Proofreading and editing

Booksmuffins baking in the oven

I have proofread several books since I began HD Words.

  • A children’s story, which was quite straightforward, with only about 2,500 words, (although there were several things that needed changing)
  • A cookbook, which was more of a challenge.  I had to look out not only for spelling mistakes, but also to check that every ingredient was used in the instructions – and nothing was mentioned in the instructions that hadn’t been listed in the ingredients.  Also, that the ingredients list followed the convention of listing items in the order in which they’ll be used.  Plus making a note every time ‘bake in the oven’ was directed without a cooking temperature. I was permanently hungry during the time it took me to work on that book!
  • A poetry book, which was the most stretching, professionally, as I had to retain the poet’s style and idiosyncrasies, while correcting mistakes.  There were formatting errors (italics and bold) and a few other things, but it was an exercise in NOT making changes, mostly.
  • I’ve also both edited and subsequently proofread a romantic novel.  This was 50,000 words (approx) and posed a different challenge altogether. Editing it turned up some passages that appeared twice, chunks that had been cut-and-pasted and made other things not make sense, and some clunky language that had to be put into a more flowing style.  Proofreading it, a couple of months later, to weed out any other errors, and make sure all the formatting and punctuation were correct, was a different way of reading the story.  The author wrote the following review for me:  “Hannah is a competent, knowledgeable copy editor and proofreader. She picks up anomalies in the manuscript text, offers suggestions for improving the expression, and checks on facts in the text. Always approachable, she is willing to answer the author’s questions.. Most importantly, she keeps well within the time schedules she proposes for her work. I would not hesitate to recommend her services.”


St Austell Conservation Area Appraisal, and Townscape Heritage Scheme Lottery Bid

It’s a bit of a strange one, but I was asked to work on this, to ensure that it read properly, and the different contributions from different team members were cohesive.  Covering several dozen pages, with copious appendices, this document had the potential to play an important part in the regeneration of St Austell town centre.  I was initially approached by the Planning officer at Cornwall Council, recommended by my former colleagues in the communications team at the Council.

The good news is that the bid was successful, and work is now starting to improve the area.

This was the review I received, subsequent to that work:  5 stars  “HD Words proof read a Conservation Area Appraisal and funding application bid. Work was commissioned at short notice but completed quickly, well within deadlines. Comments given were concise and comprehensive and helped make the final reports clearer, easier to read and more professional.”


‘Welcome to Cornwall’ Information for Syrian refugees.

While working at Cornwall Council, I was heavily involved in producing ‘Welcome to Cornwall, Information for Migrant Workers’, collating, editing and proofreading the first edition in 2005/6 and the second edition in 2009. When a new edition was proposed, for Syrian (and other) refugees, in 2016, Andrea Gilbert, the project lead wanted me involved, even though I’ve subsequently left the Council.

Hence, I edited and added to the 40 pages of text, removing some sections and looking at new text that has been written specific to the new user-group, as well as checking pages of contact details, and updating them as well.

A significant piece of work, with a tight timescale due to the imminent arrival of the Syrian families for whom the book was being produced.  This is probably the single piece of work of which I am most proud (counting all three editions), in my entire professional career, having made a difference to the lives of so many.

Andrea Gilbert of Inclusion Cornwall says:

‘I approached Hannah to work on this project, as she had been heavily involved collating and editing the first two editions of the book. Even as an external consultant, rather than an employee of the Council, as she had been before, I knew she would be the best person to use, with her experience and attention to detail, as well as familiarity with the subject matter. She went through the entire book updating information, for example changes in the NHS and local government that have taken place since 2009, as well as checking all the dozens of contact details.  She edited the text, including new refugee-focused information written specifically for this edition of the book.  In addition, she made a number of helpful suggestions about extra items which should be included, as well as sourcing that information.

We were working to a tight deadline, aiming to produce the book before the refugees arrived, and Hannah pulled out all the stops to complete the work in just over a week.

I couldn’t have been happier with the work Hannah did, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to anyone requiring writing or editing services.


Jon Tremaine logo, with flying birdJon Tremaine – Artist

Jon is a talented artist based near St Ives, who asked for my help with the words of his website. Most of my work was proofreading, with a small amount of editing and writing.  Jon says:

I recently commissioned Hannah of HD Words to update my website text and trouble shoot my grammar, this after a recent update to the cosmetics of my site. 

I found Hannah to be very professional and approachable, a good listener. I was surprised to see the number of errors that she had brought to my attention. Now my website has been completely refreshed and is looking great thanks to Hannah’s work.

As a result of her patience and genuine interest shown in my site she has brought forward other ideas and opportunities for me to explore.

Well done Hannah, I will continue to recommend your professional services.



South West Thatching 

Initially I proofread their website, which wasn’t giving a professional image of their company.  They were so pleased with the work I did for them that they asked me to update their news page.  I wrote a blog post covering 18 months of projects, and will be updating it every six months, or thereabouts. South West Thatching didn’t need a fortnightly blog writing – thatching moves quite slowly!


For a friend

A friend for whom English is not her first language asked for my help proofreading an important document.  She says:

I asked Hannah to look at my document with her fresh pair of eyes as I’ve read it so many times I’ve lost my ability to check it for any mistakes or lack of clarity.  Within less than a day Hannah got back to me with her very useful feedback. I really liked her comments and corrections and also incredible attention to every detail. Thank you very much!