This is amazing. As a grown-up who is just now dealing with what it was like to grow up in an entire world of narcissism, it’s tough to work through what was real and what wasn’t. This article explains feelings and thoughts so perfectly! Thank you!
I know that there are more than just a few who are silently hurting this Mother’s Day. Loss of a child, infertility, those who yearn to be a mother. Then there are also those who can’t celebrate their own mother, the title of mom itself may even be too much considering how they’ve been treated. After many years of hoping for a mother of my own to celebrate, trying to see the good in a destructive tornado of pain and agony, I finally gave in and let go of ever having a mom. We no longer speak, as I’ve found the separation from a toxic and narcissistic parent to be much easier than trying to emotionally believe she is capable of loving me. Some moms may have given birth to their children, but the title of mother will just never fit them. If we…
Think it takes a long time to get your edited novel back?
There are many different things that go into an extensive line edit of your book, but you can help speed up the process. The stage and state in which your novel is received determines the length of time it takes an editor to comprehensively review your work.
Want to know how you can help? Check out the tips below to get your book in the best shape possible before it hits the editor’s desk:
Read aloud for overall sound, cadence, and feel. If. All. Of. Your. Sentences. Sound. Like. This. Oh. My. God. It’s. Time. To. Revise.
Abrupt sentences are great for emphasis. They break things up and serve as interjections in long sections of text. Likewise, cool beans if you enjoy waxing poetic about your passion for life for paragraphs on end, but there’s a limit.
For the love of all the libraries in the world, change things up a bit. Excite us with a little variety. Trust me; it’ll keep us awake, and we’ll get your work back to you much faster.
The point of cadence and rhythm is to let things flow, to feel the language. Everything shouldn’t sound the same. If your book’s cadence is as exciting as the grandfather clock in my mom’s living room, I’m more likely to take a nap than continue reading.
2. Proofread every sentence for grammar. There are nothing more distracting that shittygrammar and speling. It’s difficult to follow even the most badass of storylines if I’m distracted by misplaced apostrophes and abused verb tenses.
Errors? We all make errors. Typo is my middle name when I’m ON FIRE with a great new idea, and that’s why proofreading was invented. We’re human. But when editors run across an entire manuscript full of errors, it tends to throw a wrench in the works. It slows us down until we’re being passed by turtles jogging through peanut butter. Want your MS faster? Give it a good old-fashioned proof before you submit.
Pro Tip: Spell check doesn’t catch everything.
Ex: She set her alarm so she could walk up early for her meeting with the shareholders.
3. Search for passive verbs and kill them. (Seriously, murder the shit out of them.) If you want your work to be interesting, riveting, and have the chance of keeping anyone awake past the rush-hour news, decimate the damned passive verbs.
She was driven to madness. (passive = weaker, not the doer of the action)
They drove her mad. (active = strong, doer of the action)
4. Tighten sentences and cut words that are unnecessary. Eliminate extra words in your writing to make it more concise and readable.
For all intents and purposes, the culprit was Joe, but the police questioned everyone for the purpose of eliminating suspects.
The culprit was Joe, but the police questioned everyone to eliminate suspects.
5. Check every paragraph. Do several of your sentences begin with the same word? Are they all short? Are they all long and complicated? If so, go back and restructure to make your writing more interesting.
It’s very easy to fall into habits; we do it every day in our lives. Why? It streamlines things, makes them easier. So, of course we do it with our writing, too. Be sure to challenge yourself constantly to ensure you’re finding new ways to express your ideas.
6. Question yourself. Before you send your MS to the editor, question the moves you’ve made:
Can everyone who picks up your book understand the terminology you’ve used?
Did you convey the message you wanted to convey when telling your story?
What IS your main message?
Have you written as plainly and simply as possible?
Have you checked every name for consistent spelling throughout your book?
Have you checked your MS format?
Have you checked for consistent style throughout?
Has someone else read your work?
When you feel confident you’ve covered all your bases and your work is solid—with as few errors as possible—then you’re ready to send it to your editor.
Remember, your editor will be most effective when they receive the cleanest work you can possibly give them. They are on the lookout for ways to improve character, pacing, and plot; as well as other issues that may arise. However, when there are fewer small issues, they have more time and brainpower to focus on the larger, overall aspects.
Bottom Line: Help your editor help you! We want you to succeed, but we also know you’re very capable of catching “courldn’t” with a simple spellcheck.
The conversation went a little something like this:
“OMG, are you reading a dictionary right now?”
After glancing up and trying NOT to roll my eyes irretrievably into their sockets, “No, Hon, I’m actually reading a professional guide for editors to refresh my knowledge and see what’s new in the field.”
“So, like a dictionary, but worse?” Laughter and mocking conversation followed as the rest of the family got in on the joke.
“Har, har. You guys are hilarious.” I pushed my reading glasses back onto my nose and once more wielded my highlighter like the weapon it is.
The Importance of Staying Current
You know how our kids mock us when we say things like “groovy” or “psychedelic”? As writers, we spend a LOT of time focusing on speech patterns, slang, and even everyday activities of the younger generations. Why? It’s not because we enjoy watching exotic species in their natural environment. It’s because we need our writing to stay relevant—and, also, we don’t want to be mocked into a permanent room at Shady Acres just yet.
Writers today have many options. We’ve all seen the movies about hermits who decide to become lighthouse keepers on remote islands. They end up writing brilliant novels, and they never have human contact—except for that one captain who arrives in a rickety boat that crashes toward shore once per year with the basic supplies needed for survival. And who among us isn’t clamoring for that option?!
But—and this is just me going out on a limb—there are those writers who want to live an existence in modern society and write about current topics. And that means staying up to date with what is going on around them.
Collectors of Knowledge
We’re collectors and learners and hoarders of facts. And when you think about it, observing new trends, behaviors, and speech patterns are all ways of learning and collecting knowledge.
The intuitive and empathetic nature most creative people possess drives them to not only study and recall behaviors, but also try to understand how they fit into the context of the world surrounding them. All the human emotions and behaviors we learn about add to the worlds and stories we create.
But Why Study Grammar & Editing & Stuff?
The mechanics of our jobs—whether you’re a writer, an editor, a proofreader, or all of the above—are the supporting framework of the creativity we put out there. Think of the inner structure of a building, the weight-bearing support.
Is it all about grammar? Absolutely not. Is it about rule-breaking? Nope, not that either.
It’s about how everything works together to form a balance. It used to be all about grammar, but today I read style guides and grammar books to learn about updates and accepted uses.
THEN, I use my professional judgement, based on the text I’m currently writing or editing. True, there are still a few dusty, by-the-book rule followers who are likely growing apoplectic at reading this, but they are few and far between. Most writers recognize they’ll capture a larger and more invested audience if they “speak their language.”
Yeah, I’d Totally Read a Dictionary
When it comes down to it, I suppose I should apologize to my husband for being so appalled that he mocked me for nerding out while reading an editing guide…because it could have just as easily been a dictionary or a thesaurus. (#Guilty)
Why? I want my writing to be the best it can be. Likewise, I want my clients to get the very best work I can give them when I’m editing. That means they deserve the extra time I put in to stay abreast of current style guide updates and even the latest additions to Merriam-Webster.
P.S. Did you guys know that, as of 2021, “hard pass,” “@,” and “cancel culture” have officially been added to the dictionary? Don’t blink! Things change daily.