Quick Editorial Tips II

These Quick Editorial Tips are like the Jaws series, only better. More teeth.

See Quick Editorial Tips – the prequel! – here.

“Just” and “that” 

It’s just that I want to slug my editor.


I want to slug my editor.

See the difference?

Overuse of adverbs

Yeah, I’ve heard it all about adverbs, repeatedly. Some writers use them responsibly.  Some writers overuse them, continuously.

A few adverbs aren’t so bad, here and there, sparingly.

White space

Extra long paragraphs in any book – e- or print – make me cringe (and fast forward).

Add white space. Either chop up your paragraphs or put more dialog in your prose. Make it easy on us readers (and editors).

Echo … echo … echo

Above I used “make me cringe.” If I used “make me cringe” on Page 12 and then again on Page 13, you would notice, right?

Even simple words, like “black,” “tired,” “strong,” “hard” – when repeated – create an “echo.”

Roget’s Thesaurus works wonders.

I answered, she expressed, he questioned

Hmmm. Mostly, I’d have to say stick with the tried and true.

Use, “he said,” “she said.”

Once in a teensy while, you can use the other schtuff – but not every dang time a character says something.


See Quick Editorial Tips I  

Are you writing mundanely? Do your paragraphs have an echo, echo? Do you have enough white space





Karen S. Elliott was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday NYT crossword in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, and writer. She edits fiction and non-fiction including: sci-fi, fantasy, children’s, mystery, paranormal, western, horror, literary, historical, and journalism. Karen completed her writing coursework through UCLA and University of New Mexico, and was the winner of the SouthWest Writers 2009 Writing Contest – The Best Hook. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. She is currently working on collections of short stories and poetry.

Featured shark picture by Shawn MacKenzie.


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Quick Editing Tips

16 responses to “Quick Editorial Tips II

  1. Pithy and spot on as always. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Shawn and Angie! 🙂

  3. It’s just that I had to sign in and put my password in just to like this post after all! lol!

  4. Perfect. Short, sweet, powerful!

  5. You know how picky I can be! Though that doesn’t mean I don’t mess up when writing a novel – lawd!

    Good Tips! 😀

  6. Thanks everybody! Now that I have a lot of editing work under my belt, I have a rather long list of Editorial Tips.

  7. Karen, you’ve got me grinning and taking notes! Illustrating your tips with examples helps so much!

    I’ve see each of these in a multitude of books. Sadly, I’ve been guilty of one or two myself, but that was before I hired you as my amazing editor!

  8. Heck, I’m guilty of a lot myself – through a first, second, or third draft. You should see my list of “check for _____ !” Thanks, E.

  9. Those echos can be tough to locate when I’m writing, but easy to find when I’m reading! There is one book where the author used “limned” about a zillion (okay, maybe three-four) times, but because it was such a unique word it stood out and was irritating.

  10. Echoes are hard to locate, when writing. I write the same way. But when editing, even if an echo is pages or chapters away, I still pick up on it. I’m reading a paranormal romance now and every other page is “warm” or “gorgeous.” Okay, I get he’s warm and gorgeous! Break out, will ya?

  11. Excellent tips again! And I especially related to the echo when I’m reading. I pick up on it instantly and it turns me of the whole book.

  12. Pingback: Quick Editorial Tips III | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s