The Priceless Value of Old

One of the saddest things I ever witnessed happened in a jewelry shop. I was waiting in line to make a purchase, when I noticed the artisan behind the counter doing some sort of work with his hands. Thinking he was crafting some stunning piece of jewelry, I stepped over to where I could have a look. To my horror, the jeweler was ... Read More

Rhythm and Sound: Two Secret Keys to Exceptional Prose Writing

As a book editor, I notice subtle distinctions between manuscripts written by aspiring writers versus seasoned authors. One of these distinctions is hardly ever talked about in writing classes, but in my experience, it makes all the difference between lumbering and polished prose. I’m talking about the rhythm and sound of a sentence. We all know rhythm and sound are ... Read More

Nonfiction Authors: Three Tips to Brighten Your Writing

As a professional editor and writing coach, I find different clients making many of the same writing errors. If I had to narrow it down, I’d say these three are the most common among aspiring authors:
sentences stuffed with “clutter words,” long prepositional-phrase trains, and grandiose verbiage. Here are some tips to help you identify and remove these from your writing …

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The Rule of Three in a Series

Bet you didn’t know this little rule of thumb, that will make your sentences trimmer and more professional whenever you have a series of something. And the rule is (drum roll): only list three in a series! Not four, not five, not as many items as you would like to list in the sentence, but three. Three period. If you have four, ... Read More

When to Capitalize Job Titles and Positions

One of the most common misuses of capital letters I come across as a professional editor is titles of jobs and positions. I think that’s because people remember sometimes seeing them capitalized, so they conclude that they always get capitalized. In fact, the opposite is usually the case. It’s okay to capitalize the name of a job or position only ... Read More