I love to pick at things. I won’t disgust you with the details, but if my fingernail can pry it loose, you can bet I’m going to try. I also apply this obsessiveness to theories, plots, and pretty much any story that a person can invent. I often have to warn people that I play the devil’s advocate to a fault — I can’t help myself. If there’s a way for me to wiggle in there, I will.

I’ve always figured I’m a little off-center since I absolutely love proof-reading bodies of text, but I’ve slowly come to accept that Hey! I might actually be good at this. I’ve critiqued several friends’ novels and while they thank me profusely, I’ve never sat in the same room while they read my comments so I’ve always wondered if I’m getting the real reaction.

Last week I critiqued my lovely friend Stacey‘s manuscript and had the delight of sitting in the same room as she read my notes. The most common words muttered?

You’re thorough.

Be still my anal-retentive heart. I may be on to something here.

Sunday I bought two of my favorite grammar books — Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing — and I plan to dive back into the grammar world very, very soon.

Do you like to proof others’ writing, or am I just weird?

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. Melanie's Mom

    I’m afraid this may be a hereditary thing…I find errors everywhere that make me cringe. One example — My husband’s theory is — hey, if the reader can understand what I mean, what difference do a few misspelled words and misplaced modifiers make? He truly doesn’t care. For me, however, whether it’s our annual Christmas newsletter, a letter to our congressman, or an email invitation to a barbecue, if my name is on it, I want the chance to clean it up.

  2. ab

    I offer to help if asked but grammar isn’t my strong point anymore. I’m better at consistency, etc. I’ve heard about that Eat, shoots…. book. Thought about getting it. Thanks for the kick – maybe I shall! 😉

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