Archives for “editing”
Why was the road crossed by the chicken? When a sentence starts with the thing being acted upon rather than the thing doing the acting, that sentence is in “passive voice.” For example, if you ask me where the hat is that you lent me, and I reply, “It got lost,” I have used the [...]
It’s said that a good editor is like a samurai. Proficient with both the pen and the sword, he—can’t really call a samurai “she,” can I?—slices with precision, but without hesitation. And slicing is the first step in editing your manuscript.
An exasperated author I know once wrote back to me saying, “Yeah, everybody says that: ‘show, don’t tell.’ But I can’t figure out what they mean! How do I know which is which?”
When I’m looking over a manuscript that’s been submitted to me for publication, the first thing I do is read the first five pages. At that point, I might toss it, or I might decide to read more. Apparently I’m not the only editor to take this approach. Noah Lukeman is a successful literary agent, [...]
"There are two kinds of editors. One sticks in that wherever it will fit. The other kind takes it out. They’re both wrong." — P. T. O’Connor Woe is I is subtitled “The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English,” and I can’t describe it better than that. O’Connor solves many of the stranger [...]
"A merely good piece of description can be transformed into a memorable one by cutting away what disguises it." — T.R.A. Cheney Getting the Words Right is full of detailed explanations of how revision can improve a piece of writing. I’m especially fond of the first section, "Reduce".
The Chicago Manual of Style is probably the most relied-upon of all the style manuals, and is very comprehensive. It’s hefty, but worth picking up when you’re having trouble.
I found this on the Chicago Manual of Style website, and felt compelled to share it with my readers (both of you). Q. In a software application that catalogues musical albums in a sidebar column for playback selection the main developer insists on using italics for the album titles. I advised to drop the italics [...]