This is the easiest, and most annoying mistake to make, I think. And sometimes it could just be a slip of the finger that misses - or hits - the apostrophe button. But the thing is, it's really easy to fix this in your manuscript without pulling out all your hair. Okay, it'll take time. But it's worth it, right?
They're my friends. = correct
Their my friends. = incorrect
There my friends = incorrect in this usage
(Using "There, there, my friend." as an expression meant to calm someone is entirely different, and acceptable.)
That's their house. = correct
That's they're house. = incorrect
That's there house = incorrect
The house is over there. = correct
The house is over they're. = incorrect
IT / IT'S / ITS
It = pronoun
The teacher told the class it had to stay late.
It's = contraction of "it is"
It's time to go home.
Its = possessive pronoun for "it"
You can't judge a book by its cover.
It's one o'clock = correct
Its one o'clock = incorrect
Its colour is blue = correct
It's colour is blue = incorrect
Make sense? Okay. Now go to your book and do a Search/Replace. Yes, it'll take time. But the incorrect usage of those words is a definite flag for editors/agents.
The 12 Editing Gifts of Christmas ... DAY #2!
Between December 1-23 I’ll post twelve editing suggestions I hope you can use in the coming year when you’re working on your manuscript. I suppose you could print them off and hide them under your tree, but don’t feel like you have to.
These can occasionally prompt giggles. Even so, you should avoid them.
First off, what’s a modifier? Words or phrases that modify other words or phrases. “Only” is a typical modifier, and one that is easily misplaced. Other modifiers of which you should be careful are: almost, even, hardly, nearly, and often.
Neither one of these sentences is incorrect, but look at how the placement changes the meaning.
This means: >I don’t speak anything but English. No French, no Mandarin, no Polish.
This means:>The only thing I did with English was speak it. I didn’t write it or read it.
Here is a valid example of a misplaced modifier.Dressed all in blue, Susan paused to study the crowd of women.Who was dressed in blue? Susan or the crowd of women? How about:
- Susan paused to study the crowd of women who were all dressed in blue.
- Susan, who had dressed in blue that day, paused to study the crowd of women.
And another example:Walking home, the birds sang noisily.
Who was singing?How about:
These can be hard to spot. Read them out loud to be sure!
- Walking home, we were aware of the birds singing noisily.
- The birds sang noisily as we walked home.
There are so many different usages for commas that I thought I'd address one at a time. Today I'm talking about something called a "serial comma". A serial comma can also be called an "Oxford comma" or a "Harvard comma".
Serial commas, I have learned, are a STYLE ISSUE, which means not everyone agrees on their usage. They are standard in American English but are used less often in British English. Some countries don't use them at all. But I'm going to address serial commas anyway because when my first novel came back from the editor at Penguin, she had added - oh, I don't know - I'll say hundreds
of serial commas to my writing.
Kind of funny. I understand the reason for the term, since one the meanings of the word "serial" is: "of, relating to, or resembling a series" (www.dictionary.reference.com),
and a "series" is "a group or a number of related or similar things, events, etc., arranged or occurring in temporal, spatial, or other order or succession; sequence." (www.dictionary.reference.com)
. The funny thing to me is that I can't help thinking "serial killer
" every time I see that term.
I guess serial commas are kind of like serial killers in that they just can't stop.
When you are writing a sentence which includes a list of more than three items, you might be tempted to leave out the final one. It might feel redundant. But it's usually not, and it's often necessary to use one in order to avoid ambiguities.
Here are a few examples of when the serial comma.I'm going to a movie with Cathy, a teacher and a librarian.
hmm. Is Cathy a teacher AND a librarian?
or ...I'm going to a movie with Cathy, a teacher, and a librarian.
Ah. So you're going with three people, not just one. Or if it's two people, you could say "I'm going to a movie with Cathy, who is a teacher, and also with a librarian."
For dinner we had roast beef, salad, potatoes and ice cream.
Ew. Imagine eating potatoes and ice cream together?
or ...For dinner we had roast beef, salad, potatoes, and ice cream. Yum. Now I'm hungry.I love to ski, play tennis, ride my bike and juggle.
Wow. You can bike and juggle simultaneously? You should join the circus.or ...I love to ski, play tennis, ride my bike, and juggle.That makes more sense.And one more just because it makes me laugh:“With gratitude to my parents, Mother Teresa and the pope.” (from the Chicago Manual of Style)
Keep It Simple, Stupid ...
