Personal editing. Professional results.
June 29, 2020
Put proofreading into books after copyedits

Ah proofreading, the finish carpentry of editing. Many authors who create their own books think they can skip it, leaving the proofreading work to a copy editor. Pro publishers do not do it this way. These are the kinds of things I never thought I'd care about while I was traffic director at Graphics Express […]

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December 3, 2019
Open your wheelhouse: submit your requests

You might have been fortunate enough to have an agent request pages for your book. You may have taken a lot of time to make them better first. For example, if you're writing crime fiction (a mystery) you may say 1. My book is too long today 2. I don’t want my mystery to be […]

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September 10, 2019
How to give readers a break with chapters

"I like big chapters, long ones," said just about nobody who reads books. Readers need rests, like the rest stops on a 100-mile century bike ride. I did one of those rides a couple of times. Never ride the century, we'd say. Just ride to the next rest stop. Books can be centuries, with historical […]

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March 19, 2019
Ten Key Scenes get your book on the road

Writers dry up and falter all the time in their quest to create.  One great process to keep words flowing into the big file is to have an outline at hand. It's like your writing to-do list. Saying the word outline makes some writers roll their eyes and sigh. Creating by the seat of your […]

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February 20, 2019
Making sentences great again

Francine Prose wrote a fine book about writing, Reading Like a Writer, which includes a chapter on Sentences. (Chapters are titled with names such as Words, Paragraphs, Narration, Character, Gesture, Dialogue, and more.) In her book, she celebrates the sentence and crafting wonderful ones. To talk about sentences is to have a conversation about something […]

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July 8, 2018
Learning what's new in style through an ACES webinar

On Thursday July 28 the American Copy Editor Society is holding a 1-hour seminar on What's New in Style. I'm an ACES member, ever since I passed through the organization's Advanced Copy Editing Bootcamp at SMU last year. I brought a journalism degree and publications experience to the Society membership. ACES is different from other […]

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October 3, 2017
Search and replace barrier words for POV power

Some easy writing advice to follow, offered all the time, is show instead of tell. But it takes careful work to remove showing at the same time you remove barrier words from your writing. Barrier words are ones that make a story less vivid and make the writer more obvious. You don't want the latter to happen. We […]

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August 29, 2017
Showing spunk about making sentences

Out on the Writer’s Digest Web site, Bonnie Trenga has posted an article on grammar that boils down the writing of a good sentence to four commandments. She starts with shall nots and shalls. 1. You shall not write passively. 2. You shall not overuse weak verbs like “to be” and “to have.” 3. You […]

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