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” …Read More
‘Begs the Question’ or ‘Raises the Question’?
‘What’s Wrong with My Query Letter?’
Writing Children’s Dialog: How to Get It Right
Think Twice Before Writing a Novel
Are you working on writing a novel, perhaps your first? Do you plan to finish it, then bring in an editor for help with the final polish? My experience editing dozens of books by first-time novelists suggests you might be making a mistake. Most of the novels I critique are full of serious problems the author had no idea existed. That’s because it’s hard to see the weaknesses in your own writing. Each time I get a manuscript of this sort, I lament the fact that the author didn’t approach an editor early on in the writing, instead of after investing hundreds of hours in something that now must essentially be reconstructed, often from the ground up …Read More