The editing question I get more often than any other is about the Oxford—or serial—comma, the comma that precedes the word “and” in a list. Here are my thoughts on that bit of punctuation.
Writing a memoir, novel, essay, magazine article, or blog post sometimes requires authors to tackle some tough topics, including content that might be psychologically or emotionally difficult to read, especially to those who have experienced a trauma. How do we balance realistic depictions or discussions of challenging content with the needs of readers who could potentially be traumatized? Trigger warnings might—or might not—help. Here’s how.
Fiction has an obvious story arc, but memoirs and narrative nonfiction benefit from a structure that supports compelling storytelling too. Consider that your story, whether real or imagined, has a protagonist: you, if you’re writing a memoir, or a main character. Even a self-help book has a protagonist—the reader.
Em dashes, en dashes, and hyphens are physically distinct and have very different uses. This brief article provides a glimpse into those uses and distinctions, so you can begin employing the punctuation marks correctly today.
There are over 7,300 magazines published in the United States. Given these numbers, if you have an article you wish to submit to a magazine, it seems you have a good chance of getting it published. But the wide variety of publications, from news to general interest to niche to literary, also means that there is no one right way of submitting your work. Here are some ways you can get published in a magazine.
In an earlier blog post, Boulder Editor Jill Tappert discussed style guides (also known as style manuals). Style guides provide editing guidance for a particular field or subject area. You may already know what style guide your publisher wants you to follow. Alternatively, your editor can help you select the right style guide (and dictionary) […]
A piece of writing should be as precise, smooth, and clear as possible. To that end, it should follow the conventions of grammar, syntax, formatting, and style. (Yes, rules are sometimes broken to great effect, and there may be exceptions, but usually writing should follow these conventions.) What is style? Style covers myriad elements, such […]
Although more than half of all book sales (regardless of format) take place online, most authors wish to see their books in bookstores and libraries. My self-publishing clients often ask whether it’s possible for that dream to become reality. It is—if you know how and are willing to contact booksellers yourself. Compared to traditionally published […]
In the distant future, gender-associated words may no longer exist, but until then, wordsmiths should be keenly aware of common gender connotations and terminology that could be offensive.
Several years ago, I made a resolution: I would not buy any more books. That might seem an odd resolution for someone who has been editing books for fifty-five years. Practicality and kindness motivated me as I considered the task of our daughter, who after our deaths, would have to deal with all the possessions […]