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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Mystery tends to swirl around ghostwriters and what they do, but it needn’t. I’m pleased to lift the veil . . . First, there isn’t one singular job description for a ghostwriter. Nor is there one uniform way a ghostwriter can help you. There are many possibilities, and the relationship can be explored and developed […]
“What a dream job you have!” I’ve lost track of all the times I’ve been told that by nonwriting folks who’ve just learned a bit about my life as a freelance writer and editor. And invariably, their response has surprised me, for I generally consider my job to be plain and simple work—a way to […]
As a freelance editor, I spend a lot of time changing authors’ texts. That’s my job. It wasn’t until I experienced the editing process firsthand before publishing my book, Business Matters, that I truly realized what other authors may know: It’s hard on the ego to be edited. When I saw the edits, I didn’t […]
Many authors confuse the job of the proofreader with that of the copyeditor. Both are vital for helping create a polished version of your writing, yet these word experts work at two completely different stages of the editing process. After the copyediting stage—when overall content plus grammar and style are addressed—comes the proofreading stage. Generally, […]
With apologies to my mother (“Turkeys are done, young lady; people are finished”), I pose that question with sincerity, for the writer and editor in me has struggled with it for decades. When is a piece of writing or an editing job actually complete and ready to go out the door? When is “enough” really […]