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Grammar in Fiction 4: Self-editing Basics

We've spent this month talking about grammar and learning how it should (and shouldn't) be applied to fiction. Now, let's look at editing your work. You have the know-how, so how do you put it into practise?


Some common mistakes to look out for:

  • Apostrophe placement

  • Homonyms

  • Americanisms

  • Head-hopping

  • Tense changes

  • Colons & semi-colons

  • Redundant words


1. Read your content aloud

The easiest way to pick up mistakes is to read your work aloud, line by line. This will help you notice issues in punctuation. Listen for where commas need to be added, where dialogue could sound more realistic, or where sentences need to be rearranged.



2. Run it through a spell-checker

You can get a Grammarly account easily, and it picks up lots of smaller mistakes. This can be a great starting off point, and you can start to see trends in where you often make mistakes. However, be careful not to trust it completely. Often, these tools correct your work with AI systems that lack context. They're particularly bad for sentence structure and tone of voice.

Read using a different medium

A big reason we miss our own mistakes is that we're so close to the work, we stop seeing it. By changing things as simple as the font or background, you're seeing the writing through new eyes. An even better way to proof-read is to print out your work, or even handwrite it!


Head back to my blog page to see all of this month's Grammar in Fiction posts, and sign up to the All Write Newsletter to never miss a blog.

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