Category Archives: Editing & Proofreading

The Writer-Editor Project III

DSC02458The Writer-Editor Project III

My first post in the series, for writers, you can see here.

My second post in the series, for editors, you can see here.

You might wonder…

What’s she getting at?

What I’m getting at

Is a way to find a good editor (for writers), ways to find good clients (for freelance editors), for us to find each other, open up the conversation, share ideas and perspectives.

For writers and editors –

Was your writer/editor relationship planned? Serendipity? Assigned?

How do you feel about your best writer/editor relationship? Or what sort of relationship would you like to have if you had a writer/editor relationship?


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Special Events

The Writer-Editor Project II

DSC02458The Writer-Editor Project II

I posted my first come-on for The Writer-Editor Project on January 19, for writers. You can see it here. If you are a writer and would like to comment about your writer-editor experiences, you still have time.

The editors get their turn

Now, I have a couple of questions for editors.

I’ll reiterate – I would like some discussion, so feel free to respond (kindly please) to others’ comments.

Keep in mind, if you respond, you may be quoted. If you want to complain about a certain writer, please do not mention her/him by name.

Editor questions

These questions are for editors.

  1. What’s the harshest response you have ever received from a writer about your edit?
  2. What’s the best thing a writer ever told you about your edit?


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Special Events

The Writer-Editor Project


The Writer-Editor Project

I’m working on another new project, and I’d like some assistance. This new project is just one of the reasons I’ve not been blogging as much.

Let’s discuss it

In a series of blogs, I will post questions about writing and editing, for both writers and editors.

I would like some discussion, so feel free to respond (kindly please) to others’ comments.

Keep in mind, if you respond, you may be quoted. If you want to complain about a certain editor, please do not mention her/him by name.

Writers first

These first questions are for writers. And don’t worry editors – you will get your chance to grouse about writer nightmares!

The questions

1.  What’s the harshest – and most helpful – comment you ever had from a good editor?

2.  What’s the most significant thing you have learned from an editor?



Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Special Events

The Word Shark is in Knoxville

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I am a guest on Donna L. Martin’s blog today as part of her Writerly Wisdom series. She’s had articles, all relating to writing, every Wednesday, all year long!

Some of the subjects covered so far: social networking, to blog or not to blog, picture books to young adult, deadlines, writer’s block, critique groups, showing vs. telling, dialog, how to show action, adding tension, and so much more.

Please stop over at Donna’s blog and see my post I don’t need no stinkin’ editor.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Editing & Proofreading, My Guest Posts

Quick Editorial Tips VII – For Poetry!



I have edited and proofread some poetry, both for clients and as a favor for friends. Poetry is tough to critique honestly!You don’t want to crush the muse, you don’t want to offend (as poetry is so personal), but you do want the writer to reach a little, experiment with words and sounds, show true emotion.

I have a poetry collection coming together – hopefully I will publish this year with the help of editor Shawn MacKenzie Shawn MacKenzie and my book designer Elizabeth H. Cottrell.

I’d like to share some of my critique notes on poetry I have edited and proofread. Perhaps a few of you can refer to these notes when you beta read my poetry collection! Or perhaps you have decided to write or edit your own poetry.

Struggle for rhyme

Don’t struggle – it will be evident. Try to make the rhyme flow. Rhymes don’t necessarily have to be the same letters like in “ease” and “please.” Rhymes can come from similar vowel sounds. For instance – try “verse” with “search.” Or “son” with “become.”


Look at your collection – does it use a lot of the same old common words?

Reach for it! Pull out the thesaurus and open up your vocabulary. Don’t use familiar words over and over (people reading your collection will notice).



Tickle a funny bone

How many collections have you read where all the poetry is the same – sadness, depression, lost love, loneliness. It’s depressing to read, too.

Try a little humor! What makes you laugh? Try to tap into this laughter with a light-hearted piece or two.

Does this comma make me look fat?

A comma adds a pause and changes the cadence; it changes the way a reader reads the lines and the piece. Along those same lines…

…Try reading your own work out loud

I do this for clients and friends, and I also do it while reading a “finished” piece or my own. I often change things around a bit after I’ve heard it out loud.

Have a friend read it aloud to you. You can hear where the reader stumbles and pauses.

Change the sequence of words

Instead of “I lost my love,” try “the love I lost.”

Instead of “the worm squiggles and wriggles,” try “the squiggly-wriggly worm.”



Caps or no caps?

The use of caps at the beginning of a line or a sentence within a poem is a personal choice. Sometimes we don’t want to use any caps, nor do we want to use any punctuation. But consider it both ways.

Would the piece be enhanced with a few caps along the way?

Would it read better with some additional (or less) punctuation?

Left justified all?

Consider lay-out and indents. Are all your poems left justified?

