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How short story proofreading can help you win writing competitions

You may be wondering: what’s the point of short story proofreading?

When you enter a competition, your work will be judged based on how well it fits the competition theme or rules, as well as against all other entrants. To win, you have to make sure that you’ve abided by all competition rules, stuck to the theme or prompt, and submitted the best story you can.

That’s where short story proofreading comes in.

A person’s hands hover over their laptop keyboard to type.

What does a proofreader check for in a short story?

The fundamentals of proofreading involve checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors; inconsistencies (such as different spellings or punctuation marks used); and typos.

After writing a short story, you’ll edit it at least once, where you as the writer might spot some of these problems and correct them. Unfortunately, chances are that you’ll also introduce more errors.

Usually, a proofreader comes in during the production stages of publishing a novel or anthology. Most writers don’t think they need to consider proofreading at all, past their own understanding and use of proofreading.

When it comes to short story competitions, you’ll want to think differently.

Judges want to read the best short stories possible from all entrants, but what many writers don’t realise is how judges respond to errors. To improve your chances of impressing writing competition judges, you need to make sure any mistakes won’t detract from or clutter your story.

Does proofreading guarantee that you’ll win a short story competition?

There’s no way to guarantee that you’ll win any writing competition, but you can increase your chances of winning.

A combination of editing, critiques, and proofreading will put you in a much better position to win writing competitions. By editing your work, you can improve your story and strengthen its descriptions and plot. Asking other writers for constructive criticism will allow you to improve the story based on multiple outside opinions. A proofread is essential to finish up the process, by finding mistakes you’ve missed or even introduced during your editing process.

If you’re strapped for time, the least you can do is get someone else to proofread your work for you. Why? Because an error-laden short story isn’t going to give the competition judges the impression that you want to be seen as a serious writer, and it’s also going to distract them from enjoying your entry.

Short story proofreading from a professional freelancer will catch all these distracting mistakes. You often can’t see typos, missing punctuation, inconsistent punctuation, or spelling and grammar mistakes in your own work because you’re so used to what’s written.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of winning a short story competition, you should be prepared to edit once your story is finished, join a writing critique group online or in-person, and consider purchasing a short story proofreading service.

The value of short story proofreading

The value of proofreading can’t be understated: every publishing company uses proofreaders, and proofreading is essential to the production of stories.

Especially prolific short story writers – particularly those who love entering multiple competitions per season or want to submit to short story anthologies – can take advantage of a short story proofreading service bundle. If you send in multiple short stories at once, you’ll benefit from a discount.

Contact me with any questions and I’ll quote you based on the total word count of the writing you want proofread.

1 thought on “How short story proofreading can help you win writing competitions”

  1. Pingback: Should you hire a short story proofreader? | H Noss Proofreads

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