Tag Archives: punctuation

Short Saturday: If You Only Read One Thing …

A comma splice is only a little error, easily fixed. If you gave me a manuscript full of run-on sentences caused by them, it would be an easy edit. But—the “world’s top* grammarian,” this short article from Business Insider tells us, “fears that this punctuation error is becoming standard English.” This makes me sad, because—as […]

Posted in Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , ,
Comments closed

A Device for the Eye Rather Than for the Ear *

The apostrophe, that is. And what I’ve been seeing lately makes my eyes bleed, y’all. I know I’m not the first. (Here’s looking at you, Lynn Truss. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, but you need a copyeditor, too, friend.) Most recently, Kate Brannen wrote a clever article about how to sign your Christmas […]

Posted in Your Editor Says … | Also tagged ,
Comments closed

The Invisibles

As you might expect from someone who grew up to be an editor, I am (generally) an orderly person. Everything in its place, organized, methodical, systems, processes, plans … that sort of thing. This includes the way a manuscript looks when I am working on it. I like it to be neat. (Or at least […]

Posted in Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , , ,
Comments closed

Short Saturday: Editing the Dead

I read quite a bit of Shirley Jackson’s fiction in middle and high school—lots of her short stories, and the “fictionalized memoirs” Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons. Since the former begins with a family that has “two children and about five thousand books,” I immediately identified with them. (Our family had three children […]

Posted in Authors & Other Writers, Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , , ,
Comments closed

Short Saturday: The Joy of Editing

I just sent back a first pass edit on a well-researched novel set in the Middle Ages. I can tell you this only because it rang true; the few facts I know about medieval life could dance on the head of a pin with room to spare for several angels. But I knew enough to […]

Posted in Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , , , , , , , ,
Comments closed

Short Saturday: I Am Not Editing Our Conversation

No, really. I’m not. Not outwardly, not inwardly. Promise. The Old Editor Says … Edit to live, don’t live to edit.* It’s not your job to correct other people’s speech. It’s not your job to correct menus or public signage. It’s not your job, however much it may appeal to you as an avocation, to […]

Posted in Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , , , ,
Comments closed

Mistakes Were Made: The First Draft vs. Your Best Effort

You’ve seen it in dozens of movies, so many it’s practically a cliché: on a desperate deadline, the writer frantically types the last words of the manuscript—closeup of the words The End—then rrrrips the paper out of the typewriter carriage, and immediately sends a pile of pages off to his publisher. Finished! (I realize I’m […]

Posted in The Writing Craft, Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , , , , ,
Comments closed

Let’s Talk About Notes

No, no. I don’t mean passing notes. (Or margin notes; I’ve already talked about those.) You’ve probably called them footnotes—you see these mostly in scholarly works—or endnotes, which you’ll see (ahem) at the end of a text. When do you need a note? That’s easy: • if something or someone is being quoted* • when […]

Posted in Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , , , , ,
Comments closed

Short Saturday: Rules You Can Forget

We’ve talked about “writing rules”* before. Some are inviolable, like No Double Spacing After a Period. Some have to be reconsidered, like my stance on the singular they. Some fall into gray areas depending on the audience you’re writing for or which side of the pond you live on. Me, I tend to err on […]

Posted in The Writing Craft, Your Editor Says … | Also tagged , , , ,
Comments closed

Short Saturday: Short Lists, Short Jokes

We’ve been talking about lists and short fiction this week—and we’re always talking about grammar and punctuation—so I couldn’t resist leaving you with this short Short Saturday post. Who doesn’t love a bar joke? A man walks into a bar … and something unexpected happens. There are a whole slough of bar jokes just for […]

Posted in Miscellany, Words & Language | Also tagged , ,
Comments closed