Friday, July 31, 2009

Grammar and Proofreading

When my company asked if I wanted to attend a "Mistake-Free Grammar and Proofreading" course, I jumped at the chance. You see those two things are not my strong suit. I either suffer from commanitis or a lack of commas. Sometimes my verbs don't agree with my nouns and I'm not sure when or where to use a semi-colon.

I learned a lot at this course, but it will be a matter of being able to retain it and use it.

A few things I found interesting.
(Reminder this was for technical writing but I think it can apply to fiction)

There are 3 phases of writing and what percentage of time they should take:

1. Pre-write (25%) - what is the goal of your document, consider your audience, research, outline
2. Write (25%)- Let it rip, turn off spell and grammar check (so you don't interrupt yourself but that green line that shows up) It was also suggested that if you do get interrupted by the phone or children that you indicate that in your document so you can make a special effort to proofread that part.
3. Proofreading and Editing (50%) - print off a copy, put it in a bigger font, read out loud and read backwards. It was also suggested that you block off text so you're not tempted to read ahead. Finally she said to spend more time than you think it will take.

Another interesting fact:

Sentence Length
8 words = 100% comprehension rate
15 words = 90% comprehension rate
19 words = 80% comprehension rate
28 words = 50% comprehension rate

Finally a story regarding punctuation.

An English professor wrote the words, "A woman without her man is nothing" on the chalkboard. He asked his students to add punctuation.

All the boys wrote, "A woman, without her man, is nothing."

All the girls wrote, "A woman: without her, man is nothing."

Definitely some things to think about. Have a good weekend everybody.


Lazy Writer said...

I love that last part! So funny! I have comma issues, too. See? Did I need one before the too? I'd say that % thing is true. I spent 3 months pre-writing, 3 months writing, and 6 months editing. Hmm...maybe I actually did something right! :)

Patti said...

LW: I'm hoping the ratio of pre-write, write and edit are better for my next book. This first one has been more than 50% editing.

jenniferneri said...

How cute!

I think for me, the proofreading and editing is much larger. much much larger :)

Patti said...

Jennifer: I'm glad to see that other people spend longer on editing.