Do I need to master grammar to be a better writer?

shattered glass from a car wreckThere are hundreds, probably thousands, of books on the market that deal with the craft of writing—learning plot, character development, story arc, and such. But sadly missing from the list is grammar.

I know it’s a school subject many people hated. Do they still make kids learn how to diagram a sentence? Maybe diagramming a sentence is what turned us off.

But lately I’ve been stuck on grammar. So much so that I’m rereading one of my college text books. As an editor I need to know the rules, otherwise how [Read more…]

7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs – Coming Soon

7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs front coverI’ve been hard at work lately, developing a booklet just for you.

Yes, I notice your reluctance to hire a freelance editor. I understand that hesitation. You don’t know whom to hire; you don’t know if you’ll get scammed; you don’t know how to evaluate the editing you get back. No doubt, though, residing at #1 is How much is it going to cost?

So I’ve put together what I call 7 Cheats Sheets to Cut Editing Costs to help you reduce your editing costs. My critique group is clamoring for the final product because [Read more…]

How to Format Numbers, Dates, and Times in Your Manuscript

clock and notebook formatting timeBecause my kids graduated from school long ago, I no longer know what’s taught in English class—aside from the “cursive writing” controversy. I only know I see a wide variety of grammar and format errors in the manuscripts I edit and proofread.

Many writers incorrectly format numbers, dates, and times, so I thought I’d give you some basic guidelines today. [Read more…]

A New Perspective on the Cost of Freelance Editors

a pile of $50 bills, editing costs“I can’t afford to hire a professional editor,” you say.

But you can’t afford not to hire one. The quality—or lack thereof—of your story directly impacts your ability to land a traditional publishing contract. If you publish indie, it impacts your sales. And who doesn’t want lots of sales?

I don’t say this just because I’m an editor. Even I send my own work to a writer friend to edit. That’s because it’s hard for us see what’s the mistakes in our own writing.

That’s why I encourage you to hire an editor.

We all know professional editing costs can add up, but I often get the impression that writers expect it to start at $5000 and go up from there. Even $1000 is a lot when that same amount pays the mortgage for a month or two.

Let’s take a look at the industry standard fees given in Writer’s Market 2017. [Read more…]

Should I Use Italics or Quotation Marks? A Style Guide to Formatting Titles

Chicago Manual of Style book cover
When I went to high school, teachers taught us to underline book titles. With the advent of all things digital, that changed. In fact a lot got changed.

What I’m talking about is the stylized treatment of text.

In the world of publishing, there are two style books that pull most of the weight. In the book world, The Chicago Manual of Style is the primary style guide (first published in 1906!). This book contains over 1000 pages and instructs how to [Read more…]

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