Typos

No matter how careful I think I am, one or two (or three or even four!) always remain, dancing on the page like it’s 1999.

Of course, I don’t notice the drunken partiers until someone points them out.

And like spinach caught in braces, there’s not much I can do except retreat, fix the problem, and act like nothing happened.

Or, before I publish, I can minimize the embarrassment by utilizing one of the typo-hunting tips below.

Change the Font

Or print it out. Or read it on a Nook or iPhone or even another computer. How ever you change it up – change the viewing platform. For whatever reason, this seems to break the bond between me and my text. It is amazing how typos, and punctuation errors, jump off the page  (like fleas) when I do that.

Read Backwards

This doesn’t often work for me because I usually get annoyed with reading my piece one word at a time and skip “back” to read forward in snippets, but even doing what amounts to mini-reads helps me find typos.

Go For a Walk

No matter how many times I re-read something, it isn’t until after I take my dog for a quick, 10-minute walk that I can then spot the nits-and-zits in a piece. For me, it is both the physical space change and time away from my work that allows an objective review. I suppose, it is another way to clear the brain-slate so I can read with “fresh eyes”. Speaking of fresh eyes…

Get the Dog to Read It

Well, my dog isn’t that smart (I think), but when I can’t get my husband to do it, sometimes my dog is the only one around for me to ask. Regardless of who I get to read my work, friends can be great typographic-error hunters. They don’t know what I meant to say, so things like ‘bacon’ for ‘beacon’ are easy to identify – for them.

Make a Speech

My husband and I live in a small cottage. Just about every sound one of us makes can be heard by the other. Even so, I have been known to read my work out loud. The act of reading something aloud highlights a number of things, not just typographical errors. I’ve noticed shoddy sentence construction, confusing paragraphs and poor pacing. And info-dumps. When I have to say an info-dump, it is amazing how quickly I try to get through it, sometimes even skipping phrases – a sure sign that a revision is needed.

Those are my tips for catching all those elusive typos. I don’t always use each one (though I should), but these methods have helped.

What about you? Do you have a great way to catch your typos?

 

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13 thoughts on “Typos

  1. Great thoughts on annoying problem.

    Changing ‘platform’ works well for me, be it moving from sciverner to word or either to paper. I also like to read things aloud, less for finding true typos and more for flow, awkwardness, pronoun confusion, etc. Although I tend to do that in places, not throughout.

    Letting something sit for several weeks or months can also help. I’ve got a break planned from my current project where I am going to set it aside and do story development on my next project for a bit.

    But in the end, I’m always amused by just how much slips through 🙂

    1. Yup! I definitely know what you mean. It is just so embarrassing because those beta readers think you are a writer, and shouldn’t you know better than to use their when you really mean they’re?

  2. Or print it out. Or read it on a Nook or iPhone or even another computer. How ever you change it up – change the viewing platform. For whatever reason, this seems to break the bond between me and my text. It is amazing how typos, and punctuation errors, jump off the page (like fleas) when I do that.

    With the blog, this is easy because you can preview the post.

    Most effective though is taking a break from it. Go for a walk, or a run, or go to the shops – just let your mind take you away from your editing.

    1. Yeah, I’ve found it is the physical removal of my body that is needed. I guess it just gets the blood flowing – literally. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I had overlooked this post! Some great tips here for spotting typos, I have used them all over the years and they all work. The best one is usually another person. Some people are very good at noticing typos, but others are not. I spot them everywhere, and they are very common on major newspaper websites and more than a few blogs, not to mention my own comments! 😉 Occasionally I reread a section of one of my older posts and find one – very embarrassing! :oop:

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