There are many good writers out there who ask that question everyday. They believe their writing prowess, along with spell check and grammar check, is enough to get by with. “Why hire an editor or proofreader?” they ask. Well, I’ll give you the four most common mistakes that even good writers make that will hopefully have you think again about the need for an editor.
- Homonyms. A homonym is a word that sounds like another word but has a different meaning, and in many instances, a different spelling. One that many school children have problems with which often carries into adulthood is the case of there, their, they’re. Well, guess what? In the vast majority of cases, spell check won’t tell you if you used the wrong one. If you used a word that is spelled right, spell check can’t usually distinguish if it’s the wrong word. As far as it’s concerned, it’s right, so you’re in trouble.
- Redundancy. Have you ever fallen into the trap that your brain decides that it likes a particular word so it uses it over and over again, and you may not even realize it? Spell and grammar check could care less that you’ve used the word meticulous three times in the last paragraph, but an editor or proofreader will catch it and point it out to you, along with some synonyms that you can change it to.
- Common Sense. Have you read anything that is grammatically correct but just makes no sense whatsoever? It’s quite easy to do, and you definitely don’t want to do it in your own writing. A human being will read your writing and point out things that just don’t sound right or could use some polish; good luck getting your word processing program to touch it.
- Consistency. This one is big, particularly for those of you who are writing fiction. Ever have a character or a place that, in the middle of your text, you change the name? A person can make sure that the name is changed throughout the entire text. Also, a person can make sure that your plot flows. Just because your plot flows in your head doesn’t mean you didn’t leave out an important detail on paper. Or maybe you flip-flop between past and present tense for no reason. An editor can point out inconsistencies with plenty of time to fix it. It would be quite an embarrassment for a fan to point it out.
So, as you can see, there are a number of reasons to hire an editor or proofreader and it is well your investment. You can never be too careful when it comes you your work and getting it to read perfectly.