Memoir Proofreading FAQ
Best answers to your questions
We believe that every memoir can benefit from proofreading. After reading this memoir proofreading FAQ page, give us a ring to set up your proofreading.
Q. Can I see a sample of the proofreader’s work?
A. We can certainly understand your wish to check a proofreader out before you engage for services although, in the end, the finished product is still the author’s creation. Authors can always override a proofreader’s suggested changes, which can occur if the author is striving to maintain what s/he calls “voice” or is simply enamored of the original text.
A proofreader’s task in that case is to serve as a defender of the quality AND the voice of the manuscript, but the author always has the final say. For this reason, in this memoir proofreading FAQ, as much s we want to, it is difficult to say we can offer you a finished product to convey the proofreader’s ability and expertise. You will always get the author’s product.
Q. What if I do not like the proofreader’s work?
A. The hour trial is your opportunity to check on a proofreader. At the end of the hour, you will receive several pages of proofed text. We would encourage you to engage with the proofreader to check out why s/he made suggestions you might disagree with. But note that even in those cases where the proofreader has misunderstood what you wrote, this can become a positive for your manuscript: it means that a misunderstanding has been inadvertently built into your text and other readers may also misunderstand. This is an opportunity for you to rewrite and eliminate the ambiguity.
Q. Is good grammar always important? Will the proofreader insist on correct grammar and sanitize my text?
A. This is something you need to discuss with the proofreader. The short answer I can provide in this memoir proofreading FAQ is, of course, good grammar is important!
But this would not really be a sufficient answer. If you think of grammar as a code that facilitates communication, then good grammar becomes essential to any piece of writing. Too often, however, good grammar is associated with “stuffy” writing. Of course, good grammar is not stuffy; it is a vehicle for understanding and clear meaning.
There are two places in any memoir where a good proofreader — and earlier a writer and an editor — would handle grammar differently from the usual “correct” way.
The first is with dialogue—whether direct or indirect. The dialogue ought to reflect the spoken word of your subject, and as such, it will reveal the educational, cultural, and social background of a character who is quoted and any other characters who might appear in the narrative and speak in indirect dialog. A memoir character’s direct speech generally should not be altered. The proofreader’s challenge is to make sure that any phonetic equivalents of the spoken language are easily understood by readers.
A second instance of handling grammar appears in the narrative. The largest portion of a typical memoir will be narrative text and not quoted text. The narrative is everything that is not dialogue, and this part of the memoir should be written in a way that is easy to read and understand: another way of saying this is that it should be “grammatically correct.”
Your proofreader will talk with you about your goals for your text, what to keep, and what to avoid. Remember: you can always ask a personal memoir proofreading FAQ with your proofreader.
Q. Does the proofreader have a responsibility to fact-check data included in the book?
A. This is usually an editor’s job, and a proofreader would generally not be noting this unless there is a glaring error. You can, however, instruct your proofreader to fact-check if you wish.
Q. Will the proofreader do any editing?
A. Your proofreader is likely to do what you might think of as light editing. This is inevitable as s/he brings a fresh perspective to your writing and may catch issues which even your editor let pass by unmarked as s/he was reading and rereading your story.
Q. What if I have not had any editing done? Can I still have my manuscript proofread?
A. If you have not worked with an editor, there are two possibilities:
- If you are confident about the viability and correctness of your text, you can ask your proofreader to do light editing. Your proofreader will be straightforward with you if s/he feels that your text needs more in-depth editing.
- You can contact the office for an editorial review of your text.
A conclusion to the memoir proofreading FAQ
In this memoir proofreading FAQ, we have attempted to answer the most frequently asked questions, but if you still have a question that is not answered, please give us a ring at 207-353-5454 or email us.
Are you ready to work with one of the best memoir proofreaders available?
We offer an introductory package—try us for a one-hour commitment. That’s it: one hour! If we’re a fit, you ask us for more time. If we’re not a fit, we go our separate ways.