“Please take back out every Oxford comma,” a journalistic-minded author of mine once said. I began my editing career using Associated Press (AP) Style, so I understood his suggestion, but the house style at my current company mandated the use of the serial comma. We had a short, spirited, and (thankfully) respectful debate about it, and ultimately house style prevailed. I convinced the author that the meaning in his writing remained unchanged and using a serial comma accomplished something important to the company—it maintained consistency throughout their titles.
The one thing you can do is write a really good book—a book that’s good enough that somebody will read it, and at the end, turn to somebody else and say, “You have to read this one.” So I think it’s empowering; the best marketing you can do is write a good book.
So you’ve written a novel. You’ve done a couple of drafts, and you feel good enough about it to ask a few people to take a look. Choose carefully; you need constructive feedback, not unconditional love. You won’t get it from the person who’s kept all your precious papers since you were four, and you won’t get it from your soul mate. Your trusted readers are business casual: friendly, but there for a reason.
The first read is mostly for characters and story—the who, what, and why. Your trusted readers tell you what was great about the book and what wasn’t so great. They ask for clarification and comment on that thing that happens in chapter four that maybe could happen sooner, or not at all. You grit your teeth, smile, and revise.
One of my favorite aspects of being a manager of Ooligan’s editorial department is the short class we hold every Wednesday. We cover various roles that an editor plays and tasks that they may be expected to complete. During one of these classes, a fellow Ooligan student asked me about other classes they should consider taking if they want to pursue a future in editing. My answer was quick and to the point: design.
What is XML, anyway? Is it some fancy new coding language I have to learn? Why do we use it? Why is it part of the editing department?
Good dialogue is one of the most crucial ingredients for a well-written story—and, to the frustration of many a would-be author, one of the easiest to bungle. Writers often commit the sin of overwriting dialogue in their zeal to draw in the reader. Whether you’re an editor trying to curb your client’s excesses or an […]