Tag Archive - editing help

How a Writing Tool Can Help You Write Better

Today’s post is by Hayley Milliman.

I started writing when I was seven years old. My first stories were ghost stories, carefully crafted and meticulously printed in small three-ring binders.

As I grew up and moved on to different topics, my love for writing grew too. What didn’t come along, however, was a desire to make sure my writing was perfect.

In many ways, I’m the ultimate pantser. In my ideal world, I spend all day waiting for inspiration to strike, and when it finally does, I write and I write until my fingers bleed. Then, I send off the work, without so much as a single reread.

Of course, writing this way isn’t practical, and it’s certainly not going to get you very far if you’re hoping to actually earn money from your work. As I’ve matured into a professional writer, I’ve had to build a process and structure for myself that ensures my work is not only inspired but technically correct and enjoyable to read. Part of that process includes making use of something I swore I’d never use: an editing tool.

An editing tool is like the plague to a pantser like me. For years, the last thing I wanted to do was go sentence by sentence through my own work, looking for missed commas or clunky turns of phrase. Continue Reading…

How Writers Can Spot Those Pesky Flaws in Their Fiction

All I see are a bunch of trees.

That’s what a lot of my clients say to me.

Well, actually, no one has ever said those exact words to me. But, in essence, that is what they’re saying.

And when I peered deep into the editing forest, after a number of years of working as a copyeditor, that a lot of the trees looked the same. I kept having that dreamlike sensation that I’d been there, in that same spot, many times before.

Truth is, I had. Waaaayyy too many times.

All this to say: novelists make a lot of the same mistakes. They have a lot of the same weak components in their writing. They can’t seem to see those glaring mistakes—because those darn redwoods are in the way. Continue Reading…

The Editorial Burden That Weighs on the Author

In 1957, an editor at Lippincott publishing house received a manuscript on her desk from an unknown author who had written what was mostly a string of short stories. Her task? To work with the author to help her get the manuscript in shape so that it would be marketable and read well.

This was the job of in-house editors back then. Often manuscripts like these would be given to them to whip into shape, and Tay Hohoff was given this enormous task of working with this unknown author—an undertaking that took two and a half years—until finally, the manuscript was ready for publication. Continue Reading…