Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Writerly Wednesday ~~ The Art of Proofreading

Happy rainy Hump Day, y'all. I love when the sky cries for long hours; it makes being outside or the prospect of running errands evaporate, leaving me concentrating better on the WiP or creating Visual Poetry (VisPo). I spent the whole day yesterday with my Sharpies doodling over pages of words. I'll post some of my favs soon, and get your thoughts on this fun and creative endeavor.


Before we discuss the vital importance of revising our writing through careful proofreading, I wanted to tell ya there's a cool contest brewing. Check back tomorrow for more details!


Reading prose for our fall issue of Rose & Thorn Journal, I've noticed a lot of sloppiness in sentence structure and clarity of meaning lately. Often we write quickly, our fingers struggling to keep up with our speeding brains, and mistakes follow. That's why it is Be double and triple sure you are saying what you intend to say, and that your words aren't betraying you!

The following examples sent to me by a friend illustrate what I'm talking about better than anything I've read in a long time. Plus, they made me smile.

Have you ever written something like these actual newspaper headlines?


Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

War Dims Hope for Peace

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Hospitals Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead


If you just can't get enough, here are more Headline Fails to oggle. :D



jinksy said...

Touch of foot in mouth before brain in gear! Lovely set of what-not-to examples...

Diane said...

Funny! What one tiny wording can change... :O)

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Love the headlines! What a difference word structure can be to the meaning you are trying to convey!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Yeah, Jinksy, I learn best by these visual examples too. :)

Diane - Yes ma'am. So true.

Donna - It's a known side effect from fingers flying across the keyboard trying to keep up with a brain on fire!

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh, those are good. My paper had a recent headline: Fire likely caused destruction of house. Ya think???

Janna Qualman said...

It's a good call, Angie! We could all use to slow down a bit, and ensure we're doing our best.

You make me want rain. :)

patti said...

GREAT examples!
I seem to be catching more and more errors in modern novels, despite all our "advances"!


Kathryn Magendie said...

I think one of the biggest mistakes writers make is when they are in too much of a hurry to submit - whether to publishers, agents, or literary magazines, et cetera.

Stop, take a breath, make the work something you will be proud of -- and the place is not going anywhere, so take your time - if the place IS going somewhere and you are afraid to miss out, then maybe it's not the place you should be looking into!

Finally, if in doubt, read aloud, or have a trusted friend or colleague read something you are not sure about...make sure that friend or colleague knows you mean business and knows to be honest!

Terri Tiffany said...

LOL I love these!! And I know I need to edit everything!!

Marisa Birns said...

Laughing more as I read down the list!

That poor veterinarian! :)

Yes, editing is always necessary. Always.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Great thoughts, y'all.

Kat...couldn't agree more!

Marguerite said...

Great examples of careless proofreading, and so funny, too! My problem is that I edit too much! I edit, then edit, and then edit, again. But with recipes, one error could ruin the results. Loved this rainy day, too!

Marguerite said...

Oh and ps. There's a little surprise for you, over at my place, sha!

Carrie said...

HAHAH. Good morning giggles from you dear lady!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Marguerite, thanks for the beautiful award, sha! :D

Carrie --- so glad you enjoyed. Laughins is one of life's good gifts.

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