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That's Not What You Are:
The Kindest Words

by Jennifer Paros

Over nine years ago, I found myself in the hospital after the birth of my second son, having lost near to half my blood.  Without going into (possibly) unwelcome medical explanation, suffice it to say, there was a glitch in the labor process that had resulted in my severe anemic condition. 

In the hospital, I was surrounded by concerned people.  People who had studied to be there, who wore white often and who wanted to take my temperature, take samples of what little blood I had left, and wake me from sound and much needed sleep.  I found these people caring, for the most part, but often fear-inducing.  more...

Let's Make a List

by Cherie Tucker

Enumerated lists that follow colons have some rules you might like to know.  First, if you have a list, whether enumerated or in bullets, you must have at least two items.  Every 1. must have a 2.; every A. must have a B.; every bullet must have a companion bullet.  Next, the first word of every listed item must begin with a capital letter.  Also, all the listed items must be in parallel construction—either all complete sentences, similar fragments, or the same parts of speech.  (You want your readers to be able to scan what you have written easily without having to mentally correct it.  more...

               
             
   

Dispatches From The Publishing Front

   
   

You Might Be an Editor If...
by Erin Brown

If you watch the tickers at the bottom of CNN, MSNBC, and FOX and yell at the screen, “It’s ‘Obama campaigns in Canton, Ohio, in front of 30,000’ not ‘Obama campaigns in Canton, Ohio in front of 30,000!!!!’ God, can’t you people hire someone that knows about comma placement? Sheesh!”...you might be an editor. 

If your boss asks you to read the 500-page manuscript he just received in the next four hours and report back about whether he should buy it, at what advance, and to make sure that at least ten colleagues read and concur in the same amount of time...you might be an editor.  

If every neighbor, relative, casual acquaintance, and random person on the street who finds out your profession asks you to read and comment on the 200,000-word memoir they’ve been writing for the past twenty years...you might be an editor. more...

 
               
               
 

Stop All That Thinking

by James Thayer

The novelist and playwright Somerset Maugham said, “There are three rules for writing the novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

This might be one of them: don’t have your characters think a lot.

Writers of romance, women’s fiction (also known as chick lit), and literary novels are particularly prone to letting their protagonists think on and on, setting out in sentence after sentence the characters’ precise feelings, sharpening and sharpening the emotional pencil down to a nub.  But for writers of all genres, the tendency to write down the characters’ thoughts at great length is tempting. more...

A Procrastinator's Guide to Writing

by Lindsey Barrett

When faced with a revision due your publisher, or writing assignment that you dread, either because it requires more concentrated brain power than you can currently muster or because the deadline looming is unreasonable in light of your mounting stack of To-Dos, do you generally get right down to the task with a cheery "Well, there is no time like the present!"  If so, this article is not for you.  If, on the other hand, merely thinking about the dreaded task causes your brain to freeze up like my old clutchless Volkswagen, stuck midway between first and reverse, read on. more...

 

 
   
       
   

 
       
       

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