Who should edit my book?

Choosing your editor, be it for your book, thesis or business blog, takes thought.

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Must be doing something right …

Editors fine-tune your writing.

Tony Berry, Author - writer of crime fiction featuring sleuth Bromo Perkins, and the occasional memoir

An author who has been using a software program to “edit” her novel has now accepted my quote to complete the job.

As she commented in her email confirming the arrangement:

Although ProWritingAid has trained me to write better English, it cannot –

  • make words flow like you can
  • give feedback
  • pick up loopholes
  • get involved in the story

The program is not one hundred per cent accurate. I often find mistakes it has missed.  It is not creative like you. And, it doesn’t have a heart…  unable to “feel” what the reader feels.

Heartening words indeed. And perhaps something needing to be noted by all writers who reckon they don’t need the human touch to fine-tune their work.

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Plain English – what are the business benefits?

Your nonfiction writing will shine when you include principles of Plain English.

Laura Ripper | Proofreading and copy-editing

A picture of a piggybank

If you run a business, you probably know that customers appreciate clear communication. They want to be able to find important information quickly – for example, about products and services, how to find you or how to return an item they’ve bought. Direct, concise and jargon-free text saves them time, frustration and effort. It gives your customers a better experience of working with you.

But what are the benefits for you – and your company? How can writing in plain English help you achieve your business goals, such as making a profit or building your brand? Is communicating clearly anything more than ‘doing the right thing’?

Using plain English can help your business in three main ways:

  1. It saves money
  2. It saves time
  3. It builds your reputation

It saves money

– and it makes money, too.

If your marketing materials, letters and newsletters present information clearly, your customers are more…

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What’s wrong with the passive voice?

Ways to reduce stuffiness in business and nonfiction writing.
Perhaps it’s time to check your writing – and ask for help if you need help coming up with non-stuffiness.

Stroppy Editor

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has joined the Campaign Against the Passive Voice. He follows in the footsteps of Strunk and White (whose section on the passive voice, while more nuanced than many people recognise, is calamitously misleading) and of George Orwell (who complained about the passive while using it extensively himself, even in the same sentence as his complaint).

The campaign isn’t wholly wrong, but it goes too far and it doesn’t properly understand the problem. The passive voice is often better than the active, and its overuse is usually a symptom of something else.

What’s the difference?

Roughly: in the active voice, the agent performing the action is the grammatical subject of the sentence and the recipient of the action is the grammatical object. The passive voice switches this around, making the recipient of the action the grammatical subject and the agent the object. Passive verbs are formed…

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Is “Alright” Ever Alright? – Guest Post by Kathy Steinemann…

Useful insights primarily for fiction writers, although we nonfiction writers and editors will learn something too.
Enjoy … and share your comments.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Image Source: Dictionary.com

According to EtymOnline.com, alright was attested in print by 1884.

Writers argue about its use. Some insist it’s appropriate, while others stand on the no-nada-nix-never soapbox.

Who is correct? This post will try to clear the confusion.

What do the experts say?

I searched several sources and found the following results.

No, alright is unacceptable.

Painless Grammar, by Rebecca Elliott, PhD

The Chicago Manual of Style

AP Stylebook

Lapsing into a Comma, by Bill Walsh

All right is the only form listed.

The Synonym Finder, by J. I. Rodale

Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr.

Alright is informal or nonstandard and less acceptable than all right.

Dictionary.com

Merriam-Webster.com

Dictionary.Cambridge.org

OxfordDictionaries.com

MacMillanDictionary.com

YourDictionary.com

CollinsDictionary.com

TheFreeDictionary.com

My hunt through several Ray Bradbury e-books found no instances of alright.

After more research…

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So what am I supposed to check?

You’ve finished writing, you understand how to edit your work…
but just what do you need to check?

Now while it’s easy to think you can do a complete edit in one pass, believe me, concentrating on more than one element at a time is hard going.

Three elements for you to consider: content, writing mechanics, and visuals.

Content

  • Does it flow logically?
  • Is all the information relevant to your message? … and your readers?
  • Are there any trivial or tedious details?
  • Have you included everything that needs to be there?
  • Have you included anything that doesn’t need to be there?
  • Do your pictures, graphs, tables, etc need captions?
  • Are the table of contents, table of figures, referencing complete and updated?

Writing mechanics

  • spelling, grammar, punctuation
  • phrases or sentences that sound awkward
  • repetition of words in close proximity – e.g. investigate, investigation; owns his own business
  • cliches and stereotypes – best to avoid.
  • saying the same thing twice – e.g. combine together, 5 pm in the afternoon, new innovations, free gift, added bonus
  • waffle – unnecessary words that don’t contribute to the clarity of the writing or the argument

Visuals

  • How does the text sit on the page?
  • Is the document broken up into reader-friendly chunks?
  • Have you used techniques like bold or colour to highlight key words or concepts?
  • Could any of the information be presented as a table, graphic, image, footnote?
  • Are non-text elements appropriately placed within the text?
  • Is there sufficient space between text and graphics?
  • Is there enough white space? Does the page look crowded?

 

Proofreading symbols
Edit… proofread… review

Yes, editing takes time… but it is definitely worth it.

Your final questions:

How easy will it be for my readers to understand what I’ve written?
How easy will it be for my readers to respond to my message?