Keep Inadequacies Sparce, Scribe
I find it hilarious that when I decided to write a blog concerning cutting unnecessary words, I couldn’t stop writing. And I didn’t even write all that I wanted. Granted, some of the words are in lists rather than examples, but the irony was still there. Weird sense of humour, huh?
Today’s blog is about reducing Redundancies, Pleonisms and Tautology in your writing.
Grammar God WIlliam Strunk Jr. said: Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
Incorrect: Each and every word has a meaning in a sentence.
Correct: Every word has a meaning.
Incorrect: When you review and examine the sentences you wrote, look carefully at each and every word that you used.
Correct: When you examine your sentences, consider each word separately.
Incorrect: Do you believe each one of the words you used is needed in this particular situation?
Correct: Is each word needed in this situation?
Incorrect: Or have you decided to include that word in this sentence because it is one you have heard before and it seemed like a good place to use it?
Correct: Or are you dropping in words because they kind of sound right?
Incorrect: Or could it be the fact that using these words has become a habit and you have gotten used to doing it all the time so it is just out of habit?
Correct: Or is it a habit?
Stop right there. Hear this: If the word is not needed, don’t use it.
Simple as that. ✔ Get rid of or replace unnecessary and/or meaningless adjectives and adverbs.
Consider these words: really, very, quite, somewhat, good, nice, fine.
What do they really add to a sentence? Seriously. Unless you feel it is very important to stress somethingreally, really nicely, leave it out. That’d be a good idea, huh? Use better words.
really pretty --------> gorgeous
very costly ---------> expensive or (just) costly
quite tired -----------> exhausted or weary
good time -----------> enjoyable experience
nice person ---------> amiable, considerate, friendly individual ✔ Combine excessive words to form a more concise statement.
Incorrect: Susan thought the red paint was very bright and cheerful. Mike said the same thing. Julie really liked the happy mood the red paint brought to the room.
Correct: Susan, Mike and Julie liked the bright red paint. ✔ Consider each word individually. Is it redundant within itself? For example:
each (and every)
evolve (over time)
whether (or not)
The terms “Redundancy”, “Pleonasm” and “Tautology” all refer to the needless repetition of words. Trying to differentiate the terms is (to me) similar to splitting hairs: it gives me a headache, and it’s not important.
Basically, “Redundancy” is made up of both “Pleonasm” and “Tautology”. I tried to divide them, but I might have gotten some mixed up. The fact is that using either is bad
“Pleonasms” use more words than are necessary to describe something.
“Tautology” repeats the same thing by using superfluous words or phrases.
Lists of redundancies are endless, so I’m only pointing out a few that you might have used in your own writing. I have to admit that since I’m somewhat of a grammar geek, I get a giggle out of some of these. Yes, I’m simple that way. Examples of Pleonasms:
at this moment in time
short in height
eight a.m. in the morning
(the end) result Examples of Tautology:
return to where he came from
all alone by myself
(in my opinion) I believe
Suddenly,(all at once)
“You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.” (Yogi Berra)
“Either ghosts exist, or they don’t.”
“Your missing shoes have to be somewhere.” A few of my favourites:
- A.T.M. machine. “Automated Teller Machine” machine. Don't forget your PIN number.
- P.I.N. number. “Personal Identification Number” number. Keep it secret secret.
- R.S.V.P. please. R.S.V.P. stands for répondez s'il vous plaît, which means respond, please. So if you say Please R.S.V.P. or R.S.V.P. please, you’re saying please respond please or respond please please. Sounds a bit desperate, don’t you think?
- And in Canada, we have the N.D.P. party. New Democrat Party party. That's a lot of party.
I haven’t seen many references to this particular peeve online, but I would like to bring up what I call “Rhythmic Redundancy”. This does not apply to poets, who might actually be aiming for this exact method. If you are the next Dr Seuss, please look away.
Each sentence has a rhythm to it, whether it’s “The mouse ran up the clock” or “The mouse scrambled over the weary hands of the clock”. If every sentence sounds either phonetically or rhythmically similar, the reader will become bored. That’s just a fact, Jack.
Same rhythm ... sing along, everybody!:The mouse ran up the clock. She saw it was past one. The time for lunch was gone. They had to go to work. *yawn*
Different rhythm ... better
:The mouse ran up the clock, attracting her attention. She looked up and saw it was past one. It was too late to have lunch now. She would have to get back to work.
