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.
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.
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.