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Dispatches From The Publishing Front

   
   

Please (Please) Avoid These Common Writing Mistakes
by Erin Brown

After almost a decade in New York publishing houses, and now as a freelance editor, I keep seeing the same writing, ahem, “issues” cropping up again and again. Now you’re probably thinking, “But I knoooooooooow all of these. Duh.” Well, maybe not “duh” as that saying went out in 1987. However, the fact remains that I see these concerns over and over and over, in manuscript after manuscript, which leads me to believe that these lessons have not been imbedded into every first-time author’s brain. So let’s review so that you can save your revision time and energy for more important things, like fixing “it’s” versus “its.”  

**Note: in the following examples you will see that I spent a large part of my holidays visiting relatives in small town Texas. A pattern is not difficult to surmise.  more...

 
               
               

The End of an Error

by Jennifer Paros

Once my youngest son and I were talking, and I suggested that at school, instead of running around pretending on his own during recess, he might try inviting another child to play with him.  I made this suggestion believing that connecting more to children at school might help him feel better about going.  

He responded: “I . . . don’t do that - that’s not my kind of thing.  That’s not what I do.”  more...

   

Happy Holidays

by Cherie Tucker

We’ve already examined the mysteries of apostrophe placement, so this is just a little reminder because we have so many holidays coming up that totally confound advertisers.

You’ll see all sorts of interesting apostrophes floating about or missing entirely as 2009 progresses, so let’s examine them one at a time.
 
First, the holiday is New Year’s Day (or New Year’s Eve). Even if the words Day or Eve are left off, they are implied, so you must use the apostrophe.  The word Year is not plural—we only get one new one annually.  more...

   
               
             
   

The Romance Report

   
   

New Starts

by Jane Porter

It’s a new year, and appropriately I’m starting a new book even as I do revisions on a book turned in late December.  I’m most excited about the new book because I’m not really writing it yet, just thinking about it a lot, and thinking about what I’m going to write is in so many ways more satisfying than what I’ll actually write when I start the real writing next week. 

Why? 

Because real writing is hard, and the first draft of anything is far less complex and interesting than the final version that goes to publication.  And the final draft has had so many layers and tweaks, edits and revisions that its an entirely different beast than the first time you sit down to write page one, chapter one. more...

 
               
               
 

Smooth the Action

by James Thayer

SWe have a terrific scene figured out.  Lots of action and suspense.  We sit at our desks, our hands on the keyboards, and picture the action in our minds—each movement, step by step--and we write it just as we see it.  And we end up with: He drew his legs in and rose from the chair, then took several steps to the desk, and then reached out and opened his hand, then put his right hand around the pistol’s grip and closed his fingers. He lifted his arm and brought up the pistol.

We have written it frame by frame.  Yet it’s smoother and just as complete this way: He crossed the room to get the pistol.

Action shouldn’t take longer to read about than the action would take in real time.  When it does, the writer may have broken down the action into too many constituent parts.  There’s too much detail, such as: She put her hand on the door handle, twisted it, and opened the door.  Segments of the action have been described, rather than the action as a whole:  She opened the door.   more...

What Makes Writing Worth Doing?

by Paula Margulies

In “Manhattan,” one of my favorite Woody Allen movies, there’s a wonderful scene at the end of the film where the main character, Isaac, a neurotic, divorced television writer, finds himself at home on the couch, holding a tape recorder. His teenage girlfriend Tracy has left him, he’s blown a relationship with a woman his own age, he’s lost his job and apartment, and he’s discovered that his fears about his health were unfounded. In that final scene, alone and hopeless, he turns on the tape recorder and asks himself, “What makes life worth living?” more...

 
   
       
   

 
       
       

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