Different rhythm ... best
:The mouse scrambled over the clock’s cracked face, attracting the woman’s attention. Her eyes followed the scurrying movements then focused on the clock’s worn hands. How could it be past two already? Too late for lunch. Work beckoned.
Ridding work of redundancies is a big part of what editors do, but you can do it yourself if you are willing to take the time. Redundancies can be painfully obvious, or they can be nitpicky. Either one is bad.
There is no guarantee that deleting redundancies will increase or decrease your wordcount, in case you are worried about that. You can make it work either way, actually. The only guarantee is that your work will flow more smoothly, do more “Show” than “Tell”, and give your readers something interesting to which they can cling. And paying attention to every word will make you a better writer.
SO ... at the risk of repeating myself, today’s message:Keep it simple.
✔ Get rid of or replace unnecessary and/or meaningless adjectives and adverbs.
✔ Combine excessive words to form a more concise statement.
✔ Consider each word. Is it redundant within itself?
There are times in literature, indeed in life, when a situation demands more than the usual amount of enthusiasm. When something incredible happens in real life, we jump up and down, we yell, we hoot and holler, and our expressions are usually full of emotion. When we write, authors often indicate this excitement by using an Exclamation Point (also known as an Exclamation Mark).
Let’s say we have a scenario wherein a man is meeting his long lost brother after twenty years of separation. He might say something like,
“It’s so good to see you!”
Perfectly acceptable, in my humble opinion; however, this is where some authors tend to go astray. Let’s continue this conversation, shall we?
“It’s so good to see you!”
“How are you?!”
“Wonderful! You look great!”
“I can’t believe this! I can’t wait to tell everyone!”
“I know! So amazing! How is everything?!”
Ow. My head is now officially pounding.
In effect, what is going on in this conversation is that the two men are yelling at each other. Personally, I am not a fan of a room full of yelling people. In fact, I tend to leave the room in that particular situation. It’s even worse in this case, because it’s just the two characters yelling at each other.
An exclamation point should be used for one reason only: to emphasize a point. To “exclaim” about a “point”, if you will. The overuse of exclamation points makes everything look exactly the same. Instead of the natural rise and fall of a story, it becomes one long yell. How is the reader supposed to differentiate between regular moments and more exciting ones when everything looks identical?
YA novels are often (not always!) salted liberally with exclamation points, presumedly representing teenage enthusiasm, energy, angst ...; however, using exclamation points too often makes a book looks even more ... um ... juvenile. And not in a good way. Oh, and even if your YA novel begs for an exclamation point, please, please promise me you’ll limit yourself to only using one at a time. Save multiples for texting, if you must.
Children’s books usually contain even more. I understand why, but just because kids get excited and yell a lot that doesn’t make it right. The reader shouldn’t have to believe each sentence is as important as every other one.
Of course there are exceptions. Here’s a scenario in which multiple exclamation points work because the characters are yelling.
“Look! It’s a U.F.O.!”
“Over there! Look!”
“Where - Hey, I see it! Cool!”
“Wow. It looks like it’s coming this way,” Jim said, squinting toward the ship.
Pete nodded slowly. “Yeah, pretty quickly, too.”
After a moment of staring at the rapidly approaching lights, the men exchanged a glance of concern, then Jim spoke up. “How fast can you run?”
Pete took off. “All that matters is that I can run faster than you!” he yelled back over his shoulder.
I read a rule somewhere advising authors to limit their use of exclamation points to one per page. I’m not a great believer in writing rules, per se, but I do agree with the idea behind this one.
Can you use better nouns or verbs instead of having to resort to exclamation points?
How about using dialogue tags to indicate excitement? For example, instead of “It’s so great to see you!”, try something like: “It’s so great to see you,” he said, beaming with joy. That simple difference imparts so much more emotion for the reader, as well as getting rid of exclamation points.
Some people use excessive semi-colons; some find joy in dotting their pages with exclamation points. Both tools should be used in moderation, if at all. Their ultimate function is to provide an editor with one more thing to delete or replace.
Okay, everyone. Back to work!
by Genevieve Graham-SawchynFarther or Further?
I had to look this one up, so I'll save you the trouble."Farther" and "Further" are often used interchangeably, but here's the real scoop.
"Farther" is a reference to physical distance. (a long way, distant, remote)
"Further” can be used in the same way as "Farther"; however, it can also be used as a figurative word:
- I drove farther than I ever have.
