The Writer

THE FINAL SPELLCHECK

IT should go without saying that any manuscript that we submit for publication should be so free of sin and error that it will go straight to heaven the very second that the end comes. Perfection should be baseline. Or, at least, near-perfection.

I work with a lot of different manuscripts (my own, my students’, my professional clients’ and colleagues’) and, frankly, most of them are a mess. They have allegedly been spellchecked and proofread, but we all know that the hand that makes the error is connected to the eye that can’t see it. Likewise, the computer that didn’t detect the error in the first place won’t find it later.

A fundamental problem these days is that we’ve all become dependent on our software to catch the mistakes in fiction manuscripts; only a human eye (preferably not your own) can do that. The software is very vigilant, however, and magnificent in its own way. This list will attempt to teach you how to harness that vigilance to your own benefit.

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