Seven Changes Your Copy-editor May Make to Your Manuscript You’ve finished at last! You’ve written your story: first, second, umpteen drafts and versions. Perhaps you’ve used a writing coach or a development editor; you’ve rewritten and self-edited until you can’t see straight. Now your book needs a buff and polish to ensure that readers don’t […]Continue reading
‘Carry each other’s burdens…’ Bob Gass (wonderful name for a preacher) writes: Why does the Bible say ‘Carry each other’s burdens’? Because one person can only carry a burden so far on their own. American novelist John Kennedy Toole quickly discovered that. As a young writer he worked alone, writing a novel in New Orleans. […]Continue reading
Words Often Confused: Your readers want to trust you as a writer, and one way to win their trust is to avoid misusing words. Here are some common examples. (1) less/fewer The word less is used with uncountable objects; fewer is used with countable objects: I don’t want that many potatoes: please give me fewer. […]Continue reading
WORDS YOU CAN DO WITHOUT
Words You Can Do Without For lean, clean, spare prose, ditch the words you can do without. (1) Had Most fiction writers use the past simple tense to tell their stories: He rang the doorbell … she answered the door … they had a drink… But writers sometimes describe events from an earlier period, using […]Continue reading
ALL ABOUT DIALOGUE
Five Questions About Your Dialogue: 1 Does it have a Purpose? If you get your characters talking, their talk should (a) provide important information for the reader, or (b) reveal more about the characters, or (c) move the action of your story forward. Dialogue shouldn’t be just interesting, or just a relief from the action […]Continue reading
WHAT ARE CONTRACTIONS?
Dialogue (1) – HOW ARE YOUR CONTRACTIONS? The Cambridge online dictionary distinguishes between ‘strong movements of the muscles of the womb that help to push the baby out of the mother’s body during the process of birth’, and ‘short forms of words often used instead of the full form’. These are both contractions. The type we’re interested in, […]Continue reading
WHAT’S A WRITER?
What is a Writer? I went to an English grammar school. That’s where I learned about English grammar. We had a great English teacher (doesn’t everyone who loves the English language have at least one great English teacher?). I borrowed a battered copy of 1984 from Mr Clarkson’s class collection and I’ll never forget being mesmerised by George Orwell’s […]Continue reading
WHO’S THE EXPERT?
My website guru said "I know enough about language to get annoyed when I'm listening to the radio. You're the expert!" Actually, I'm far from expert (that's David Crystal), but I sometimes annoy other people by drawing attention to their, shall we say, "idiosyncrasies" of language. I was recently rambling - literally, physically, in the […]Continue reading