- "How much farther is it?" (whine my kids in the back of the car...)
as an adjective:
- Nothing could be further from the truth
OR as a verb
- I have no further comment
If you're not sure ... nobody will notice, probably - except an editor! :)
- Hiring an editor can further your progress!
- (And furthermore, I really like that example.)
By: Tracey Neithercott
Maybe because I’m a former copyeditor. But I’m incredibly Passionate about proper grammer and spelling because if you don’t have those things it can be very hard to understand sentences, your reader’s won’t want to waste they’re Time on you’re Book or you even if you think its good.
Editors and Agents too. They don’t like to read submissions from writer whom use inproper grammer or spelling even if you execute the story part good. Plenty of people say that its the storytelling that matters really but its not its a mix of Storytelling and Knowing how to write, that includes grammer and spelling and all that. Writers that submit they’re novels which are chalk full of mistakes frequently are rejected!
See Agent’s and editors’ don’t have a lot of time to waste deciphering bad-written novels; even if they may think the story is better than Harry Potter and Hunger Games and Twilight combined into one sparkling magical war book and even if they like you’re other ideas.
They just don’t want to waste there time making you’re Book understandable to readers. Those are you’re job.
Give yourself with a grammer book some help! Fine a astonishingly good text that can teach you the basic Principle’s of the English language and that you read on you’re own Time so that you can get better at the writing part. Also for spelling. It for some people is worser.
When it’s spelled good and has all the grammer right, you can submit a book that is your best work.
Just between you and I, learning the rules to the grammer isn’t the easiest thing but the good news is that its possible. Don’t loose hope!Tracey Neithercott is a health journalist and former copy editor who writes YA fiction when she should be sleeping. She attempts to use proper grammar on her blog, Words on Paper.
- by Mark Nichol
There are two types of grammar: Descriptive, which describes what is customary, and prescriptive grammar, which prescribes what should be. A tension between the two systems is inevitable — and healthy; it keeps us thinking about what we’re saying and writing.
Allowing mob rule at the expense of some governing of composition is madness, but a diction dictatorship is dangerous, too. As with any prescription, an overdose is contraindicated. Here are some hard pills to swallow for language mavens who require a strict adherence to rigid syntactical patterns at the expense of, well, language:
1. Never split an infinitive.
It isn’t wise to always ignore this fallacious rule against dividing the elements of the verb phrase “to (verb)” with an adverb, but to blindly follow it is to prohibit pleasing turns of phrase — one of the best known of which is from the introductory voice-over from all the Star Trek television series: “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” (The original series, produced before the more recent sensitivity to gender bias, put it “no man.”)
2. Never end a sentence with a preposition.
This rule is ridiculous, to start with. If you believe it, please tell me what planet you are from. What are you striving for? Give it up. Am I getting my point across?
The stricture against closing sentences with words that describe position stems from an eighteen-century fetish for the supposed perfection of classical Latin, which allowed no split infinitives — for the excellent reason that Latin infinitives consist of single words. English, however, being a distant relative of that language, should be allowed to form its own customs.
3. Never begin a sentence with a conjunction.
And why not? For an honorable tradition of doing just that exists. But some people persist in prohibiting this technique. Yet we defy them. Or we simply ignore them or laugh at them, neither of which they appreciate. Nor do they understand our attitude, though we try to convince them, and will continue to do so. So there.
The words beginning each of these sentences are conjunctions, easily recalled with the mnemonic FANBOYS. Every one is perfectly acceptable at the head of a sentence. As is obvious from the previous paragraph, however, a little goes a long way.
4. Distinguish between while and though.
Petty prescriptivists would have you reserve while for temporal usage only: “While I agree, I resist,” they say, should be revised to “Though I agree, I resist.” I freely admit that I often change while to though, and while I understand — I’m sorry, I can’t stop myself — and though I understand that it may seem pedantic, I think though reads better.
5. Distinguish between since and because.
Ditto. And ditto. I concur that indiscriminate replacement of since withbecause may seem persnickety, but since — ahem — because I find the latter word more pleasing, I will reserve the right to prefer it.
6. Use data only in the plural sense.
Where did they get this data? The alternative is to use datum in the singular sense, which makes you sound like a propellerhead. (Look it up, kids.) People who say “datum” get data, but they don’t get dates.
7. Use none only in the singular sense.
None of these rules, followed strictly, allow for a vernacular ease with language.
