Writing and editing are intertwined. Tips to help you understand how.
Thanks to some fellow editors who introduced me to Molly McCowan’s blog, I want to share this with you, to encourage you to really consider just how much a good editor can add to your writing.
Enjoy – and remember to leave a comment.
About a year ago, I was at a networking event when I was approached by a middle-aged man wearing a black sport coat over a lightweight periwinkle sweater. He was holding a glass of red wine in one hand, and the word “author” was written in blue Sharpie underneath the neatly printed name on his name tag. My name tag didn’t sport the word “editor,” so for the moment I was free to learn more about him before divulging my career.
We shook hands and exchanged small talk for a moment before I asked him what he was currently writing. He responded, “Oh, I’ve been working on my second novel. It’s part of a fantasy trilogy that I’ve been writing for the last few years.” I asked him about his first book and discovered that he had…
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So beautifully explained by Australian author, Amanda Curtin, this tutorial will help you on your quest for clear, sharp writing.
In manuscripts—and even in print—I frequently see the following:
Let’s go to the Molloy’s house.
Grammatically, this means:
Let’s go to the house of the Molloy.
Now, perhaps there is a big burly guy out there who is referred to as ‘the Molloy’, as in ‘Give that burrito to the Molloy before he chews someone’s arm.’ In that case, the above would be correct. But what the writer usually means is:
Let’s go to the Molloys’ house.
Let’s go to the house of the Molloys. [a couple, or a family, or the three banjo-playing Molloy sisters]
If, on the other hand, the writer is referring to a particular Molloy:
Let’s go to the house of Molloy. [e.g. Joe Molloy]
then it would be:
Let’s go to Molloy’s house. [singular Molloy; no definite article]
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I prefer 'show and tell' rather than giving wordy explanations. Enjoy these examples (with very brief comments) of simple ways you can sharpen your writing - and that will please your readers.
Fiction writers work hard to develop their voice. And it's just as important for business writers. Learn how a style guide for your business will help keep your writing consistent, clear, engaging and sharp.
Misplaced words and phrases can give the wrong message. Enjoy this collection of 'danglers'.
Some basic tips to help solve your nontechnical writing dilemmas.
So just what is this clear, engaging, sharp writing that I'm always going on about?
Sometimes it's the little words that make all the difference to the clarity of your writing.
In my humble opinion, not proofreading a novel before publication damages the reputation of both the author and the publisher. Does the same principle apply to your business writing?