I’m slowly learning the art of proofreading, or should I say rewriting, and rewriting again. There is a difference between writing something and making sure all the punctuation and spelling is correct, and writing something to show action, grasp the reader, and not use any exclamation points. I had no idea; until I decided to write a fiction novel.

I’ll give you an example. “Millie was mad because her husband was late and dinner was drying out, then the dog peed on the rug!”         OR         “Millie looked at the clock one more time wondering if her husband had been in an accident. She tried adding some more milk to the dried-out casserole, but ended up throwing the mixing spoon into the sink when she spotted the puppy peeing on the rug.”

The first example has no misspelled words and has correct punctuation, but leaves the reader with a ‘who cares’ attitude. The second example shows the reader Millie’s frustration without using the word frustrated. Showing action, not telling, is an art form I am slowly improving at. I spent a portion of my morning reading about the current publishing trend that takes all exclamation points out of text. I’m still having trouble with that one. I learned in school an exclamation point was used instead of a descriptive word, like yelled. The thought now, is if the writing doesn’t tell you someone is yelling, it needs to be rewritten so it does. Again and again.

I’m also learning you can’t depend on just spell-check to keep you from needing to proofread because if you use the correct word, but the wrong spelling, the computer won’t tell you. Depending on the publishing year of Word you have installed on your computer, it will also tell you something is wrong when you know it isn’t, like the spelling of a street name, or a Jewish word.

Writing is a favorite past-time of mine, but it can also be very frustrating. I think I have made something perfectly clear and when six people read the same piece of my work, three of them don’t get my meaning. I guess it’s sort of like a doctor that doesn’t explain things because he knows what he is talking about, but you, as the patient, haven’t got a clue.

I’m always rewriting; writing never seems to be totally done. The good thing is, I learn from others who proofread my work, to be a better proofreader for myself.