Category: Line Editing

The N-word: Is it ever OK to say? Plus NaNoWriMo editing update

Hola, Writer Peeps! What do you think? Can I say the N-word and other “bad” words in a historical context? Or are some words just not acceptable ever? As an example of non-acceptance, my husband Frazierhead and I went to a family’s home for…

Half Off Copyedits for NaNoWriMo Winners

As a little bonus incentive, I’m offering a limited number of NaNoWriMo 2018 winners a discount on copyediting your new novel. I’ll give you time to flesh it out and clean it up first so the discount will be applied in 2019.  

Self-driving Cars and Avocado Toast: Welcome to AP Stylebook 2017

These are the days that we grammar freaks live for!* The Associated Press Stylebook 2017 is shaking things up with 200 changes, some of them major changes. The internet (lowercase i) is buzzing with venom as traditional grammarists duke it out with progressive grammarists, using well-written and carefully punctuated insults, while trolls stoke the fire with deliberate misspellings. It’s a maaaaaad house!

Why did it take nine years to get serious about my own writing?

My son, always looking for ways to earn a few extra dollars to fund his science projects, emerged from his (laboratory) bedroom as I emerged from my Writing Zone. We met at the (writing fuel) coffee pot, and he began his proposal.
“I see you’re making money,” he started.
“I’m not making money,” I answered.
A sound caught in his throat, as if this unexpected answer…

When and When Not to Hyphenate

Do you know why high-heeled shoes get a hyphen, but running shoes do not? Why the president-elect gets a hyphen, but the vice president elect does not? What if I told you that the white-and-gold dress was also blue and black? Some people think hyphenating is random, that whatever looks right is right. Sorry, but no. We have rules. We can’t just let people hyphenate all over the place, willy-nilly. But I’ve got your back. I’ll walk you through this.

Avoiding Bias when Writing Descriptors

One of the biggest changes to American English in recent years is an emphasis on persons first. That is, we no longer define human beings by their descriptors. I’m not talking about Political Correctness. I’m talking about grammar.

Functional Shifting in Grammar: Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Hi Writer Peeps! Today’s blog is about words and phrases that usually identify as one part of speech, but step out and play another role from time to time. I like to think of these as “transgrammars.” Other grammarians–stuffy sorts–call them functional shifts. The…

It’s not morality, people. It’s just grammar.

It goes like this: Grammar bully jumps on a writer who makes a grammatical error or even a simple typo. Then (and often in that very first criticism), the bully makes a mistake–because only God is perfect. That prompts other crazed grammar bullies to jump in with their clubs and torches, until the whole venomous rant culminates in the original poster apologizing, deleting, and questioning her career choice. Over a comma.

Quick Reference Guide to Punctuating Dialogue in Fiction

For those of you who find yourselves either without a style guide, or too busy writing the next great American novel to get bogged down in the nit-picky details, I made you a handy-dandy, quick-reference chart for punctuating dialogue in fiction. Since most fiction is written in Chicago style (CMOS), that’s the style I used.

To cut or not to cut? Use this editing trick to decide.

I learned this editing trick years ago, and still use it today to help me decide whether or not to cut a line, a scene, or whatever. In your manuscript, mouse over and highlight the text in question. Then . . .

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A personal blog by John Parsons, author of the Hebrew for Christians web site.

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M.N. Stroh

Historical Fiction

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