Getting Mad at Your Editor

Every few years I come across a client who responds to a professional edit by feeling offended. They have an emotional reaction to the criticism. The closer the story is to the author personally, the greater the chance that this will happen. Memoirists, for example, share intimate details of their lives. Having those sensitive subjects scrutinized by an editor who gives them honest feedback can, understandably, feel a  bit like having a wound debrided. Even if a doctor is gentle …

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Hedge Words and Inflation Words—Prune These from Your Writing

As writers, we all know wordiness is something to avoid: never say in ten words what you can say in four. But while we get that in theory, it’s often hard, in practice, to produce tight writing. We look at the sentences on the page, suspecting they are verbose, but don’t know what to change or to eliminate. Let’s look at two common writing flaws that clutter the manuscripts of many aspiring authors. I call these culprits “hedge words” and “inflation words” …

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‘Begs the Question’ or ‘Raises the Question’?

No, esteemed author friends. "Begs the question" does not mean "raises the question." What is our language coming to? I sound like a pedant, but honestly ...  the rash of "begging the questions" we're now seeing everywhere, even on news shows and in presumably "edited" books, is enough to drive an editor around the bend. People think it sounds cool ... Read More

Authors: Beware the Fake-Quotation Trap!

For authors, the Internet offers broad vistas of knowledge and opportunity, but scattered in between are a few beds of quicksand. One of these is the fake-quotation quagmire: the growing trend of popular “quotation websites” to feature made-up quotes. The quagmire deepens each time a self-publishing author casually decides to decorate her writing with “something inspirational” …

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Self-Published Book Contests & The Eric Hoffer Award—Horse of a Different Color

Most legitimate book-award contests don't allow submissions by self-publishing authors. There are, of course, the book contests for self-publishers that hand out awards like candy. Nearly every contestant wins something—including a shiny sticker they can display on their book cover to make buyers think they have written something of quality. Fortunately, there’s at least one book contest out there for ... Read More