Category: Copy Editing

Self-editing Your Novel, Part 3: Subplot and Digression

Think of subplots as the bridesmaids at a wedding. Dress them up and put them in their places, but the party is not about them.

Self-editing Your Novel, Part 2: Plot Structure

Whether you outline from the start or write by the seat of your pants, when your novel is finished, it should be outlineable.

Self-editing Your Novel, Part 1: Let it cook.

You know how when someone says something rude to you at work, and all you can think of to say is, “I know you are, but what am I?” Then, after you get home and get into the shower, your brain finally decides to provide you with the absolute best comeback ever–what you should have said–five hours too late. Your brain will do its job, but it won’t be rushed.

Open Letter to a Grammar Cop

I encountered another Grammar Cop yesterday while checking out my favorite sci-fi fan site. In typical form, the GC showed up and pointed out a failure to punctuate. When others jumped to the commenter’s defense, the GC answered, “I point out errors to help people, because I would want others to correct my mistakes. If I’m doing something incorrectly, I want to know so I can improve.”

I wrote the following letter for that person, and for all other Grammar Cops out there in Internet Land.

Writing Emotions, Part 2: When ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ Goes Bad

All serious writers know the adage, “Show, don’t tell.” Sometimes, though, even good writers with great stories go off track when they try to show, instead of tell, emotion. I’m a copy editor. I’ve seen things. Bad things. Things you don’t want your readers to see.

The Mechanics of Writing Emotion

In order for readers to care about your story, they need to care about your characters. Even if your writing is more story-driven than character-driven, readers need to understand your characters, and to feel the emotions that your characters feel. As a copy editor,… Continue Reading “The Mechanics of Writing Emotion”

Writing for Visual Appeal

Have you ever picked up a book, looked at the number of pages, then put it back down? I have. It’s not that I don’t like reading; I love reading. Some books just intimidate me by their sheer size. It’s like going on a first date and planning a wedding. It’s too much, too soon. With some sweet-talking reviews from people I trust, I might take on a longer book, but as a rule, that’s too much time commitment for me to give to an unknown.

Journal free or write hard.

My husband is a big fan of action movies. Loves them. One of his favorites is Live Free or Die Hard. I’ve never seen it (nor will I, most likely), but he tells me with great delight that in that movie, the main character John McClane (Really? John McClane?), played by Bruce Willis, drives a burning police cruiser, trying to get away from a bad guy shooting at him from a helicopter. McClane aims the cruiser toward a toll booth and jumps out. The car runs up the booth and launches into the pursuing helicopter as the bad guy jumps from the sky…

The More the Words, the Less the Meaning

You’ve seen the commercials. Pharmaceutical ads show an attractive person who tells us exactly what to say to get our doctors to prescribe their product. “I told my doctor that I’d tried diet and lifestyle changes, but that didn’t help. Then I asked if Giant Pill was right for me.” Short and direct. The commercial goes on to…

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