today that I wanted to share. I hope it brings you accuracy, clarity, and consistency in your future writing.

Thank you, Clarke Gable and Doris Day for reminding me how things used to be and how they really haven’t changed. Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy still gets your message across and lets your writing be noticed … in a good way.

Deborah A. Bowman

Do you need some assistance in getting your book ready to market?


A short note from the CEO of Clasid Consultants Publishing, Inc., Deborah A. Bowman:

I am an author, writer/editor, proofreader, book reviewer, cover/graphics designer, and publisher with 20+ years of experience. I really like to help new writers start off with a quality book. It’s how you get noticed and have your writing taken seriously.

I’m willing to coach and to teach, and questions are free. I learned to write, format, and layout books start-to-finish the old fashioned way, when cut-and-paste was done with an Xacto knife, scissors, light-table, and adhesive. The quality of these books was incredible, but it took as long as a year or more to crop, scale, strip-in, correct, and proofread one letter at a time.

I have taken my skills and applied them to the current technology. There are pros and cons to both, but I believe the quality of yester-year can be achieved with the rapidity of technology today. Do a search for writing, editing, proofreading, and tricks-of-the-trade for information I have already shared on my blog,

My company is The website is up and running, but we’re constantly adding new consultants and referral partners. Notify us if you want to be included in our list of experts and specialists. Let me help you be the best that you can be at your chosen craft! My rates are based on your needs and budget. I’ll read and critique your first chapter for free!