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How Not To Piss Off An Editor – Part 2

editingHere is another in my infrequent series (here’s the first one if you want to see it) of how you can help yourself when it comes to not annoying your editor.  These tips are not any magic wand, but if you do follow this advice you are much more likely to form a good connection with your editor.


Read your own work.  Now I’m the first to admit that this has problems because you will end up reading what you think is there rather than what actually is there, but this is hugely important.  Especially when it comes to dialogue.  If you want to know does your dialogue flow – read it aloud, say it yourself.  If you can’t stand the sound of your own voice, then either get someone else to read it to you or get a PDF reader that can.  I use Adobe (the free download – I can’t afford the full version), it has a built in reader.  It’s monotonous tone to listen to, and you have to figure out the tricks to get it to work properly (no curly apostrophes or speech marks) but it sure makes your own mistakes jump out at you.


Run a spellcheck.  I received a manuscript with five spelling mistakes in four lines a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t a great piece of writing to begin with, but when I get words like dam spelt damn, I realise that the author hasn’t just failed to check their own work, they’ve failed to show any respect for the reader – or the editor and don’t forget in this case they were paying for my services.  But here is the thing that spell check won’t always tell you – you might spell the word right, but it could be the wrong word, homophones are a nightmare for this.  Also, for example, I often see a lot of confusion over there and their or where and were.  These are irritating typos, everyone does them as they type, but they can be found.  If the grammar check on the word processing package you use isn’t up to much, try Grammarly.  I find that this particular grammar-nazi can be a bit of a pain when it comes to colloquialisms and modern usage, but it picks up the little things that the author’s eye will miss.

Consistency – Names

In the last part of this, I rattled on about formatting consistency.  If you follow this blog you’ll also have seen me talking about names.  One of the things I mention there is to not be afraid of changing names.  In my latest WIP, I had to change the names of five different characters – one character got changed twice.  The reason for that was that all the names were starting with either the same letter or containing the same sounds.  So you see I do understand why an author would change a character’s name which is one possibility for why sometimes as an editor I get an odd name jumping out and sitting there wondering who on earth this character is only to realised that it’s a Rose by some other name that didn’t smell so sweet.  The worst I ever had was one scene containing one boy and one girl and seven names.  Ugh!

As I say, no magic wand, but avoid what pitfalls you can then the editor can concentrate on the import parts of helping make the work better.

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Books to Remember

Earlier this week, I went to a writers club dinner and some strange topics of conversation came up, though, not surprisingly, books we had read was one of those topics.  During this I was rather surprised by two of the shared memories.

The first was the kind of guilty pleasure moment.  One of the ladies said she remembered the first Mills and Boon book she had ever read, but to my shame and everyone else’s amusement, I said not only do I remember the first Mills and Boon book I ever read, but I still have it!

At the dinner I didn’t immediately remember the title, but it did come to me within a couple of minutes.  “Impossible Bargain”, sadly I was able to tell the story of it much more easily, even though I read it when I was about 16/17.

Well just to prove that I do still have the book, here’s a picture.  “Impossible Bargain” by Patricia Wilson. The code on the back is 8802.  For those who don’t recognise the coding system, that means it was part of the Mills and Boon offering from February 1988, which means I was actually 18 years old when I read it.

Impossible Bargain

Is that old to start reading romances?  If feels like I was younger and given what else I’d lived with by that age, I’m surprised I was that old before I started on the M&B.  To be honest, I was a bit of swotting teenager and most of what I read back then was text books.  Boring, but there you go.

This wasn’t the only memory we shared.  I actually said there were two books which I remember from my childhood, that virtually no one I’ve ever meet remembers and until very recently I was beginning to think I’d imagined the pair of them, but surprisingly someone at the table actually remembered reading them too.  “Fattypuffs and Thinifers” and “Bottersnikes and Gumbles”.

Recently I found a copy of Bottersnikes on Amazon.com, but it was $75 before international posting.  But as I was searching the internet to get the pictures below, I was somewhat surprised to suddenly find both books available on Amazon.co.uk.

Bottersnikes and Fattypuffs

Guess what?  I’ve put my order in for copies of both.  Have a horrible suspicion that I’m going to be disappointed when I re-read them, I’m not seven anymore after all, but it’s a piece of my childhood coming back in a way.

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