Did that sentence hurt? Did the waves stop crashing to shore? Did Earth stop spinning? If you wish to replace none with “not one” or “no one” (“Not one person admitted guilt”; “No one saw that coming”), by all means, do so, but fear not none in a plural sense.
I wrote the most beautiful book ever written. I did. The plot, the characters, and the words ... oh, I have always loved words. And here was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate just how many I knew. After almost a year of writing, it was complete, and made up of approximately 165,000 gorgeous words. Publishers were going to bid for the opportunity to represent it. For sure.
But I decided maybe I'd show it to someone else first. Maybe someone who had a little experience in that realm. Through a “Writer In Residence” programme, I met author Rona Altrows. She accepted, I think, fifty manuscripts, then sat down with those writers and gave them her opinion. When I showed up for my appointment I felt ... what, nervous? Nah. My book was beyond question, wasn't it?
Rona was wonderful. She told me up front that I had a gift for writing, and that my book had great potential. *ugh* Potential. What a scary word. The first pangs of fear clutched my gut. That was when she introduced me to the Incredible World of Editing.
She started by going through a brutal battle scene at the beginning of my book. She said, “This character is amazing. How did he ever survive all these adjectives?”
And so I embarked on an amazing voyage, learning about adjectives and adverbs (and the need to avoid most of them), Point of View (which was impossible to understand, until all at once I could see it, and I'll never be able to ignore it again), tense ... there were so many aspects to writing I had never considered. Fortunately, I didn't have to worry too much about spelling and grammar. I have always had a natural propensity for those, which I believe stems from both the vats and vats of books I ingested as a child, and from natural genetics. Both my mother and her mother taught high school English and nary an early sentence went by that wasn't quickly corrected (“Me and Brian went out” “That's Brian and I, sweetheart.”).
All right. Done. All those things fixed, I cast my net a little further and joined Scribophile.com, along with thousands of other writers. These folks were less gentle. Their hi-liters and strikeouts were everywhere. More lines than words, I thought.
But they were right. I took a little time and looked at my favourite books, then compared them to mine, trying to find just what separated the two. Then I went through every single word of my novel and ran through it on my laptop three times. I read it out loud twice – once to myself and once to my ever-patient husband. I printed it out and scribbled all over it. About six months later, it was 75,000 words shorter. I felt cautiously optimistic. I posted the first half of the book on Authonomy.com – and it shot to the top.
So what is editing, exactly? We're all writers here, so let's look at some metaphors. Editing is like sandpaper on rough wood, revealing the shining oak within. Editing is cutting back on too much salt so that the meal is delicious (and healthier). Editing is folding clothes neatly instead of dumping them on the floor.
Writing is not editing, but writing cannot happen without at least a modicum of editing. Some of it is natural, obviously. For instance, your brain automatically changes
“Riting storeez iz the thing I luv to do” to “I love writing stories.”
But when you write something a little more complicated, how do you know what goes where? That is the editing experience.
The first step is to write your story as well as you can. Read it over just one more time so you see any glaring error, like killing off a character then having him reappear in the next chapter. Fix those. Now put your story away. Seriously. Find a cabinet with a lock on it and do not look at it for three months.
Pshaw, I hear. But it's true. Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but it also sharpens perspective. You are too close to your story. I know, I know. You are finally done. Let's get it out there! But really, what's the rush? The world has existed without your story, as have you. Take the time to do it right. Put it away. Write something new, or read a different book. Take up macramé. Anything but that book.
*Ding! * (That's the sound of your calendar alarm saying three months is up.)
Take a deep breath and start to read. If you are fortunate, you will find yourself sinking into your chair, wondering where all these words came from. Did I actually write these? Wow! I don't remember doing that. It's not half bad!
Roll up your sleeves. Here we go. We will now edit. Here are the main aspects of editing, as I see them:
1) Please tell me you have spell-check on your computer. Please. Being Canadian, I have the added chore of deciding between British and American spelling, but that's easily fixable by Search/Replace. I just have to ensure I'm being consistent.
2) Read out loud – preferably in a monotone. Do your sentences sound like sentences? Or are they just words? Do they go on forever, winding poetically through infinite descriptive, albeit beautiful words? Stop right there.
Picture your character pulling up to a stop sign. Here are two ways for that character to see it:
Option 1: The sign emerging from the distant horizon is a thin sheet of metal, approximately 75cm across, with a matte background painted a bright, highly visible cherry red broken only by a 20cm white border and clear, easily distinguishable white lettering sending its message from atop a sturdy pole intended to reach the most unaware, recalcitrant, ignorant, distracted of drivers.
