For today’s article I have Esther Magar, she is the author of the blog Relatos Magar. Esther is a writer and proofreader, so I asked her to write me a short article explaining why it is necessary for a writer to learn to correct their own texts. Correction is one of those tools that I always tell you that you need in your toolboxes.
Without further ado, I leave you with Esther.
Does a writer need to learn proofreading?
“The second version is the same as the first version minus ten percent”
Today I visit the virtual house of Jaume Vicent Bernat to answer a question: does a writer need to learn correction?
Yes. Period .
It seems so obvious to me that I’m not even going to argue my answer. All agree, right? Well, let’s go to the beers, invites the host…
Oh wait! I see one who shakes his head. Yes, you, you. Now don’t hide. I know what you are thinking, I know many like you: you are an artist, your creativity cannot be subjected to the yokes of the regulations. Then a proofreader will take care of putting accents and commas; but don’t touch too much, everything is written exactly how you wanted to write it.
If you think that when you put an end to your story all the work is done, you are wrong, a lot. That’s only half the way, there are several fixes ahead, starting with the style one. Just by removing redundancies, repetitions, and expendable chained verbs, a good number of pages are removed from a manuscript. Because “the second version is the same as the first version minus ten percent.” Do you think I’m exaggerating? Of course, as I am a proofreader, I love to slaughter the novels of unsuspecting writers who are put into my hands. But the phrase of the percent is not mine, but Stephen King, a regular guest of Excentrya, who knows a while of the ghost writing services.
Copyediting is not a task that you have to delegate to a proofreader and that’s it . To grow as a writer, it is recommended that you know how to analyze your text word by word, to choose the most concrete and expressive at all times and to cross out all those phrases that do not lead anywhere, no matter how beautiful they are. “You are not a writer because you have chosen to say certain things, but because of the way they are said”, as Jean Paul Sartre said. There is the difference between a letter joiner and a real writer.
And then comes the orthographic correction, essential. Yes, yes, the one about typos and misspellings. And that of italics, quotation marks, upper and lower case letters, punctuation, concordances, prepositions… That is, a check of the spelling, grammar and typography of the text; basic knowledge for any professional of the letters. Because if you pass the rules that govern our language, you don’t deserve to call yourself a writer. You are just “a lazy person who doesn’t take the art of writing seriously, who wants to avoid the less attractive parts and thus you will never be able to write well.” This phrase is not mine either, but Isaac Belmar’s, but I subscribe to it from beginning to end.
Would you trust a doctor who can’t tell a vein from an artery? From a cook who mistakes a potato for a sweet potato? Well, I don’t trust you either if you don’t know how to handle your work tool with ease. A writer must know correctness because it helps them to perfect their language skills and because it develops their capacity for self-criticism. The result is a qualitative leap in his writing, which will be more understandable and aesthetic, something that readers and literature in general will appreciate. So I re-pose the question: does a writer need to learn proofreading? Do not beg and answer, you know I’m right. Come on…
Yes, of course a writer must know correctness. But ugh, how lazy, where to start? Do I memorize the dictionary?
Well, it is not that difficult to learn correction, you will see. If you want to know what elements you have to review in your writings, go to the courses on Correction of Style for Writers and Orthotypographic Correction for Writers of Books and Literature. In just over a month I will teach you the correction method and, above all, you will internalize that critical attitude so as not to settle for the first draft and get the full potential out of your stories. Registration is open during the month of May and places are limited. When you discover the world of correction, you will never read your texts with the same eyes again.