Monday, August 10, 2009

Most of us, as we write our novels or articles, hit the keys on the keyboard with such speed so as not to lose our train of thought, that we rarely pay attention to spelling as we go. The voice in the back of our mind tells us to keep writing. We’ll catch any spelling errors later, when we run our piece through Spell-check.

Sound familiar? The unfortunate fact is that Spell-check doesn’t always catch our spelling errors. In fact it cannot differentiate between spellings of the same word. So you might need you’re and you wrote your, and Spell-check accepts it as correct, but it isn’t.

Some of us are aware of this idiosyncrasy so we read our work aloud when we have completed it. This practice catches some of the errors, but not all of them. Why? Because the brain fills in what the eye cannot see.

This is why we, as an industry, suggest fresh readers to critique a writer’s piece before sending it to a publisher or agent. If a reading volunteer can’t be found, you have a method readily available within yourself…your brain, your right brain to be exact!

Most of you reading this may ask. “What is the difference?” The answer is “plenty.”

The right brain is structured in a different way than the left. It accepts what it sees for face value and does not make any subconscious connections to insure meaning, as the left-brain does. The left-brain is logical and strives to make things make sense. The right brain is creative and recognizes individual words arranged in a way, which is considered nonsense by the left-brain.

So how does brain structure help you proof your writing for spelling errors? The secret is to read the piece backwards. This practice will make no sense to your left brain, so much so that it will literally stop trying to read the words, leaving the right brain to plug along and recognize each word as a separate entity. If a word is misspelled, the right brain will find it.

So there you have it. The secret method that will help writers with their spelling errors. Of course this practice should only be applied to short stories or articles. Reading an entire novel backwards might make you eligible for the psychotherapy ward, but that’s another problem.

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