Option 2: The stop sign is red and octagonal, on a post, with white print.
Read those two contrasting sentences again. The first gives you terrific information. Were you bored? Amazed at the detail (unless of course you are researching stop signs, in which case it would be fabulous information, and I recommend Wikipedia)? Did you have to look up any of the words? Did you skip ahead? Of course you did. No one would ever realistically spend so much time describing something simple. Not even your character. If you did, your reader would probably have to put the book down just so they could grab something to treat their impending headache.
Here's the trick: Go through your first page. Remove every adjective/adverb until the remaining words are “naked”. Can you improve any of those “naked” words with something better, something that negates the use of adjectives/adverbs? Do that wherever possible. Then add the necessary descriptive words and no more. Keep it simple.
3) Sentence Length: While it is good to vary sentence length, anything written non-stop is just plain annoying and amateur. It may seem beautiful to describe a sunset as:
The inevitable rays of the setting sun cast awe-inspiring parting glories in an amalgamation of pure and omnipotent expressions of the gods who have chosen to enliven their palette with the glorious scatterings of aureate golds and bittersweet oranges silhouetted against an endless heliotrope sky.
Too much? I'd say. How about:
The sunset's stunning array of golds and oranges faded into the purple sky. Or:
Evening was heralded by the majestic golds of the sunset.
Well, those aren't the best examples, but I hope you understand my meaning.
4) Paragraph length: Same as sentences. The reader's eye is automatically drawn to white space – more particularly to dialogue. Keep paragraphs relatively short.
5) Point Of View: If you're writing third person from Mary's perspective throughout most of the novel, then you can't say what John is thinking. That's like: Mary had been wondering how John was feeling. “How are you feeling, John?” she asked. John was happy she asked. No no no. Maybe John appeared pleased that she had asked, but it's impossible for Mary to know if John was really happy or not. See? Complicated, but that's Point of View. Trust me. Once you get it, you'll never go back.
6) Tense: You don't want unnecessary words, and you don't want the story to stall.Keep verbs as up to date as possible, so the book moves forward. Instead of Mary was forgetting to tie her shoes, use Mary forgot to tie her shoes. Be consistent.
7) Redundancies: John stood on his feet. Where else would he stand? Mary saw the smile on his face. Where else would his smile be?
8) Dialogue/Dialog: This is a sticky point for me because I have yet to edit a book in which all aspects are done correctly.
In the time I took to take my book apart and sew it back up again (then take away any evidence of seams), I read a lot of other books. And I have been humbled. There is some amazing writing going on out there, published or not.
- “Hello,” said Mary. (See how the comma is inside the quotations?)
- “Hello,” said Mary. (See how I used the word “said”? Though they have their place, it's not necessary to always use “exclaimed” “responded” “declared” “replied”. “Said” is just fine.)
- “Hello.” (Sometimes you don't need to tag who is saying what. Especially if the dialogue only goes on for about four or five lines. Too many episodes of “she said/he said” sounds robotic.)
- “Hello,” Mary said with a grin. (See how I didn't say “Hello,” Mary grinned. That's because she can't “grin” a word. She can't “sigh” it or “frown it” or “attempt” it.)
I no longer believe my story will change any aspect of the world, but at least I know it's something worthy of a reader's time. At last, a amazing agent decided my book was what he had been seeking. He wasn't through with me, though. He had me re-write the ending three times. When he finally emailed back and said “Yes, I think we'll go with that,” I felt dizzy with relief. In very little time he called to say Berkley Publishing (a division of PenguinUSA) wanted not only to publish my book, but wanted a companion novel to go with it. That was one of the greatest moments of my life. But then came another one. He said, “The editor said there was virtually no editing to be done.” So those years of writing, re-writing, nit-picking, agonizing, deleting ... it was all worthwhile.
It took a long time to get that right. It took a ton of practice. My subsequent novels started to emerge with less need for re-writes. Editing had become a natural process for me (though nothing is perfect the first / second / third time round!). I started editing for other authors and found it was easy for me to sink into the “voice” of the author. They loved my work, and I loved doing it.
So now, along with my writing, editing is my business. If you have done all you can for your beloved manuscript and are ready for a professional touch, please check out my website: www.WritingWildly.com. I look forward to reading your work someday!