Remember in primary school where you learned about punctuation, nouns, verbs and adverbs? Yeah, me neither. It’s all a vague recollection now. I do remember standing at the chalkboard (hmmm, am I dating myself with that? Do they even use chalkboards anymore?) staring at a sentence with no punctuation and the goal was to identify the parts of the sentence and correct the grammar. But that’s all I can remember. I can’t actually remember any of the rules I might have learned. Nope. Nada. I’ve got nothing.
You would think that being a voracious reader, I would instinctively know what is proper grammar and maybe in some ways I do. I certainly know when a particular bit of prose stinks, grammatically speaking. Some mistakes are so obvious, you wonder how an author ever let their book go to print with the error.
The main problem is that as an author you are too close to your own writing. You have read and re-read it over and over. You know what you meant to say and so you miss the glaring mistake. Reading your work out loud is a big help, but having a fresh set of eyes is the best thing to do. Beta readers are a very important cog in the wheel. Don’t try and publish without them.
I found this article online that offers some great tips about editing.
Check out The Ten Mistakes (that writers don’t see but can easily fix when they do) by Holt Uncensored.