Experiment! Put a few lines left justified then poke the fourth or fifth line into right justified or indented.

Haiku anyone?

Look at your poems. Do they all look like blood relatives? Are they all laid out the same way? Few lines and a break, few lines and a break…

Throw in some haiku or a long-paragraph prose piece. Study and employ alternative poetry forms.

What have others written?

Read others’ poetry. Search for your favorite poets online.

I’m inspired by Ogden Nash (what a hoot), Auden, Poe, Thoreau, Thomas.



Is there a theme?

Some of my poems have a theme, like the sea and waves or art and canvas.

Put a theme into a few of your pieces; use of similes and metaphors can make it more real to a reader.

Smell is the strongest sense

When someone talks about warm apple pie or the lilac scent drifting through the bedroom window…do you remember? Can you smell it?

Darn tootin’ you can!

Interject some smells into your poetry to get the reader more involved.

In your comment

Feel free to include links to your favorite poets, one of your own poems, or a poetry site you especially like.


I’ll start a poem, you add to it. Poem stanzas will be in ALL CAPS.

If you don’t want to add to the poem, no problem (try it, you might like it!). You can still comment!

Here goes…



All photos from


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Prose & Poetry, Publishing, Quick Editing Tips

The name my mother gave me

Hi. I'm Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Hi. I’m Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Karen who?

I am going back to my maiden name – Sanderson.


I will publish a collection of poetry (hopefully this year) with the name that Lois Jane Holmes Sanderson gave me – Karen R. Sanderson.

Karen Sanderson being silly...circa 1960-something.

Karen Sanderson being silly…circa 1960-something.

After the poetry, I plan on pubbing a book of historical/familial short stories, after that a collection of horror.


I realized I didn’t want my ex’s name on any of my work. Especially since he was no cheerleader or even tolerant of my dreams to write or publish or edit.

Six freaking months old...I'm on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Six freaking months old…I’m on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Same stuff, different name

The Word Shark blog will be the same, and the website will be the same. And FB, and LI, and Google+ plus, and Twitter, and email…

Except where you used to see Elliott, you will start to see Sanderson.

Moving forward

Over the next few weeks I’ll morph from Karen S. Elliott, The Word Shark, to Karen R. Sanderson, The Word Shark!



Filed under Blogging, Branding & Platform, E-books & E-publishing, Editing & Proofreading, Personal Articles, Social Networking, Special Events

Writing good fiction is like baseball

DSC01376Writing good fiction has been compared to many things: creating great food from a recipe, a long, arduous journey, a trip to the circus.

I once compared writing to Family Court – The writing life is like family court only family court was more fun.

My favorite comparison is Vaughn Roycroft’s What building my house taught me about writing. A must read for every writer!

The struggle

I was struggling with a short story a while ago, while watching a baseball game (Go Phillies!).

And boing! I realized, “Hey, writing is like baseball!”

Consider the writer as the pitcher – the dude on the mound. But the pitcher is not the only player on the field.

Long fly ball or an infield outDSC01390

You pitch the ball and the batter hits it. It’s a long fly ball! The center fielder snags the ball, throws it to the cut-off man, the cut-off man throws it to the plate – runner out!

You pitch the ball. The batter hits it. The shortstop snags it, flips it to the second baseman, then the second baseman throws to the first baseman. Double play!

You may have started with the ball, but you weren’t the only player handling it.

YouDSC01382r pitching coach

Consider the expert editor. She/he tells you where the ball was dragging, where it was too high, where you lost control.

Your team

Is the pitcher the only player on the field? No sir!

Consider all the friends and associates who follow your Fan Page, your beta readers, your blog followers, the people who allow you to guest post. They give you feedback, they have ideas, they guide you and support you.DSC00732

Looking good on the mound

And don’t forget the uniform guys. The ones who make you look good when you go out on the field. Consider what a proofreader might do for you.

The Iron Horse

Lou Gehrig played for the Yanks until his stellar career was cut short by ALS, now commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig played from 1925 to 1939 and made it to the field for 2,130 consecutive games. This streak was considered unbreakable until Baltimore’s Cal Ripken, Jr., broke Gehrig’s record in 1995. Ripken went on to play 2,632 games.

Moral of the story…writing – and incredible baseball stats – are a long-haul sort of thing.

Don’t be an ass-terisk*DSC01375

A few players are listed in the baseball record books with an asterisk. Why? They cheated to achieve their monumental goals (remember the guy who paid a few thousand people to write awesome reviews for his book?).

So, let’s keep it simple – do not cheat.

See you at the Series

No player gets to the World Series by playing just one or two games. You have a long spring training and a long season ahead of you. And sometimes, you might have to wait several seasons to get the recognition you deserve.

So wind up, and keep pitching.


Filed under Editing & Proofreading, Publishing