Tag Archives: developmental edit

A Teachable Spirit

A couple-three years ago, I had lunch with an author friend who was in town for a conference. She is a speaker who often counsels beginning writers about craft and process, and that day we were discussing the finer points of teaching/editing grownups. “It’s all about having a teachable spirit,” she said. “You should write […]

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The Occasionally Cranky Editor Speaks

Dear Mr. Author: There are a lot of errors in your manuscript. Not plot holes or lack of clarity, no. Simple things like typos, misspelled words, punctuation mistakes. What happened? It looks like a bomb went off in here. I’m the content editor, so I’ve been looking past these things; it’s the copyeditor’s job to […]

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Possible … Not Probable

Some years ago in a weak moment I fell victim to some mediocre book marketing—“follow-up to the international best-selling Pillars of the Earth!”—and purchased Ken Follett’s World Without End, a one thousand–page historical novel. I’d read and enjoyed his early work*—Eye of the Needle (1978), Triple (1979), The Key to Rebecca (1980), The Man from […]

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Don’t Celebrate Too Soon!

After you and I spend a couple months working on the content of your manuscript—catching some continuity issues or working on characterization, say, in fiction, or beefing up clarity or connecting a few dots in nonfiction—you might well heave a big sigh of relief. You might do a little dance in front of the computer, […]

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Short Saturday: The Grief of Editing

This post from Chuck Wendig has—as his posts always do—strong language, so be forewarned. But it also made me laugh out loud, because he compares the editing process to the five stages of grief as posited by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. We’ve talked about […]

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The Brusque Truth in Publishing

Not long ago I was a bit demoralized by the brusque reaction I received from an author whose manuscript I’d praised. It was polished, humorous, well-organized. There was really very little for me to critique, but the few gentle massages I suggested were rejected. Brusquely. (Brusque, according to my online Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged, is “markedly short […]

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The Second. Or Even the Third.

To see what fiction-editing craft might be, start by looking at the faults it’s intended to detect. There are two kinds: surface faults and internal faults. A surface fault is local, as immediately evident to the naked eye as a skin blemish. You can point to specific words that constitute it. Most surface faults do […]

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Not Until They Pry My Cold, Dead Fingers … (How to Let Go)

The final copyedit is not the time for you to do a rewrite, sugar. And this is the third so-called final. Stop it. You should have done all this rethinking before now! Your Editor is losing her patience. It’s time for us to talk about how to let go. And why you should. So let’s […]

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Learning to Collaborate

John Lennon and Paul McCartney were lucky: they met young and they learned to collaborate—in spite of their near-opposite personalities—before they grew up and, eventually, let other things (particularly adulthood) get in the way of the creativity they had together. Author Joshua Wolf Shenk has written about them and about the intersection of creativity and […]

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What Do Monkeys and Manuscripts Have in Common?

Being off my regular blogging schedule—because, I’ll remind you, my hard drive failed and I lost a lot of work—has affected me in other ways. So while my friends are faithfully supplying articles for me to post, sometimes I forget which day of the week it is. :) This week, debut author Varina Denman talks […]

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